The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Threshold Covenant, by H. Clay Trumbull

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most
other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of
the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at  If you are not located in the United States, you'll have
to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.

Title: The Threshold Covenant
       or, The Beginning of Religious Rites

Author: H. Clay Trumbull

Release Date: June 14, 2015 [EBook #49216]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by KD Weeks, Chris Curnow and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)

Minor errors or inconsistencies in punctuation and formatting have been silently corrected. Please see the transcriber’s note at the end of this text for details regarding the handling of any other textual issues encountered during its preparation.

The few Hebrew words and phrases in the text cannot be correctly rendered in this media format. The Hebrew characters are therefore replaced with a direct transliteration rendered in a bold font. Each word is transliterated by the author as well. There were no vowel marks in the text.

Footnotes have been resequenced to be unique, and were moved to the end of the text. Hyperlinks are provided for ease of reference. Any references to those notes in the text have been amended as well. In the Topical Index, references to cited authors which appear only in the footnotes on the given pages are linked directly to the notes.


Author of “Kadesh-barnea,” “The Blood Covenant,”
“Studies in Oriental Social Life,” etc.

Copyright, 1896


This work does not treat of the origin of man’s religious faculty, or of the origin of the sentiment of religion; nor does it enter the domain of theological discussion. It simply attempts to show the beginning of religious rites, by which man evidenced a belief, however obtained, in the possibility of covenant relations between God and man; and the gradual development of those rites, with the progress of the race toward a higher degree of civilization and enlightenment. Necessarily the volume is not addressed to a popular audience, but to students in the lessons of primitive life and culture.

In a former volume, “The Blood Covenant,” I sought to show the origin of sacrifice, and the significance of transferred or proffered blood or life. The facts given in that work have been widely accepted as lying at the basis of fundamental doctrines declared in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, and have also been recognized as the source of perverted views which have had prominence in the principal ethnic religions of the world. Scholars of as divergent schools of thought as Professors William Henry Green of Princeton, Charles A. Briggs of New York, George E. Day of Yale, John A. Broadus of Louisville, Samuel Ives Curtiss of Chicago, President Mark Hopkins of Williams, Rev. Drs. Alfred Edersheim of Oxford and Cunningham Geikie of Bournemouth, Professor Fréderic Godet of Neuchatel, and many others, were agreed in recognizing the freshness and importance of its investigations, and the value of its conclusions. Professor W. Robertson Smith, of Cambridge, in thanking me for that work, expressed regret that he had not seen it before writing his “Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia.” He afterwards made repeated mention of the work as an authority in its field, in his Burnett Lectures on the “Religion of the Semites.”

This volume grew out of that one. It looks back to a still earlier date. That began as it were with Cain and Abel, while this begins with Adam and Eve. It was while preparing a Supplement for a second edition of that volume that the main idea of this work assumed such importance in my mind that I was led to make a separate study of it, and present it independently. The special theory here advanced is wholly a result of induction. The theory came out of the gathered facts, instead of the facts being gathered in support of the theory.

Of course, these facts are not new, but it is believed that their synthetic arrangement is. It has been a favorite method with students of primitive religions to point out widely different objects of primitive worship and their corresponding cults among different peoples, and then to try to show how the ceremonials of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures were made up from these primitive cults. But the course of investigation here pursued seems to show that the earlier cult was the simple one, which has been developed in the line of the Bible story, and that the other cults, even those baser and more degraded, are only natural perversions of the original simple one. This is a reversal of the usual order in studies of primitive religious rites. Here it is first the simple, then the complex; first the one germ, then the many varieties of growth from that germ.

As this particular subject of investigation seems to be a hitherto untrodden field, I am unable to refer to any published works as my principal sources of information. But I have gathered important related facts from various directions, giving full credit in explicit foot-notes, page by page. Many added facts confirmatory of my position might, undoubtedly, have been found through yet wider and more discerning research, and they will be brought to light by other gleaners in the same field. Indeed, a chief value of this volume will be in the fresh study it provokes on the part of those whom it stimulates to more thorough investigation in the direction here pointed out. And if such study shows an added agreement between some of the main facts of modern scientific investigation and those disclosed in the Bible narrative, that will not be a matter of regret to any fair-minded scholar.

In my earlier studies for this work, I had valuable assistance from the late Mr. John T. Napier; and in my later researches I have been materially assisted by Professors Herman V. Hilprecht, E. Washburn Hopkins, William R. Lamberton, John Henry Wright, Robert Ellis Thompson, Morris Jastrow, Jr., D.G. Brinton, Adolph Erman, W. Max Müller, W. Hayes Ward, M.B. Riddle, Minton Warren, Alfred Gudeman, John P. Peters, M.W. Easton, and A.L. Frothingham, Jr., President George Washburn, Rev. Drs. Marcus Jastrow, H.H. Jessup, George A. Ford, William W. Eddy, and Benjamin Labaree, Rev. William Ewing, Rev. Paulus Moort, Dr. Talcott Williams, Dr. J. Solis Cohen, Dr. A.T. Clay, Dr. T.H. Powers Sailer, Judge Mayer Sulzberger, Mr. S. Schecter, Mr. Frank Hamilton Cushing, Captain John G. Bourke, Mr. Khaleel Sarkis, Mr. John T. Haddad, Mr. Montague Cockle, Mr. Le Roy Bliss Peckham, the late Mr. William John Potts, and other specialists. To all these I return my sincere thanks.

Facts and suggestions that came to my notice after the main work was completed, or that, while known to me before, did not seem to have a place in the direct presentation of the argument, have been given a place in the Appendix. These may prove helpful to scholars who would pursue the investigation beyond my limits of treatment.

Comments of eminent specialists in Europe and America, to whom the proof-sheets of the volume were submitted before publication, are given in a Supplement. Important additions are thus made to the results of my researches, which are sure to be valued accordingly.

Passover Week, 1896.



(1.) A Blood Welcome at the Door, 3. (2.) Reverence for the Threshold Altar, 10. (3.) Threshold Covenanting in the Marriage Ceremony, 25. (4.) Stepping or Being Lifted across the Threshold, 36. (5.) Laying Foundations in Blood, 45. (6.) Appeals at the Altar, 57. (7.) Covenant Tokens on the Doorway, 66. (8.) Symbol of the Red Hand, 74. (9.) Deities of the Doorway, 94.


(1.) From House to Temple, 99. (2.) Sacredness of the Door, 102. (3.) Temple Thresholds in Asia, 108. (4.) Temple Thresholds in Africa, 126. (5.) Temple Thresholds in Europe, 132. (6.) Temple Thresholds in America, 144. (7.) Temple Thresholds in Islands of the Sea, 148. (8.) Only One Foundation, 153.


(1.) From Temple to Domain, 165. (2.) Local Landmarks, 166. (3.) National Borders, 177. (4.) Border Sacrifices, 184.


(1.) A Natural Question, 193. (2.) An Answer by Induction, 194. (3.) No Covenant without Blood, 196. (4.) Confirmation of this View, 197.


(1.) New Meaning in an Old Rite, 203. (2.) A Welcome with Blood, 204. (3.) Bason, or Threshold, 206. (4.) Pass-over or Pass-by, 209. (5.) Marriage of Jehovah with Israel, 212.


(1.) Old Covenant and New, 215. (2.) Proffered Welcome by the Father, 216. (3.) Bridegroom and Bride, 218. (4.) Survivals of the Rite, 221.


(1.) Elemental Beginnings, 223. (2.) Main Outgrowths, 225. (3.) Chief Perversions, 228.


Significance of Blood in the Marriage Rite, 243. Exhibiting the Evidences, 245. Substitute Blood for Deception, 248. Public Performance of the Rite, 250. Bible Testimony, 251. Woman as a Door, 252. Symbolism of the Two Sexes, 257. Symbolism of Tree and Serpent, 258. Covenant of Threshold-Crossing, 259. Doorkeeper, and Carrier, 263. Passing over into a Covenant, 266. England’s Coronation Stone, 268.


Topical Index, 273. Scriptural Index, 301.


From the Rev. Dr. Marcus Jastrow, 307. From Professor Dr. Herman V. Hilprecht, 309. From Professor Dr. Fritz Hommel, 313. From Professor Dr. A.H. Sayce, 314. From Professor Dr. W. Max Müller, 315. From Professor Dr. C.P. Tiele, 317. From Professor Dr. E. Washburn Hopkins, 318. From the Rev. Dr. William Elliot Griffis, 319. From Professor Dr. John P. Mahaffy, 324. From Professor Dr. William A. Lamberton, 326. From Professor Dr. Daniel G. Brinton, 328. From the Rev. Dr. Edward T. Bartlett, 329. From Professor Dr. T.K. Cheyne, 330. Additional from Professor Dr. Fritz Hommel, 333.




The primitive altar of the family would seem to have been the threshold, or door-sill, or entrance-way, of the home dwelling-place. This is indicated by surviving customs, in the East and elsewhere among primitive peoples, and by the earliest historic records of the human race. It is obvious that houses preceded temples, and that the house-father was the earliest priest. Sacrifices for the family were, therefore, within or at the entrance of the family domicile.

In Syria and in Egypt, at the present time, when a guest who is worthy of special honor is to be welcomed to a home, the blood of a slaughtered, or a “sacrificed,” animal is shed on the threshold of that home, as a means of adopting the new-comer into the family, or of making a covenant union with him. And every such primitive covenant in blood includes an appeal to the protecting Deity to ratify it as between the two parties and himself.[1] While the guest is still outside, the host takes a lamb, or a goat, and, tying its feet together, lays it upon the threshold of his door. Resting his left knee upon the bound victim, the host holds its head by his left hand, while with his right he cuts its throat. He retains his position until all the blood has flowed from the body upon the threshold. Then the victim is removed, and the guest steps over the blood, across the threshold; and in this act he becomes, as it were, a member of the family by the Threshold Covenant.

The flesh of the slaughtered animal is usually given to the neighbors, although in the case of humbler persons it is sometimes used for the meal of the guest in whose honor it is sacrificed. It may be a larger offering than a lamb or a goat, or it may be a smaller one. Sometimes several sheep are included in the sacrifice. Again, the offering may be a bullock or a heifer, or simply a fowl or a pair of pigeons. The more costly the gift, in proportion to the means of the host, the greater the honor to him who is welcomed.

As illustrative of this idea, a story is commonly told in Syria of a large-hearted man who gave proof of his exceptional devotedness to an honored guest. He had a horse which he prized as only an Oriental can prize and love one. This horse he sent to meet his guest, in order that it might bring him to the home of its owner. When the guest reached the house and dismounted, he spoke warm words in praise of the noble animal. At once the host led the horse to the house door, and cut its throat over the threshold, asking the guest to step over the blood of this costly offering, in acceptance of the proffered Threshold Covenant.

“If you know that one is coming whom you would honor and welcome, you must make ready to have the blood on the threshold when he appears,” said a native Syrian. In case an honored guest arrives unexpectedly, so that there is no time to prepare the customary sacrifice, salt, as representing blood, may be sprinkled on the threshold, for the guest to pass over; or again coffee, as the Muhammadan substitute for the “blood of the grape,”[2] may be poured on it.[3]

Crossing the threshold, or entering the door, of a house, is in itself an implied covenant with those who are within, as shown by the earlier laws of India. He who goes in by the door must count himself, and must be recognized, as a guest, subject to the strictest laws of hospitality. But if he enters the house in some other way, not crossing the threshold, there is no such implied covenant on his part. He may then even despoil or kill the head of the house he has entered, without any breach of the law of hospitality, or of the moral law as there understood.[4] Illustrations of this truth are found in the Mahabharata, as applicable to both a house and a city.[5] “It is in accordance with the strict law of all the law books,” of ancient India, “that one may enter his foe’s house by a-dvāra, ‘not by door,’ but his friend’s house only ‘by door.’”[6]

It would seem to have been in accordance with this primitive law of the East that Jesus said: “He that entereth not by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.... I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and go out, and shall find pasture. The thief cometh not, but that he may steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.”[7]

It is possible that there is an explanation, in this law of the doorway, or threshold, of the common practice among primitive Scandinavians of attacking the inmates of an enemy’s house through the roof instead of by the door;[8] also, of the custom in Greece of welcoming a victor in the Olympian games into his city through a breach in the walls, instead of causing him to enter by the gates, with its implied subjection to all the laws of hospitality.[9] (See Appendix.)

Examples of the blood welcome at the threshold abound in modern Egyptian customs. When the new khedive came to his palace, in 1882, a threshold sacrifice was offered as his welcome. “At the entrance to the palace six buffaloes were slaughtered, two being killed just as the khedive’s carriage reached the gateway. The blood of the animals was splashed across the entrance, so that the horses’ hoofs and wheels of the carriage passed through it. The flesh was afterwards distributed among the poor.”[10]

When General Grant was at Assioot, on the Upper Nile, during his journey around the world, he was doubly welcomed as a guest by the American vice-consul, who was a native of Egypt. A bullock was sacrificed at the steamer landing, and its head was laid on one side of the gang-plank, and its body on the other. The outpoured blood was between the head and the body, under the gang-plank, so that, in stepping from the steamer to the shore, General Grant would cross over it. When he reached the house of the vice-consul, a sheep was similarly sacrificed at the threshold, in such a way that General Grant passed over the blood in entering.[11]

It is also said in Egypt: “If you buy a dahabiyeh,” and therefore are to cross its threshold for the occupancy of your new home on the water, “you must kill a sheep, letting the blood flow on the deck, or side, of the boat, in order that it may be lucky. Your friends will afterwards have to dine on the sheep.”[12] There seems, indeed, to be a survival of this idea in the custom of “christening” a ship at the time of its launching, in England and America, a bottle of wine–the “blood of the grape”[13]–being broken on the bow of the vessel as it crosses the threshold of the deep. And a feast usually follows this ceremony also.[14]

In Zindero, or Gingiro, or Zinder, in Central Africa, a new king is welcomed at the royal residence with a bloody threshold offering. “Before he enters his palace two men are to be slain; one at the foot of the tree by which his house is chiefly supported; the other at the threshold of his door, which is besmeared with the blood of the victim. And it is said ... that the particular family, whose privilege it is to be slaughtered, so far from avoiding it, glory in the occasion, and offer themselves willingly to meet it.”[15]

Among the Arabs in Central Africa, the blood welcome of a guest at the threshold of a home is a prevailing custom. “The usual welcome upon the arrival of a traveler, who is well received in an Arab camp, is the sacrifice of a fat sheep, that should be slaughtered at the door of the hut or tent, so that the blood flows to the threshold.”[16]

On the arrival of strangers among the primitive tribes of Liberia, in West Africa, a fowl is killed, and its blood is sprinkled at the doorway.[17]

Receiving an honored guest with bread and salt, at the threshold of the house he enters, is common in Russia. Bread and salt are symbolic, in primitive thought, of flesh and blood; and this threshold welcome seems to be a survival of the threshold sacrifice.[18]

To step over or across the blood, or its substitute, on the door-sill, is to accept or ratify the proffered covenant; but to trample upon the symbol of the covenant is to show contempt for the host who proffers it, and no greater indignity than this is known in the realm of primitive social intercourse.


The threshold, as the family altar on which the sacrificial blood of a covenant welcome is poured out, is counted sacred, and is not to be stepped upon, or passed over lightly; but it is to be crossed over reverently, as in recognition of Him to whom all life belongs. “On passing the threshold,” in Arabia, “it is proper to say, ‘Bismillah,’ that is, ‘In the name of God.’ Not to do so would be looked upon as a bad augury, alike for him who enters and for those within.”[19] In Syria the belief prevails “that it is unlucky to tread on a threshold.” When they receive a new member to their sect, the Bektashi derwishes of Syria bring him to the threshold, and prayers and sacrifices are offered “on the door-sill.”[20]

“The khaleefs of Bagdad required all those who entered their palace to prostrate themselves on the threshold of the gate, where they had inserted a fragment of the black stone of the temple at Meccah, in order to render it [the threshold] more venerable to those who had been accustomed to press their foreheads against it. The threshold was of some height, and it was a crime to set foot upon it.” In the advice which Nurshivan gives to his son Hormuz, he recommends him to betake himself to the threshold of the Lord; that is, to the “presence of God, in the same fashion in which the poor do, at the gates of the rich. ‘Since you are his slave,’ he says, ‘set your forehead on his threshold.’”[21]

Among the Hindoos, “the threshold is ... sacred in private houses; it is not propitious for a person to remain on it; neither to eat, sneeze, yawn, nor spit whilst there.”[22]

A double welcome is sometimes given to one who is in an official position. Thus, a Syrian, who held a commission from the chief officer of customs in Upper Syria, was surprised at having two sheep sacrificed before him as he approached the door of a house east of the Sea of Galilee; and he graciously protested against the excessive honor shown him. “One sheep is to welcome yourself as a man, and the other is to welcome you as an officer of the government,” was the answer. Loyalty as well as hospitality was indicated in these threshold sacrifices.

Sacredness attaches to the threshold in Persia. It must not be trodden on; but it is often kissed by those who would step over it.[23]

A man should always cross himself when he steps over a threshold in Russia; and, in some portions of the realm, it is believed that he ought not to sit down on the threshold.[24]

High sills, or thresholds, so that one must step over, and not on, them, are in the houses of Finland, and in the houses of many Finns in the United States.[25] The same was true of many Teutonic houses.[26]

To shake hands across a threshold, instead of crossing it, is said, in Finland, to ensure a quarrel.[27] To step over a threshold is, in Lapland, to bring one under the protection of the family within, and of its guardian deity.[28] The same is true among the Magyars.[29]

The ancient Pythagoreans quoted various maxims, supposed to be from the sayings of their great founder, as teaching important lessons for all time. In these maxims there were indications of a peculiar reverence for the threshold and doorway. Thus: “He who strikes his foot against the threshold should go back;” it were unsafe to pursue a movement so inauspiciously begun. And, again: “The doors should be kissed fondly by those who enter or depart.”[30]

“Treading on the threshold was ... tabooed by the Tatars.”[31] Again, on the other side of the globe, in Samoa, to spill water on the door-step, or threshold, when food is brought in, is a cause of anger to the protecting deity of the family. It may drive him away.[32]

In Europe and in America it is by many counted an ill omen to tread upon the threshold of the door on entering a house. To the present day, in portions of Scotland, the idea popularly prevails, that to tread directly upon the boundary lines of division between ordinary flagstones is to endanger one’s soul; hence the very children are careful to avoid stepping upon those lines, in their walking across the courtyards or along the streets, in their every-day passing.

Many a person in the United States, who knows nothing of any superstition connected with this, avoids, if possible, stepping on, instead of over, the cracks or seams of a board walk, or even the seams of a carpet.

All these customs seem to be a survival of the feeling that the threshold is sacred as the primitive altar.

Apart from the reverence for the threshold demanded of those who pass over it, there is an obvious sanctity of the threshold recognized in the placing of images and amulets underneath it, and in the sacrifices and offerings placed on it, as a means of guarding the dwelling within.

In the building of private houses, as well as temples, and city gateways, in ancient Assyria, images of various kinds and sizes, “in bronze, red jasper, yellow stone, and baked earth, ... are buried beneath the stones of the threshold, so as to bar the entrance to all destructive spirits.” Invocations are graven upon these figures.[33]

Herodotus mentions[34] that, in the annual feast in honor of the god Osiris, “every Egyptian sacrifices a hog before the door of his house” on the evening before the festival. Osiris was the god who was the judge of the soul after death, and who in a peculiar sense stood for the truth of the life to come. Every Egyptian desired, above all, to be in loving covenant with Osiris, and when he would offer a welcoming sacrifice to him, he did so before the door of his own house, as before the primitive family altar. That it was the blood poured out at the threshold which was the essential act of covenanting in this sacrifice to Osiris, is evidenced in the fact that the animal sacrificed was not eaten in the family of the sacrificer, but was carried away by the swineherd who furnished it.

Bunches of grass dipped in blood, and touched by the king, as if made representative of his dignity and power, are to-day placed on the threshold, as an offering, and as averters of evil, in Equatorial Africa. This is known there as an ancient custom. In Uganda, “every house has charms hung on the door, and others laid on the threshold.” An offering to the lubare, or local spirit, must be thrown across the threshold, from within the house, before a native ventures to leave his home in the morning.[35] Charms for this purpose are kept behind the door.

One of the requirements in the Vedic law (the sacred law of the Hindoos) was, that “on the door-sill (a bali must be placed) with a mantra addressed to Antariksha (the air),”[36] by a house father, in his home;[37] that is, that an offering, with an invocation to a deity, should be a sacrifice at the threshold altar. Other references in the Hindoo laws seem to demand bali offerings “at all the doors, as many as they are,” in a house, and evidence the importance and sacredness attaching to the doorway.[38]

The threshold seems to have special reverence in Northwestern India, in connection with the seasons of seedtime and harvest. At seedtime “a cake of cowdung formed into a cup” is placed on the threshold of the householder; it is filled with corn, and then water is poured over it as a libation to the deities. Cowdung is not only a means of enrichment to the soil, but it is a gift from the sacred cow, and so, in a sense, represents or stands for the life of the cow. It is laid on the threshold altar as an offering of life. The libation of water is an accompaniment of that offering; water is essential to life and growth, and it is a gift of the gods accordingly. Seed-sowing is recognized as an act which needs the blessing of the gods, and on which that blessing is sought in covenant relations.

At early harvest time the first-fruits of the grain-field are not taken to the threshing-floor, but are brought home to be presented to the gods at the household altar, and afterwards eaten by the family, with a portion given to the Brahmans. The first bundle of corn is deposited at the threshold of the home, and a libation of water is made as a completion of its offering. The grain being taken from the ear, of a portion of this first-fruits, is mixed with milk and sugar, and every member of the family tastes it seven times.[39]

Among the Prabhus of Bombay, at the time of the birth of a child, an iron crowbar is placed “along the threshold of the room of confinement, as a check against the crossing of any evil spirit.” This is in accordance with a Hindoo belief that evil spirits keep aloof from iron, “and even nowadays pieces of horseshoe can be seen nailed to the bottom sills of doors of native houses.”[40] Iron seems, in various lands, to be deemed of peculiar value as a guard against evil spirits, and the threshold to be the place for its efficacious fixing.

Similarly, “in East Bothnia, when the cows are taken out of their winter quarters for the first time, an iron bar is laid before the threshold, over which all the cows must pass; for, if they do not, there will be nothing but trouble with them all the following summer.”[41]

Among the folk customs in the line of exorcism and divination in Italy, the threshold has prominence. “In Tuscany, much taking of magical medicine is done on the threshold; it also plays a part in other sorcery.”[42] A writer mentions a method of exorcism with incense, where three pinches of the best incense, and three of the second quality, are put in a row on the threshold of the door, and then, after other incense is burned within the house in an earthen fire-dish, these “little piles of incense on the threshold of the door” are lighted, with words of invocation. This process is repeated three times over.[43]

A method of curing a disorder of the wrist prevalent in harvest time, in North Germany, is by taking “three pieces of three-jointed straw,” and so laying them “side by side as to correspond joint by joint,” then chopping through the first joint into the block beneath. This “ceremony is performed on the threshold, and ends with the sign of the cross.”[44]

Observances with reference to the threshold are numerous in Russia. “On it a cross is drawn to keep off maras (hags). Under it the peasants bury stillborn children. In Lithuania, when a new house is being built, a wooden cross, or some article which has been handed down from past generations, is placed under the threshold. There also when a newly baptized child is being brought back from church, it is customary for its father to hold it for a while over the threshold, ‘so as to place the new member of the family under the protection of the domestic divinities’ [bringing it newly into the family covenant at the threshold altar].... Sick children, who are supposed to have been afflicted by an evil eye, are washed on the threshold of their cottage, in order that, with the help of the Penates who reside there, the malady may be driven out of doors.”[45]

At the annual feast known as “Death Week,” among Slavonic peoples, marking the close of winter and the beginning of spring, the peasants in rural Russia combine for a sacrifice to appease the “Vodyaoui,” or aroused water-spirit of the thawing streams. They also prepare a sacrifice for the “Domovoi” or house-spirit. A fat black pig is killed, and cut into as many pieces as there are residents in the place. “Each resident receives one piece, which he straightway buries under the door-step at the entrance to his house. In some parts, it is said, the country folk bury a few eggs beneath the threshold of the dwelling to propitiate the ‘Domovoi.’”[46]

When a Magyar maiden would win the love of a young man, or would bring evil on him because of his reluctance, she seeks influence over him by means of the sacred threshold. “She must steal something from the young man, and take it to a witch, who adds to it three beans, three bulbs of garlic, a few pieces of dry coal, and a dead frog. These are all put into an earthenware pot, and placed under the threshold,” with a prayer for the object of her desire.[47]

A superstition is prevalent in Roumania, that if a bat, together with a gold coin, be buried under the threshold, there is “good luck” to the house.[48] Various superstitions, in connection with the bat are found among primitive peoples.[49]

In Japan, the threshold of the door is sprinkled with salt, after a funeral, and as a propitiatory sacrifice in time of danger.[50] Salt represents blood.

Among the Dyaks of Borneo, a pig’s blood is sprinkled at the doorway to atone for the sin of unchastity by a daughter of the family. Again, the blood of a fowl is sprinkled there at the annual festival of seed-sowing, with prayers for fecundity and fertility.[51]

“On New Year’s morning, along the coast [in Aberdeenshire] where seaweed is gathered, a small quantity is laid down at each door of the farm-steading [the buildings of the homestead], as a means of bringing good luck.” And fire and salt are put on the threshold of the byre-door before a cow leaves the building after giving birth to a calf.[52]

Of portions of Ireland, it was said, early in this century: “On the 11th of November, every family of a village kills an animal of some kind or other; those who are rich kill a cow or sheep, others a goose or a turkey; while those who are poor ... kill a hen or a cock, and sprinkle the threshold with the blood, and do the same in the four corners of the house; ... to exclude every kind of evil spirit from the dwelling.”[53]

Holes bored in the door-sill, and plugged with pieces of paper on which are written incantations, a broom laid across the door-sill, or “three horseshoes nailed on the door-step with toes up,” are supposed to be a guard against witches or evil spirits in portions of Pennsylvania to-day.[54] Many a Pennsylvanian is unwilling to cross, for the first time, the threshold of a new home, without carrying salt and a Bible.

Among the Indians in ancient Mexico there was an altar near the door of every house, with instruments of sacrifice, and accompanying idols.[55]

“Threshold” and “foundation” are terms that are used interchangeably in primitive life. The sacredness of the threshold-stone of a building pivots on its position as a foundation stone, a beginning stone, a boundary stone. Hence the foundation stone of any house, or other structure was sacred as the threshold of that building. According to Dr. H.V. Hilprecht, in the earlier buildings of Babylonia the inscriptions and invocations and deposits were at the threshold, and later under the four corners of the building; but when they were at the threshold they were not under the corners, and vice versa. It would seem from this that the corner-stone was recognized as the beginning, or the limit, or the threshold, of the building. It may be, therefore, that the modern ceremonies at the laying of a “corner-stone” are a survival of the primitive sacredness of a threshold-laying.[56]

It would seem, moreover, as if the sanctity of the threshold as the primitive altar were, in many places, in the course of time transferred to the family hearth. In the primitive tent the household fire was at the entrance way, as it is in the tents of the East to-day. Where Arabs have camped on an Eastern desert, the place of the shaykh’s tent can always be known by the blackened hearthstones at its entrance, or threshold, where he welcomed guests to the hospitality of his tribe and family by the sharing of bread and salt, or by the outpouring of the blood of a slaughtered lamb or kid.

If, indeed, the earliest dwelling of man was a cave, rather than a tent, the household fire was still at its entrance; and the threshold was the hearthstone. When, in the progress of building-changes, the hearthstone was removed to the center of the building, or of the inner court, its sanctity went with it, as the place of the family fire. Thus, for example, in Russia, the Domovoi, or household deity, who is honored and invoked at the threshold, “is supposed to live behind the stove now, but in early times he, or the spirits of the dead ancestors, of whom he is now the chief representative, were held to be in even more direct relations with the fire on the hearth; as were the Penates of the Romans, who were sometimes spoken of as at the threshold, and again as at the hearth.”[57]

A recognition of the peculiar sacredness of the threshold is shown, in different lands, by the popular unwillingness to have the dead carried over it on the way to burial. In India, the body of one dying in certain phases of the moon can in no wise be carried over the threshold. The house wall must be broken for its removal.[58] When Chinese students are attending the competitive examinations for promotion, they are shut up in rooms until their work is completed. If one of them dies at such a time, “the body is removed over the back wall, as the taking out openly through the front door would be regarded as an evil omen.”[59]

In the capital of Korea there is a small gate in the city wall known as the “Gate of the Dead,” through which alone a dead body can be carried out. But no one can ever enter through that passage-way.[60]

There is a recognition, in Russian folk-tales, of safety to the spirit of one who dies in a house, if his body be passed out under the threshold of the outer door.[61]

It is not allowable to carry out a corpse through the main door of a house in Italy. There is a smaller door, in the side wall, known as the porta di morti, which is kept closed except as it is opened for the removal of a body at the time of a funeral.[62]

In Alaska, it is deemed an evil omen for the dead to be carried over the threshold. “Therefore the dying one, instead of being allowed to rest in peace in his last hours, is hastily lifted from his couch and put out of doors [or out of the house] by a hole in the rear wall” so as not to have a corpse pass the threshold.[63]

In some communities, in both Europe and America, the coffin is passed out of the house through the window, instead of through the door, at a funeral. And again, the front door is closed and a window is opened at the time of a death, in order that the spirit may pass out of the house in some other way than over the threshold.[64]

Even though the dead may not be lifted over the threshold altar, the dead may be buried underneath it. In both the far East and the far West, burials under the threshold are known. And in Christian churches of Europe, a grave underneath the altar is an honored grave for saint or ecclesiastic.

In the Apocalypse the seer beheld “underneath the altar the souls of them that had been slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a great voice, saying, How long, O Master, the holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”[65]


Marriage customs in various parts of the world, in ancient and modern times, illustrate this idea of the sacredness of the threshold as the family altar.

In portions of Syria, when a bride is brought to her husband’s home, a lamb or a kid is sacrificed on the threshold, and she must step across the outpoured blood.[66] This marks her adoption into that family.

Among the wide-spreading ʾAnazeh Bed´ween, the most prominent and extensive tribe of desert Arabs, whose range is from the Sinaitic Peninsula to the upper Desert of Syria, “when the marriage day is fixed, the bridegroom comes with a lamb in his arms to the tent of the father of his bride, and then, before witnesses, he cuts its throat. As soon as the blood falls upon the earth [and the earth is the only threshold of a tent], the marriage ceremony is regarded as complete.”[67] “In Egypt, the Copts sacrifice a sheep as the bride steps into the bridegroom’s house, and she is compelled to step over the blood which flows upon the threshold in the doorway.”[68] It is evident, moreover, that this custom is not confined to the Copts.[69]

Blood on the threshold, as an accompaniment of a marriage, is still counted important among Armenian Christians in Turkey. After the formal marriage ceremony at the church, the wedded pair, with their friends, proceed to the bridegroom’s home. “At the moment of their arrival a sheep is sacrificed on the threshold, over the blood of which the wedding party steps to enter the house.”[70]

In the island of Cyprus, a bridegroom is borne to the house of his bride on the wedding morning, in a living chair formed by the crossed hands of his neighbor friends. Dismounting at her door, “as he is about to pass in, a fowl is brought and held down by head and feet upon the threshold of the door; the bridegroom takes an axe, cuts off the head, and only then may he enter.”[71]

Like customs are found among yet more primitive peoples. Thus, for instance, with the western Somali tribes, in east Central Africa: “On reaching the bridegroom’s house a low-caste man sacrifices a goat or sheep on the threshold; and the bride steps over it;” and again when the bridegroom returns from his devotions at a neighboring masjid (a place of public prayer) to claim his bride, as he reaches his threshold, “another goat is sacrificed, and he steps over it in the same way as his bride.”[72] Again the bridegroom himself brings the bride from her father’s hut to his own, accompanied by young men and maidens dancing and singing. “On reaching the new hut, the bride holds a goat or sheep in the doorway, while the bridegroom cuts its throat in the orthodox manner with his jambia (long knife). The bride dips her finger in the blood, smears it on her forehead, ... and then enters the gúrí, stepping over the blood. The bridegroom follows her, also stepping over the blood, and is accompanied by some of his nearest male relatives.”[73]

There are traces of such customs, also, among the natives of South Africa,[74] and elsewhere.

Besides the bloody sacrifices at the threshold, in the marriage ceremony, there are, in different countries, various forms of making offerings at the threshold, and of surmounting obstacles at that point, as an accompaniment of the wedding covenant. All these point to the importance and sanctity of the threshold and doorway in the primitive mind.

A bride, in portions of Upper Syria, on reaching her husband’s house, is lifted up so that she can press against the door-lintel a piece of dough, prepared for the purpose, and handed to her at the time. This soft dough, thus pressed against the plastered or clay wall, adheres firmly, and is left there as long as it will remain. The open hand of the bride stamps the dough as it is fixed in place, and in some cases the finger points are pricked before the stamping, so that the blood will appear as a sign manual on the cake of dough.[75]

When a bride reaches the door of her husband’s house, among the fellaheen of Palestine, a jar of water is placed on her head. She must call on the name of God as she crosses the threshold; and, at the same moment, her husband strikes the jar from her head, and causes the water to flow as a libation.[76]

Among the Wallachians there is a marriage rite, said to be of Latin origin, because there was a similar rite among the old Latins. The Wallachian bride is borne on horseback, with an accompanying procession, to the house of the bridegroom. “At the moment when the betrothed maiden dismounts from her steed, and is about to cross the threshold, they present to her butter, or sometimes honey, and with this she smears the door-posts.”[77]

An observer says of this rite: “For the same reason among the Latins, the word for wife, uxor, originally unxor, was derived from the verb ungere, ‘to anoint,’ because the maidens when they reached the threshold of their future husbands, were similarly accustomed to anoint the door-posts.” In support of this fanciful etymology, old-time commentators on Terence and Virgil are cited;[78] which shows, at least, that this ceremony at the threshold of the husband’s home has long been recognized as of vital importance in the marriage contract and relation.

It is customary, among the Greeks in Turkey, for the mother of the bridegroom, as he leaves his home to go for his bride on the morning of his wedding, to lay across his pathway a girdle, over which he steps, and to pour a libation of water before him.[79]

In the Morea, in the vicinity of Sparta, it is said that, when the bride is brought to her new home, the mother of the bridegroom “stands waiting at the door, holding a glass of honey and water in her hand. From this glass the bride must drink; ... while the lintel of the door is smeared with the remainder; ... in the meantime one of the company breaks a pomegranate on the threshold.”[80] In Rhodes, when the newly married couple enter the doorway of their new home, the husband “dips his finger in a cup of honey, and traces a cross over the door.... A pomegranate is placed on the threshold, which the young husband crushes with his foot as he enters, followed by his wife, over whom the wedding guests throw corn and cotton seeds and orange flower water.”[81]

On Skarpanto (Carpathos), an island lying between Rhodes and Crete, when the bridegroom reaches the door of the bride’s house “he is greeted by the mother of the bride, who touches the nape of his neck with a censer containing incense.... She further gives him a present called embatikon,–that is to say, ‘the gift of in-going,’–and then places on the threshold a rug or blanket folded, with a stick resting on one of the corners. The bridegroom advances his right foot, breaks the stick and passes in.”[82]

Among the Morlacchi, in Dalmatia, it is, or was, a custom for a bride to kneel and kiss the threshold of her husband’s home, before crossing it for the first time. Her mother-in-law, or some other near relative of her husband, at the same time presented her with a sieve full of different kinds of grain, nuts, and small fruits, which the bride scattered behind her back as she passed in.[83]

It is a custom in portions of Russia, when the bride is about to leave her father’s home to meet the bridegroom, for the friends of the bridegroom to appear at the door, and request that the bride be brought to them. “After their request has been many times repeated, the ‘princess’ [as the bride is called] appears, attended by her relatives and attendants, but stops short at the door. Again the bridegroom’s friends demand the bride, but are told first to ‘cleanse the threshold; then will the young princess cross the threshold.’” Thereupon gifts are made by the bridegroom’s friend, and the bride crosses the threshold to go to the bridegroom.[84]

Among the Mordvins (or, Mordevins), a Finnish people on the Volga, there are various customs in connection with marriage, tending to confirm the idea that the threshold is the household altar. In a ceremony of betrothal, with a conference over the terms of dowry, a prayer is offered to the “goddess of the homestead,” and the “goddess of the dwelling-house;” “the girl’s father then cuts off the corner of a loaf of bread with three slashes of a knife, salts it, and places it under the threshold, where the Penates are believed to frequent. This is called the ‘gods’ portion.’” Bread and salt are factors in a sacred covenant, and their proffer to the household gods, at the threshold altar, would seem to be an invitation to those gods to be a party to the new marriage covenant. Again, after the terms of betrothal are agreed on, there is the feast of “hand-striking,” or ratification of the betrothal. On that occasion also the “gods’ portion” is offered; and “a little brandy is spilt under the threshold. Bread and salt are once more placed under the threshold by the bride’s father, who carries it from the table to the household altar “on the point of the knife–under no circumstances in his hands.”[85]

A custom of strewing the threshold of the home of a new-married couple prevailed in Holland until recent times.[86] This was obviously a form of offering at the household altar.

On the evening before the marriage ceremony, in the rural districts and smaller towns of Northern Germany, the boys and girls, and others in the neighborhood, are accustomed to appear at the door of the bride’s house, and smash on the threshold earthen pots and jars, with loud cries of joy. “Sometimes, whole car-loads of broken pottery have to be removed from the door the next morning.” And when the young couple return to their home, after the ceremony at the church, poor boys and girls are accustomed to stretch a colored cord across the door of the house, to prevent a passage over the threshold, unless the bridegroom throws a handful of small coins among those who bar the way.[87]

Traces of the sacredness of the threshold altar seem to exist in the wedding ceremonies in villages on the coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. “After the marriage is solemnized, ... the bride’s guests are entertained at her home, and the bridegroom’s at his.... When the bride returns to her father’s house, after the marriage, broken bread of various sorts is thrown over her before she enters. The same ceremony is gone through with the bridegroom at his father’s door.”[88]

When a girl among the Sea Dyaks of Borneo is married, the wedding takes place at her house. The marriage rite includes the erecting an altar before the door of the house, and placing on it an offering of prepared areca-nut, covered with a red cloth, the color of blood. The families of the bride and the groom then partake of that offering in covenant conclave.[89]

A lover, among the Woolwas, in Central America, when wooing a bride, would bring a deer’s carcass, and a bundle of firewood, and deposit it outside of her house door. If she accepted these, and took them over the threshold, it was a betrothal.[90] The covenant seemed to consist in the reaching across the threshold and accepting a proffered offering in a spirit of loving agreement.

Among the Towkas, in the same part of the world, a bridegroom would go with his friends to the home of his bride, carrying a bundle of gifts for her. Sitting down outside of the door, he would call on her family to open to him. There being no response, music would then be tried by his friends. At this the door would be opened just far enough for him to put a gift inside over the threshold. One by one his gifts would be passed in, in this way, while the door opened wider and wider. When the last gift was over the threshold, the lover would spring within, and, seizing the bride, would carry her across the threshold, and take her to a temporary hut erected within a charmed circle near by, while his friends guarded him from intrusion.[91]

And thus, in various ways, among widely different primitive peoples, the marriage customs go to show that the home threshold cannot be passed except by overcoming a barrier of some kind, and making an offering, bloody or bloodless, at this primal family altar. An essential part of the covenant of union is a halting at, and then passing over, the threshold of the new home, with an accompanying sacrifice.


Even more widespread and prominent than the custom of offering blood, or of making a libation, or of overcoming a special barrier, at the threshold, or of anointing or stamping the posts or lintel of the doorway as a sign of the covenant, at the time of a marriage, and as a part of the ceremony, is the habit of causing the bride to cross the threshold with care, without stepping upon it. This custom is of well-nigh world-wide observance, and it has attracted the attention of anthropologists and students of primitive customs. A favorite method of explaining it has been by calling it a survival of the practice of “marriage by capture;” but this is nothing more than an unscientific guess, in defiance of the truth that persistent popular customs have their origin in a sentiment, and not in a passing historic practice. The earliest mentions of this custom, of the bride’s crossing the threshold without stepping on it, show it as a voluntary religious rite; and there are traces of its recognition in this light from the earliest times until now.

In the Vedic Sutras, or the sacrificial rules of the ancient Hindoo literature, it is specifically declared that a bride, on entering her husband’s home, shall step across the threshold, and not upon it. She is not lifted over the door-sill, but she voluntarily crosses it. Thus it is said: “When (the bridegroom with his bride) has come to his house, he says to her, ‘Cross (the threshold) with thy right foot first; do not stand on the threshold.’”[92] In this ancient ceremony, grains of rice are poured on the heads of the bridegroom and his bride.[93] This modern custom has, therefore, a very early origin. And again: “He makes her enter the house (which she does) with her right foot. And she does not stand on the threshold.”[94]

Putting the right foot forward seems to be a matter of importance in various primitive religions. “Put your right foot first” is a maxim ascribed to Pythagoras.[95] In his description of the proportions of a temple, the Roman architect Vitruvius said: “The number of steps in front should always be odd, since, in that case, the right foot, which begins the ascent, will be that which first alights on the landing of the temple.”[96] A Muhammadan is always careful to put his right foot first in crossing over the threshold of a mosk.[97]

Among the Albanians, when the bride is taken to the home of the bridegroom, accompanied by the vlam, or “the friend of the bridegroom,” it is said that “particular care is taken that the threshold should be crossed with the right foot foremost.”[98] Here, as in India, the crossing of the threshold is a voluntary act. The bride is not lifted over, but crosses of her own accord. If she be veiled, the lifting is a necessity.

In Madagascar, “on entering a house, especially a royal house, it is improper to use the left foot on first stepping into it. One must ‘put one’s best (or right) foot foremost.’”[99]

The bride, in Upper Syria, is sometimes carried across the threshold of the bridegroom’s house by friends of the bridegroom.[100] She, of course, is veiled.

When the bride reaches the outer gate of her husband’s residence, in Egypt, the bridegroom meets her, enveloped as she is in her cashmere shawl, clasps her in his arms, and carries her across the threshold, and up to the doorway of the female apartments.[101]

In portions of Abyssinia, the bridegroom carries his bride from her home to his, bearing her across the threshold as he enters his house.[102]

So, also, it is among the more primitive tribes in West Africa. The bride is carried over the threshold in a rude chair, or on the shoulders of her friends, into her new home.[103]

There are traces of a similar custom in the marriage ceremonies of ancient Assyria.[104]

Again, it is said to be found among the Khonds of Orissa,[105] the Tatars,[106] and the Eskimos.[107]

In ancient Greece[108] and in ancient Rome[109] the lifting of the bride over the threshold of her new home was an important part of the marriage ceremony. Classic writers had their explanations of this custom, as certain modern anthropologists have theirs, but the origin of the ceremony was earlier than they imagined.

In unchanging China the use of fire on the threshold altar, in connection with the marriage ceremony, is continued to the present day. The bride is borne in a sedan-chair to the house of the bridegroom, accompanied by a procession of friends and musicians. “On arriving at the portal of the house, the bridegroom taps the door of the sedan-chair with his fan, and in response, the instructress of matrimony, who prompts every act of the bride, opens the door and hands out the still enshrouded young lady, who is carried bodily over a pan of lighted charcoal, or a red-hot coulter laid on the threshold, while at the same moment a servant offers for her acceptance some rice and preserved prunes.”[110]

Again, it is burning straw that is thrown upon the door-sill, and is half extinguished before the Chinese bride is led to step across it. The instructress says at this point:

“Now, fair young bride, the smoke bestride;
This year have joy, next year a boy.”[111]

Fire, like blood, stands for life in the primitive mind; and fire, like blood, has its place on the altar. Indeed, as the first threshold altar was the hearthstone, it was the place of the household fire. The sacredness of the domestic fire is recognized in all the Hindoo religious literature; and a Hindoo couple, on beginning their married life, must have a care to enter a new home bringing their sacred altar fire with them.[112] In ancient Greece, the mother of the bride accompanied her daughter to the threshold of her new home, bearing a flaming torch “kindled at the parental hearth, according to custom immemorial.”[113] A torch was similarly borne in the Roman marriage ceremonies.[114] This custom is referred to in the term “hymen’s torch,” or the “nuptial torch.” “In Cicero’s time, they did not distinguish the hearth-fire from the Penates, nor the Penates from the Lares.”[115] The bride, in India, in China, in Greece, and in Rome, worshiped at the altar-fire of her new home.

A connecting link between the altar fire and the nuptial torch is found in a marriage custom of the Erza, of the Mordvins, in Russia. On the eve of the wedding day the bridegroom’s family make ready for the bride. “A thick candle, and several thinner ones, have ... been made ready for the occasion. The bridegroom’s father lights the smaller ones before the holy pictures [in use in families of the Greek Church], but sets up the large one on the threshold. It is called ‘the house candle.’” The father then prays for the new couple.[116]

A survival of an ancient Slavic custom, of covenanting together by crossing together an altar fire, would also seem to exist in Russia in the practices of young people at the “Midsummer Day” festival. A Russian writer says of these festivals: “More than once have I had an opportunity of being present at these nightly meetings, held at the end of June, in commemoration of a heathen divinity. They usually take place close to a river or pond; large fires are lighted, and over them young couples, bachelors and unmarried girls, jump barefoot.”[117]

There is a custom of wooing among the Moksha, of the Mordvins, that brings the threshold-altar idea into prominence. The parents of the wooer first make gifts, at their home, to the household goddesses. “These gifts consist of dough figures of domestic animals, which are placed under the threshold of the house and of the outside gate, while prayer is made to the goddesses and to deceased ancestors. The father [of the bridegroom] then cuts off a corner of a loaf placed on the table, and at the time of the offering scoops out the inside and fills it with honey. At midnight he drives in profound secrecy to the house of the bride elect, places the honeyed bread on the gate-post [of her house], strikes the window with his whip, and shouts: ‘Seta! I, Veshnak Mazakoff, make a match between thy daughter and my son Uru. Take the honeyed bread from thy gate-post, and pray.’”[118] The images of domestic animals would here seem to stand for the slaughtered animals formerly offered at the threshold altar; and the linking of the altars of the two homes by offerings and prayer would seem to indicate the desire for a sacred covenant. When the bride is received at the bridegroom’s house, a notch is cut “with an ax in the door-post to mark the arrival of a new addition to the family.”

Among the Erza, of the same province, the bride, on the day of “the girl’s feast,” preceding her marriage, “takes mould [earth] from under the threshold [of her parental home] with her finger-tips, and thrusts it into her bosom,” as she goes out to seek a farewell blessing from her friends. In the bridegroom’s home, meanwhile, a lighted candle is placed on the threshold of the door; and, in some regions, when he and his friends go to the bride’s house to bring her to his home, he and they are met at the door by her parents with the covenanting bread and salt, and the words, “Be welcome, come within.” As the bride is borne out of her old home to go to her new one, she and her party “all halt and bow to the gate, for there, or in the courtyard, is the abode of the god that protects the dwelling-place. The following prayer is made to him: ‘Kardas Sarks, the nourisher, god of the house, do not abandon her that is about to depart; always be near her just as thou art here.‘” When she reaches her new home, she is carried (over the threshold), in the arms of some of her party, into the house of the bridegroom, carrying a lighted candle.[119]

The custom survived in portions of Scotland, as recently as the beginning of this century, of lifting a bride over the threshold, or the first step of the door. A cake of bread, prepared for the occasion, was, at the same time, broken by the bridegroom’s mother over the head of the bride. The bride was then led directly to the hearth, and the poker and tongs, and sometimes the broom, were put into her hands “as symbols of her office and duty.”

Lifting the bride over the threshold has been practiced in recent times, in England, Ireland, and the United States.[120]

Both bride and bridegroom were carried, on the shoulders of their elders, across the threshold of their new home, and laid on their bridal bed, in the marriage ceremonies of some of the tribes of Central America. And again the bridegroom carried his bride in this way.[121] In either case, it was the crossing of the threshold without stepping on it that was the thing aimed at.


In the building of a house, as a new home, the prominence given to the laying of the threshold, or to its dedicating by blood, is another indication, or outcome, of its altar-like sacredness. In Upper Syria a sacrifice is often made at the beginning of the building of a new house, and again at the first crossing of its threshold. “When a new house is built,” among the Metâwileh, “the owner will not reside in it until, with certain formalities, a black hen has been carried several times round the house and slaughtered within the door,” as if in covenant dedication of the house.[122]

Among the Copts in Egypt, when the threshold of a new house is laid, the owner slaughters a sheep or a goat on the threshold, and steps over the blood, as if in covenant for himself and his household with Him to whom all blood, as life, belongs. Then he divides the sacrificed victim among his neighbors; and they in turn come and step across the blood on the threshold, invoking as they do so a blessing on the new house and its owner, while coming into covenant with him.[123]

The foundation-stone of a new building is, in a sense, the threshold of that structure. Hence to lay the foundations in blood is to proffer blood at the threshold. Traces of this custom are to be found in the practices or the legends of peoples wellnigh all the world over.[124] Apparently the earlier sacrifices were of human beings.[125] Later they were of animals substituted for persons. The idea seems to have been that he who covenanted by blood with God, or with the gods, when his house, or his city, was builded, was guarded, together with his household, while he and they were dwellers there; but, if he failed to proffer a threshold sacrifice, his first-born, or the first person who crossed the bloodless threshold, would be claimed by the ignored or defied deity.

There is, indeed, a suggestion of this idea in the curse pronounced by Joshua, when he destroyed the doomed city of Jericho, against him who should rebuild its walls, he not being in covenant with and obedient to the Lord. “Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: with the loss of his firstborn shall he lay the foundation thereof, and with the loss of his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.”[126] A later record tells of the fulfilment of this curse. It says of the reign of Ahab: “In his days did Hiel the Bethel-ite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof with the loss of Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof with the loss of his youngest son Segub; according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by the hand of Joshua the son of Nun.”[127]

Human sacrifices, in order to furnish blood at the foundations of a house, or of a public structure, have been continued down to recent times, or to the present, in some portions of the world; and there are indications in popular tradition that they were frequent in a not remote past.

It is said that at the building of Scutari, in Asia Minor, “the workmen were engaged on its fortifications for three years, but the walls would not stand. Then they protested that the only possible way to succeed was to lay under or in them a living human being. They accordingly laid hold of a young woman who brought them dinner, and immured her.”[128]

According to a story in China, when the bridge leading to the site of St. John’s College, in Shanghai, was in process of building, an official present took off his shoes, as indicating his rank, and threw them into the stream, in order to stay the current, and enable the workmen to lay the foundations. Finding this unavailing, he took off his garments and threw them in. Finally he threw himself in, and as his life went out the workmen were enabled to go on with their building. To this day the belief is general that that structure stands fast because of this sacrifice.[129]

“When the walls of Algiers were built of blocks of concrete [by Muhammadans], in the sixteenth century, a Christian captive named Geronimo was placed in one of the blocks and the rampart built over and about him. Since the French occupation of Algiers a subsidence in the wall led to an examination of the blocks, and one was found to have given way. It was removed, and the cast of Geronimo was discovered in the block. The body had gone to dust, and the superincumbent weight had crushed in the stone sarcophagus.”[130]

A story told among the Danes is, that “many years ago, when the ramparts were being raised round Copenhagen, the wall always sank, so that it was not possible to get it to stand firm. They therefore took a little innocent girl, placed her in a chair by a table, and gave her playthings and sweetmeats. While she thus sat enjoying herself, twelve masons built an arch over her, which, when completed, they covered with earth to the sound of drums and trumpets. By this process the walls were made solid.”[131]

“Thuringian legend declares that to make the castle of Liebenstein fast and impregnable, a child was bought for hard money of its mother, and walled in. It was eating a cake while the masons were at work, the story goes, and it cried, ‘Mother, I see thee still;’ then later, ‘Mother, I see thee a little still;’ and as they put in the last stone, ‘Mother, now I see thee no more.’”[132]

A similar story is told of a Slavic town on the Danube. A plague devastated it, and it was determined to build it anew, with a new citadel. “Acting on the advice of their wisest men, they sent out messengers before sunrise one morning in all directions, with orders to seize upon the first living creature they should meet. The victim proved to be a child (Dyetina, archaic form of Ditya), who was buried alive under the foundation-stone of the new citadel. The city was on that account called Dyetinets [or Detinetz], a name since applied to any citadel.”[133]

It is even said that “when, a few years ago, the Bridge Gate of the Bremen city walls was demolished, the skeleton of a child was found imbedded in the foundations.”[134]

A Scottish legend tells that St. Columba found himself unable to build a cathedral on the island of Iona unless he would secure its stability and safety by the blood of a human sacrifice. Thereupon he took his companion, Oran, and buried him alive at the foundations of the structure, having no trouble after that.[135]

And it is said that under the walls of the only two round towers of the ancient Irish examined, human skeletons were found buried.[136]

Until the transfer of Alaska to the United States, in 1867, by the Russian government, human sacrifices at the foundation of a new house were common in that portion of America. The ceremonies are thus described by one familiar with them: “The rectangular space for the building is ... cleared, a spot for the fireplace designated, and four holes dug, wherein the corner posts are to be set.... A slave, either man or woman who has been captured in war or is even a descendant of such a slave, is blindfolded and compelled to lie down face uppermost, in the place selected for the fireplace [the site of the domestic altar]. A sapling is then cut, laid across the throat of the slave, and, at a given signal, the two nearest relatives of the host sit upon the respective ends of the sapling, thereby choking the unhappy wretch to death. But the corner posts must receive their baptism; so four slaves are blindfolded, and one is forced to stand in each post-hole, when, at a given signal, a blow on the forehead is dealt with a peculiar club ornamented with the host’s coat of arms.” It is said that even to the present time, on the building of a house in Alaska, “the same ceremonies are enacted, with the exception of the sacrifices, which are prevented by the United States authorities.”[137]

In Hindoostan, Burmah, Tennasserin, Borneo, Japan, Galam, Yarriba, Polynesia, and elsewhere, there are modern survivals of this foundation-laying in blood.[138] It would seem, indeed, to have been wellnigh universal as a primitive usage.

Popular ballads give other indications of such customs, in various lands. “In a song, of which there are several versions, of the building of the bridge of Arta, it is told how the bridge fell down as fast as it was built, until at last the master-builder dreamed a dream that it would only stand if his own wife were buried alive in the foundations. He therefore sends for her, bidding her dress in festival attire, and then finds an excuse to make her descend into the central pile, whereupon they heap the earth over her, and thus the bridge stands fast.”[139]

“In another song the same story is told of the Bridge of Tricha, with the difference only that it is a little bird that whispers in the architect’s ear how the pile may be made to stand. A similar superstition connected with the building of the monastery Curtea de Argest, in Wallachia, forms the subject of a fine poem by the Roumanian poet Alexandri.”[140]

There is an indication of a like custom among the Vlachs in Turkey, as shown in their folk-poetry. The ballad of the “Monastery of Argis” tells of such an incident, in which the master-builder Manoli plays a part.[141]

Various substitutes for human offerings at the laying of a foundation-stone, or a threshold, have been adopted in different countries. Thus, in modern Greece, “after the ground has been cleared for the foundations of a new house, the future owner, his family, and the workmen attend, together with the pappas [the priest] in full canonicals, accompanied by incense, holy water, and all due accessories. A prayer is said, and those present are aspersed, and the site is sprinkled with the consecrated water. Then a fowl or a lamb, which you have noticed lying near with the feet tied together, is taken by one of the workmen, killed and decapitated, the pappas standing by all the while, and even giving directions; the blood is then smeared on the foundation-stone, in the fulfilment of the popular adage that ‘there must be blood in the foundation.’”[142]

The modern Greek term for this ceremony, stoicheionein, would seem to indicate a sacrifice to the deity of the threshold, or the foundation.

“The Bulgarians, it is said, when laying a house foundation, take a thread, and measure the shadow of some casual passer-by. The measure is then buried under the foundation-stone, and it is expected that the man whose shadow has been thus treated will soon become but a shade himself.... Sometimes a victim is put to death on the occasion; the foundations being sprinkled with the blood of a fowl, or a lamb, or some other species of scapegoat.”[143]

Among the Russian peasants the idea prevails that the building of a new house “is apt to be followed by the death of the head of the family for which the new dwelling is constructed, or that the member of the family who is the first to enter it will soon die. In accordance with a custom of great antiquity, the oldest member of a migrating household enters the new house first; and in many places, as, for instance, in the Government of Archangel, some animal is killed and buried on the spot on which the first log or stone is laid.”[144]

The “upper corner” of a house, in Russia, is peculiarly sacred, having even more honor than the doorway threshold in the ordinary home. Yet this upper corner seems to be in a sense the real threshold, or foundation corner, of the building. A cock is the ordinary victim sacrificed “on the spot which a projected house is to cover.” The head of this cock is buried “exactly where the ‘upper corner’ of the building is to stand.” And this corner is thenceforward a sacred corner. Opposite to it is the stove. It is called the “great” and the “beautiful” corner. The family meal is eaten before it, and every one who enters the cottage makes obeisance toward it. Formerly ancestral images are supposed to have been in that corner, and now holy pictures are there.[145] It would seem to be in accordance with this idea that the foundation-stone, or threshold, of a new building, which in civilized lands is now laid with imposing ceremonies, is known as the “corner-stone.” Yet the “corner-stone” of a modern building is sometimes at the corner of the central doorway.[146]

It is worthy of note that in ancient Egypt the one door of an ordinary dwelling-house was placed at one side, or end, of the front wall, and not in the center; so that the corner-stone of the building was literally a portion of the threshold.[147] The same was true of many an old-time New England house; the “front door” was at the left-hand side (as one approached the house) of the gable end. Thus the threshold of the door was often the corner-stone.

Ancient Romans were accustomed to place statues and images, instead of living persons, under the foundations of their buildings, as has been shown by recent researches in and about Rome.[148] In one instance, where a fine statue of colossal size and in perfect preservation was unearthed, at the foundations of a convent which was being enlarged, “by order of the monks, it was buried again,” as if in deference to the primitive belief that it was essential to the stability of the structure.[149]

There is a Swedish tradition “that under the altar in the first Christian churches a lamb was usually buried, which imparted security and duration to the edifice.”[150] And, “according to Danish accounts, a lamb was buried under every altar, and a living horse was laid in every churchyard before a human corpse was laid in it. Both lamb and horse are to be seen occasionally in the church- or grave-yard, and betoken death. Under other houses pigs and hens were buried alive.”[151]

A new sacrificial stone, or altar of sacrifice, laid on the summit of a Mexican temple, in 1512, was consecrated by Montezuma by the blood of more than twelve thousand captives.[152]

When the new railroad was built between Jaffa and Jerusalem, a few years ago, there were sacrifices of sheep at its beginning. And there were similar sacrifices at the foundations of the Turkish building, at the Columbian Exposition at Chicago.

In all these facts or legends, blood on the threshold of the building, in the foundation-stones of the structure, is shown to have been deemed an essential factor in a covenant with, or in propitiation of, the deity of the place.


Because the threshold is recognized as an altar, nearness to the altar is nearness to God, or to the gods worshiped at that altar. Hence appeals are made and justice is sought at the gate, or at the threshold, as in the presence of deity.

To present one’s self at the tent doorway, or to lay hold of the supports, or cords, at the entrance of an Arab’s “house of hair,” is recognized as an ever-effective appeal for hospitality in the East. Even an enemy can thus secure the protection of the home sanctuary.[153]

In the excavation of Tell-el-Hesy, in Southwestern Palestine, supposed to cover the remains of ancient Lachish,[154] Dr. Petrie discovered various ornamented door-jambs. In one case a simple volute on a pilaster slab suggested to Dr. Petrie “a ram’s horn nailed up against a wooden post;” and “he sees in this the origin of the type of the ‘horns of the altar,’[155] so often mentioned in temple architecture.”[156] If Dr. Petrie be correct in this thought, the horns of the altar were first of all at the house doorway, above the threshold altar.

One of the fundamental laws of the Afghans makes it incumbent on a host to “shelter and protect any one who in extremity may flee to his threshold, and seek an asylum under his roof.” Property or life must be sacrificed in his behalf, if need be. “As soon as you have crossed the threshold of an Afghan you are sacred to him, though you were his deadly foe, and he will give up his own life to save yours.” A favorite poem of the Afghan, entitled, “Adam Khan and Durkhani,” tells of a son who killed his father because that father had betrayed a refugee who sought the sanctuary of his threshold. And all Afghans honor the memory of that son.[157]

Among the Arabs of the Syrian desert, when a man would leave his own tribe and join himself to another, he takes a lamb or a goat with him, and presents himself at the entrance of the tent of the shaykh of the tribe he would find a home in. Slaying the animal there, and allowing its blood to run out on the ground at the threshold of the tent, he makes his appeal to the shaykh to accept him as a member of his tribe, or as a son by adoption. And this appeal has peculiar force, as a voice by blood.[158]

When a man among these tribes is in peril of his life, pursued by an enemy, he can similarly make an appeal for sanctuary at the threshold altar of a shaykh’s tent, with a like outpouring of the blood of an animal brought by him; and protection must be granted him by the shaykh. It is as though he had laid hold of the “horns of the altar.” So, again, when a man would be reconciled with an enemy who has cause for bitter hostility, he goes to the tent of that enemy and sacrifices an animal at the threshold, with an appeal for forgiveness. This offering of a threshold sacrifice secures his safety.

In other portions of Arabia this same idea finds a different but similar expression. “With bare and shaven head the offender appears at the door of the injured person, holding a knife in each hand, and, reciting a formula provided for the purpose, strikes his head several times with the sharp blades. Then drawing his hands over his bloody scalp, he wipes them on the door-post. The other must then come out and cover the suppliant’s head with a shawl [covering the offense, in covering the offender], after which he kills a sheep, and they sit down together at a feast of reconciliation.”[159]

A record on a Babylonian clay tablet, of the twenty-eighth year of Nebuchadrezzar, affirms that “on the second day of the month of Ab” a certain “Imbiʿa shall bring his witness to the gate of the house of the chief Bel-iddin, and let him testify” as to a certain matter.[160] The gate of the chief man, or local magistrate, would here seem to have been the recognized court of justice.

In the palace ruins at Persepolis and Susa, the great doorways show, in their architecture, the influence of Babylonia, Assyria, and Egypt. And in the relief sculpture of those doorways there is seen a representation of “the king sitting on his throne rendering justice at his palace gate.”[161]

At one of the gates of modern Cairo, the writer has seen a venerable Arab sitting in judgment on a case submitted to him by the contestants. And such a scene may be often witnessed at the gates of an Oriental city.

In accordance with this primitive idea, it became a custom in India for one who would obtain justice from another to seat himself at the door of a house, or a tent, and refuse to move from that position until he starved to death, unless his claim were heeded. If the suitor died at the door, or the household altar, the sin of his death rested upon the householder. The suitor’s blood cried out against the evil-doer.

Even to the present time appeals at the household altar are made in blood, in portions of India. A case recently before the British court in Kathiawar involved an illustration of such an appeal. One of the Charaus, a caste of heralds, had become responsible with his life, according to custom, for the repayment of a loan made to a land owner. The land owner delayed payment, and seemed disposed to avoid it. “The herald and his brother, with their old mother for a sacrifice, went to the door of the debtor’s house and demanded payment, as their family honor was at stake. When the land owner would not pay, the herald struck off the head of his mother with his sword before the door, the brother at the same time wounded (intending to kill) the debtor, and the two brothers sprinkled the mingled blood of the sacrifice on the householder’s door-posts. The land owner, smitten by public infamy and the guilt of the matricide, starved himself to death.”[162] References to this responsibility of the heralds are found in the Mahabharata.[163]

Even where the primitive custom of sacrificing at the doorway has died out, there sometimes seems to be a survival of it in popular phraseology. Talcott Williams, of Philadelphia, relates an incident of his experiences in Morocco, which illustrates this. He says: “As I was riding through the Soko at Tangier on a morning in June, 1889, a servant stopped me, and said: ‘Four men, from near Azila (a town on the seacoast of Morocco, about thirty miles away), are waiting for you at the gate of the house of Mr. Perdicarus, and they have killed a sheep.’ ‘What have they killed a sheep for?’ said I. ‘Oh!’ said the servant, ‘I don’t mean that they have actually killed a sheep, but they are sitting at the gate, asking for your help, and expect you to aid them in their trouble, because they have heard that you have influence with the American consul, and are a man of importance in your own country, and we call that “killing a sheep.”’ I think he added ‘at the gate,’ but my memory is not perfectly clear at this point. I rode on to the house of my friend, where I was stopping, and found there the kinsman of a sheikh, who had been imprisoned by the American consul. They seized my horse’s bridle, and, with the usual Oriental signs of respect, refused to let me dismount until I had heard them and their plea for help.

“I was told by my own servant and the other Orientals there, that this plea ‘at the gate,’ accompanied as it was by the readiness to ‘kill a sheep,’ was one which no man in Morocco would dream of disregarding. I made some inquiry on the subject afterwards, and found that the habit of sitting at the gate waiting for a man of supposed influence or authority, while absent, to return to his house, often actually accompanied, though less frequently at present, by the slaughter of a sheep, whose blood is poured across the road over which he must pass, was a form used only in cases of dire necessity, and one to which a man with whom other pleas would avail nothing, felt compelled to give attention. I am glad to add that in my own case this ancient rite was not without its fruits to those who had used it.”[164]

See the Bible references to this idea. Moses stood “in the gate of the camp,” at a crisis hour in Israel’s history, when he would execute judgment in the Lord’s cause.[165] All Israel was aroused to do judgment against the sinning Benjamites because of the appeal of the dying woman who fell at the door of the house, “with her hands upon the threshold.”[166] Boaz “went up to the gate,” to meet the elders there, when he would covenant to do justice by Ruth and the kinsman of Naomi.[167] Absalom sat in “the way of the gate” when he would show favor to those who came there with their appeals for justice.[168] And when Absalom was dead, David as king was again sitting in the gate.[169] Zedekiah, the king of Judah, was sitting in the gate of Benjamin when Ebed-melech appealed to him in behalf of Jeremiah.[170] Daniel’s post of honor in Babylon was “in the gate of the king,” as a judge in the king’s name.[171]

Wisdom, personified, says of him who would seek help where it is to be obtained:

“Blessed is the man that heareth me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.”[172]

The Lord’s call to Israel, through the prophets, was: “Establish judgment in the gate,”[173] and “Execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates.”[174] A reference to a just and righteous man is to “him that reproveth in the gate.”[175]

Lazarus in his need is laid daily at the gate of the rich Dives, seeking help.[176] So, again, the poor man who was a cripple from his birth was “laid daily at the door of the temple ... called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple.”[177]

It is written in the Mosaic law, that, when a bondman would bind himself and his family in permanent servitude to his loved master, “his master shall bring him unto God [or to the place of judgment and of covenant], and shall bring him to the door, or unto the door-post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall [thenceforward] serve him forever;”[178] or, as it is elsewhere said, the master shall thrust the awl “through his ear, unto [or into] the door.”[179] Here, apparently, the master and servant appeal together at the household altar, in witness of their sacred covenant.

The high court of Turkey is still called the “Sublime Porte,” the “Exalted Gateway;” and the subjects of the Sultan seek imperial favor at his palace door. He, or his representative, administers justice there, to those who are waiting at his gate.

A promise to Abraham was: “Thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.”[180] And again Jesus says of his Church, that “the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”[181] In both these cases “gates” are obviously equivalent to the power of those who are within the gates. Thus, also, when the overthrow of a city is foretold in prophecy, it is said, that “the gate is smitten with destruction.”[182]


Because the threshold of the doorway is the primitive altar of the household, the doorway itself is, as it were, a framework above the altar; and the side-posts and lintel of the doorway fittingly bear tokens or inscriptions in testimony to the sacredness of the passage into the home sanctuary. It would seem that originally the blood poured out in sacrifice on the threshold was made use of for marking the door-posts and lintel with proofs of the covenant entered into between the in-comer and the host; and that afterwards other symbols of life, and appropriate inscriptions, were substituted for the blood itself.

There are survivals in the East, at the present time, of the original method of blood-marking the frame of the doorway; and there are traces of its practice in ancient times in both the East and the West. President Washburn, of Robert College, Constantinople, says:[183] “I remember, after the great fire in Stamboul, in 1865, going over the ruins, and coming to a house that the fire had spared; a sheep had been sacrificed on the threshold, and a hand dipped in the blood and struck upon the two door-posts.”

This appears, also, in the installing of a Chief Rabbi in modern Jerusalem. In the welcome to the Hakham Bâshi, or the “First in Zion,”[184] “the multitude of those gathered together accompany him to his house, but before he sets the sole of his foot upon the threshold of the outer gate [or court] one of the shokheteem [or official slaughterers] slays a perfect beast, and pronounces the sacrificial blessing, and all those present answer, Amen. Then the rabbi, the Hakham Bâshi, steps over the beast which has been slain, and the shokhet dips the two palms of his hands into the blood, and marks first the vessels of the rabbi’s house. And, with his hands stained with blood, he forms the semblance of a hand above the lintel of the door;–in their trust that this thing is good [the proper thing] for the evil eye;–and the flesh of the beast they distribute to the poor.”[185]

A custom in this same line is noted among the Jews in Morocco, in connection with wedding observances. “Whilst the bullock, or other animal, is being slaughtered for the evening’s festivities, a number of boys dip their hands in the blood, and make an impression of an outspread hand on the door-posts and walls of the bride’s house;” supposedly “for the purpose of keeping off the ‘evil eye,’ and thus ensuring good luck to the newly married couple.”[186]

There are indications of such a custom in ancient times. Layard says of his researches in Assyria: “On all the slabs forming entrances in the oldest palaces of Nimroud, were marks of a black fluid resembling blood, which appeared to be daubed on the stone. I have not been able to ascertain the nature of this fluid; but its appearance cannot fail to call to mind the Jewish ceremony of placing the blood of the sacrifice on the lintel of the doorway.”[187]

In ancient Egypt there were inscriptions, together with the name of the owner, on the side-posts and lintels of the dwellings. “Besides the owner’s name,” says Wilkinson,[188] “they sometimes wrote a lucky sentence over the entrance of the house, for a favorable omen, as ‘The Good Abode,’ the múnzel mobárak of the modern Arabs, or something similar; and the lintels and imposts of the doors in the royal mansions were frequently covered with hieroglyphics, containing the ovals and titles of the monarch. It was, perhaps, at the dedication of the house, that these sentences were affixed; and we may infer, from the early mention of this custom among the Jews, that it was derived from Egypt.”[189]

When it is understood that the inscribing, on the doorways, of dedications to protecting deities, was common among primitive peoples, it would seem to be in accordance with that custom that the Hebrews were commanded to dedicate their doorways to the one living God. It is said of the words of the covenant of God with his people, as recorded in Deuteronomy 6 : 4–9 and 11 : 13–21, “Thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thy house, and upon thy gates.” To this day, among stricter Jews, these covenant words inscribed on parchment, and enclosed in a cylinder of glass, or a case of metal or of wood, are affixed to the side-posts of every principal door in the house. This case and inscription are called the “mezuza.” On the outside of the written scroll, the divine name, Shaddai,–“the Almighty,”–is so inscribed that it may be in sight through an opening in the case or cylinder. This name stands for “the Guardian of the dwellings of Israel,” whose protection is thus invoked above the primitive altar of the household on the threshold of the entrance way.[190]

“Every pious Jew, as often as he passes the mezuza, touches the divine name with the finger of his right hand, puts it to his mouth and kisses it, saying in Hebrew, ‘The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in, from this time forth, and for evermore;’[191] and when leaving on a business expedition he says, after touching it, ‘In thy name, kuzu bemuchsaz kuzu (=God), I go out and shall prosper.’”[192] In some cases the covenant words are inscribed directly upon the door-posts, instead of being written on parchment and enclosed in a case.

On the lintels of the ancient synagogues in Palestine there were sculptured symbolic figures, such as the paschal lamb, a pot of manna, a vine, or a bunch of grapes, together with inscriptions; and the door-posts were ornamented more or less richly.[193] Evidences of this are still abundant.

Speaking of the writing over the door and all round the room at the office of the consul in Sidon, Dr. Thomson says that Muhammadans “never set up a gate, cover a fountain, build a bridge, or erect a house, without writing on it choice sentences from the Koran, or from their best poets. Christians also do the same.”[194] These writings are deemed a protection against harm from evil spirits.

In Persia, both the Muhammadans and the Armenians inscribe passages from their sacred books above their doorways, with ornamental adornings, in “strange, fantastic patterns.”[195] The palace doorways in ancient Persia were inscribed and ornamented in a high degree.[196]

At the present time, in China, coins are put under the door-sill at the time of its laying, and charms are fastened above the door;[197] the gods of the threshold are invoked at the doorway by shrines and inscriptions, while sentences, as in ancient Egypt, are written on the side-posts and lintel.[198] At the festival of the fifth month of the Chinese year, “charms, consisting of yellow paper of various sizes, on which are printed images of idols, or of animals, or Chinese characters, are pasted upon the doors and door-posts of houses, in order to expel evil spirits.” In times of pestilence, sentences written in human blood are fastened on the door-posts for protection from disease.[199]

Describing a ceremony on a large Chinese junk when starting out on a long voyage, an observer tells of the sacrifice of a fowl in honor of the divinity called Loong-moo, or the Dragon’s Mother. A temporary altar was erected at the bow of the vessel, as its beginning, or threshold, and the blood of the sacrificed fowl was shed there. Pieces of silver paper were “sprinkled with the blood [of the fowl], and then fastened to the door-posts and lintels of the cabin.”[200] The cabin door is the home door of the voyager.

Above the house door of almost every home, in large portions of Japan, there is suspended the shimenawa, or a thin rope of rice straw, which is one of the sacred symbols of ancient Shintoism. Above the doors of high Shinto officials, this symbol is of great size and prominence. Its presence is as a sign of a covenant with the gods.[201]

The Greeks certainly recognized the entrance of the house as the place for an altar to the protecting deity. “Before each house stood, usually, its own peculiar altar of Apollo Agyieus, or an obelisk rudely representing the god himself;” and that over the house door, “for good luck,” or as a talisman, “an inscription was often placed.”[202] And on occasions, as when a bride entered her husband’s house, the doorway was “ornamented with festive garlands.”[203] Theocritus refers to a Greek custom of smearing the side-posts of the gateway with the juice of magic herbs, as a method of appeal to the guardian deity to influence the heart of the dweller within toward the suppliant at the door.[204]

Roman householders affixed to the lintels and side-posts of their doors the spoils and trophies taken by them in battle. Branches, and wreaths of bay and laurel, were hung by them in the doorway on a marriage occasion; and lamps and torches were displayed at their doors at other times of rejoicing; while cypresses were shown there at the time of a death.[205]

Texts of Scripture, and other inscriptions, as a means of invoking a blessing at the doorway, are frequently found at the present time above the entrance of houses in South Germany.

In Central America and in South America the blood of sacrificial offerings was smeared on the doorways of houses as well as of temples, as a means of covenanting with the local deities. Illustrations of this are found in the records and remains of Peru[206] and Guatemala.[207]

In both Europe and America, the practice of nailing horseshoes on the side-posts of a doorway, for “good luck,” or as a means of guarding the inmates of the house from evil, is very common. So lately as the seventeenth century it was said: “Most houses of the West End of London have the horseshoe on the threshold.”[208] Even at the threshold of Christian churches, in recent years, the symbol of the horseshoe was to be found as a means of protection.[209] The horseshoe is often to be found on a ship’s mast. At the present time, horseshoes of various sizes, for use as doorway guards against evil, are found on sale in Philadelphia, and other centers of civilization.


It would seem that, in primitive practice, the hand of the covenanter dipped in the sacrificial blood on the threshold, and stamped on the door-posts and lintel, was the sign-manual of the covenant between the contracting party or parties, and God, or the gods, invoked in the sacrifice. Illustrations of this custom, as still surviving in the East, have been given, from Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Morocco.[210] Naturally, therefore, the sign-manual by itself came to stand for, or to symbolize, the covenant of the threshold altar; and the stamp of the red hand became a token of trust in God or the gods covenanted with in sacrifice, and of power or might resulting from this covenant relation. Wherever the red hand was shown, or found, it was a symbol of covenant favor with Deity, and it came to be known, accordingly, as the “hand of might.”

In the region of ancient Babylonia, also, the red-hand stamp is still to be seen on houses and on animals, apparently as the symbol of their covenant consecration by their owner. Dr. Hilprecht says: “Over all the doors of the rooms in the large khan of Hillah, on the Euphrates, partly built upon the ruins of ancient Babylon, I noticed the red impression of an outspread hand, when I was there in January, 1889. Several white horses in our caravan from Bagdâd to Nippur had the stamp of a red hand on their haunches.”

This symbol is much used in Jerusalem. Referring to its frequency, Major Conder says: “The ‘hand of might’ is another Jewish belief which may be supposed to have an Aryan origin. This hand is drawn on the lintel or above the arch of the door. Sometimes it is carved in relief, and before one house in the Jews’ quarter, in Jerusalem, there is an elaborate specimen, carefully sculptured and colored with vermilion. Small glass charms, in the form of the hand, are also worn, and the symbol is supposed to bring good luck. The Jewish and Arab masons paint the same mark on houses in course of construction; and, next to the seven-branched candlestick, it is probably the commonest house-mark in Jerusalem.”[211]

A Jerusalem Jew thus tells of its use among a portion of his co-religionists in that city: “Our brethren the Sephardeem [the Spanish Jews], like all the remnant of the sons of the East, consider the semblance of a hand as good against the power of the evil eye in a man. And they draw this shape upon the doors of their houses with a red finger. So, too, they place upon the heads of their children a hand wrought in silver, saying that this hand–or this picture of the five fingers–is noxious to the man who delights to bring the evil upon the child, or upon those dwelling in the house. So, again, when men quarrel, the one sets his five fingers before the other’s evil eye, saying that this sign neutralizes the evil.”[212]

This sign of the hand is “found on the houses of Jews, Muslims, and Christians, in various parts of Palestine.” It is generally painted on or above the door, often in blue; but frequently, especially when a Jew or a Muhammadan enters a new house, a lamb is sacrificed at the door, and the stamp of the hand in the fresh blood is affixed to the post or to the walls.[213] No one claims to know the origin of this symbol, but all recognize its importance.

In its ruder form the figure of the hand is much like a five-branched candlestick. Indeed, it has sometimes been mistaken for that symbol. This was the case when such a figure was noticed, not long ago, by Dr. Noetling, on Jewish houses in Safed, and reported to a European journal. This symbol is sometimes called the “Hand of Moses.” A similar figure on Muslim houses is said to represent the “Hand of the Prophet;” while in Syria, among Christians, it is called the Kef Miryam, the “Virgin Mary’s Hand.”[214] Obviously these terms suggest the idea of power through divinely derived strength.

One of the sights in the Mosk of St. Sophia, in Constantinople, is the stamp of a red hand. It is said that when Sultan Muhammad II. entered this sanctuary as a conqueror, he dipped his right hand in the blood of the slaughtered Christians, and stamped it on the wall, as if to seal his victory, and to pledge his covenant devotion to his God.[215] Whether this story be fact or legend, it is a witness to the idea of such a custom in the minds of Oriental peoples.

An open hand is, or was, a common symbol on a banner, as also on a prayer-rug, in both Turkey[216] and Persia. At the annual festival in Persia in commemoration of the death of Hossein, son of Alee, two large banners, each surmounted with an open hand, are borne in front of the representation of the tomb of Hossein; and the same symbol appears in various ways during the celebration.[217]

“In the East Indies, to this day, the figure of a hand is the emblem of power and governmental sway. When the Nabob of Arcot was the viceroy of five provinces, if he appeared in public there were carried before him certain little banners, each with a hand painted on it, and a larger banner with five hands.”[218]

Siva, the destroyer, in the Hindoo triad, is also the re-creator; since death is only the entrance into a new life. One of Siva’s well-known symbols is a hand, which is a token of might and life.

The uplifted open hand was prominent on or above the doors in ancient Carthage.[219] And a traveler in Northern Africa, writing of the Jews in Tunis, near the site of Carthage, says: “What struck me most in all the houses was the impression of an open bleeding hand on every wall of each floor. However white the walls, this repulsive sign was to be seen everywhere. A Jewess never goes out here without taking with her a hand carved in coral or ivory–she thinks it a talisman against the ‘evil eye,’ or ‘mal occhio.’... When his children’s pictures or horses are praised, the Tunisian Jew extends his five fingers, or pronounces the number ‘five;’ he tries by this means to prevent the praise doing damage.”[220]

This symbol of the open hand is frequently found above the graves in the vicinity of Tunis. It is also seen in old Jewish cemeteries in Europe, as, for instance, in Prague.[221]

An open hand, in stone, or metal, or enamel, or bone, used as a talisman or an amulet, to guard the wearer against evil, was in common use in ancient Egypt. Specimens of these can be seen in museums in Europe and America to-day.

It is a noteworthy fact that the uplifted hand is prominent in the representation of the deities of Babylonia, Assyria, Phenicia, and Egypt, especially of the gods of life, or of fertility, who have covenant relations with men. And the same is true of the representations of sovereigns, in the ancient East, who are supposed to be in peculiar covenant relations with the gods.

Thus, on the seal of Ur-Gur, the earliest ruler of “Ur of the Chaldees,”[222] the ruler and his attendants appear with uplifted hands before the moon-god Sin, who in turn is represented with his hand uplifted, as if he were making covenant with them.[223] It is the same with the sun-god Shamash and his worshipers.[224]

When a king of ancient Babylon was recognized as having a right to the throne, he must lift up his hand and clasp the hand of the image of Bel-Merodach, in order to show that he had “become the adopted son of the true ruler of the city.” This giving and taking of the hand was a symbol of covenanting in Babylonia. In this way a child was adopted into a family, and a husband and a wife covenanted to become one.[225]

The god Asshur, and his worshipers, kings or princes, are similarly represented in Assyria with the hand uplifted. And it is the same there with other deities and their worshipers.[226] In Phenicia, and its colonies, the same idea has prominence.[227]

Deities of ancient Egypt are frequently represented with the uplifted hand, and their accepted worshipers appear before them with the right hand uplifted.[228] As showing that this is not the attitude of supplication or of adoration, like the bowed form, the crossed arms, or the upturned palms, it is to be noted that in the representation of Amenophis IV., or Khuen-aten, with his family, before the aten-ra or the solar disk, the worshipers stand with their right hands uplifted, while the sun-god reaches down a series of open hands, as if in covenant proffer to the uplifted hands below.[229]

In the county of Roscommon, in Ireland, there is a stone known as “a druidical altar,” which the common people say was thrown there by the giant Fin-mac-Coole, “the print of whose five fingers, they say, is to be seen on it.” The hand-print is pointed to confidently as the proof of authenticity, as if it were the veritable signature of the giant.[230]

Among the ruins in Central America, there were found at the doorways and on the walls of many of the ruined buildings of Yucatan the stamp of a red hand on the plaster or on the stone. “They were the prints of a red hand, with the thumb and fingers extended, not drawn or painted, but stamped by the living hand, the pressure of the palm upon the stone. He who made it had stood before it alive, ... and pressed his hand, moistened with red paint, hard against the stone. The seams and creases of the palm were clear and distinct in the impression.” As showing the idea prevalent among the natives of that region with reference to the source and meaning of these signs-manual, the Indians of Yucatan said that the stamp was of “the hand of the owner of the building,” as if he had affixed it to his dwelling in token of his covenant with its guardian deity; and, again, it was thought that “these impressions were placed there in a formal act of consecration to the gods.”[231]

There is a clear recognition of this idea in many Bible references to the lifting up of the hands unto God, as if in covenant relations with him. Thus, Abraham says to the king of Sodom, “I have lift up my hand unto the Lord;”[232] as if he would say, I have pledged myself to him. I have given him my hand. And the Psalmist says: “I will lift up my hands in thy name.”[233] God himself says, by his prophet: “I will lift up mine hand to the nations;”[234] that is, I will covenant with them.[235] And so in many another case. Indeed, the Assyrian word for swearing (nish) is literally “lifting up the hand;”[236] and the Hebrew word nasa means to lift up the hand or to swear.[237] The uplifted hand in a judicial oath seems to be a survival of the same thought, that an appeal is thus made to God, as one’s covenant God.

Again, there may be a reference to the “hand of might” in a covenant relation, in those passages where God is spoken of as bringing his people out of Egypt by “a strong hand,” or “a mighty hand,” and as dealing with them afterwards in the same way.[238]

An uplifted hand is a symbol found also on the stepped pyramid temples of Polynesia.[239]

This sign of the red hand is still a familiar one among the aborigines of America. It is stamped on robes and skins, and on Indian tents.[240] Schoolcraft says of it: “The figure of the human hand is used by the North American Indians to denote supplication to the Deity or Great Spirit, and it stands in the system of picture-writing as the symbol for strength, power, or mastery, thus derived [through a covenant relation]. In a great number of instances which I have met with of its being employed, both in the ceremonial of their dances and in their pictorial records, I do not recollect a single one in which this sacred character is not assigned to it.”[241]

A frequent use of the hand-print among the American Indians is as “a symbol applied to the naked body after its preparation and decoration for sacred and festive dances.” These preparations are “generally made in the arcanum of the medicine, or secret lodge, or some private place, and with all the skill of the priest’s, the medicine-man’s, or the juggler’s art. The mode of applying it in these cases is by smearing the hand of the operator with white or colored clay, and impressing it on the breast, the shoulder, or other part of the body. The idea is thus conveyed that a secret influence, a charm, a mystic power, is given to the dancer, arising from his sanctity, or his proficiency in the occult arts.” Schoolcraft, speaking of this custom, says: “The use of the hand is not confined to a single tribe or people. I have noticed it alike among the Dacotah, the Winnebagoes, and other Western tribes, as among the numerous branches of the red race still located east of the Mississippi River, above the latitude of 42°, who speak dialects of the Algonquin language.”[242]

Is there possibly any connection with this idea in the custom of “the laying on of hands,” as a symbol of imparting virtue or power to one newly in covenant relations with those who are God’s representatives, so frequently referred to in the Bible?[243] This would seem to be indicated by the power imparted to an Egyptian king by the touch of the uplifted hand of the deity, as shown in the representations on the monuments of Egypt. It was known as “the imposition of the Sa,” or increased vitality.[244]

A remarkable illustration of the use of the red-hand print among American Indians is given in the story of a famous Omaha chief, who, when dying, enjoined it upon his followers to carry his body to a prominent look-out bluff above the Missouri River, and bury him there, full armed, on the back of his favorite war-horse, who was to be buried alive, that he might watch from that place the passing of the whites up and down the river. It would seem as if he wanted to be known as dying in the faith of his covenant relations with the Great Spirit, for himself and for his people.

Because of this request, in the presence of his assembled tribe “he was placed astride his horse’s back, with his bow in his hand, and his shield and quiver slung; with his pipe and his medicine bag; with his supply of dried meat, and his tobacco pouch replenished; ... with his flint and steel, and his tinder, to light his pipe by the way. The scalps that he had taken ... were hung to the bridle of his horse. He was in full dress and equipped; and on his head waved ... his beautiful head-dress of the war-eagle’s plumes.” As he stood thus on the threshold of the life beyond, when the last funeral honors were performed by the medicine-men, “every warrior of his band painted the palm and fingers of his right hand with vermilion, which was stamped and perfectly impressed on the milk-white sides of his devoted horse,”–as if in covenant pledge of fidelity to their chief in the sight of the Great Spirit.[245]

There is another phase of the red-hand symbolism among the American Indians, which has been noted by Frank H. Cushing, who is so experienced and careful an observer of their customs and ceremonies. This phase connects the symbol directly with the idea of life and its transmission. Mr. Cushing says:[246]

“By reference to the paintings (and writings, to some extent) of such men as Catlin and Stanley, and to the works of Schoolcraft, Matthews, Bourke, and others, you will find that the red-hand symbol was painted on the lodges, sometimes on the clothing and person, and sometimes on the shields of various of the hunter tribes of the plains,–as, for example, of the Ioways, Sauks and Foxes, Sioux, Arickarees, Cheyennes, Arapahos, and Comanches. Precisely what the significance of the symbol was, with these peoples and others like them, I am not able to say, save that in some cases it was connected with war, in others with treaties, and in yet others as expressive of power. There were yet other meanings attached to the sign; but neither the former significances nor these latter were, I take it, as definite or fixed [with the hunter tribes] as with the more advanced and settled tribes of the farther south.

“Of these tribes, the typical Pueblos and the peoples more or less directly influenced by them–such as the Jicarillas on the north and east, and the Apaches to the south and west[247]–made frequent use of not only the red-hand symbol, but also of the black-hand symbol. I have seen both, not only in the modern but also in the very ancient pueblos–as those of the Pecos, and those of the great cliff-dweller towns in the Chelly and other canyons. In the Pecos ruins, to give a special example, I copied beautiful hand-paintings and prints from the rafters, as well as from the walls of ordinary dwelling-rooms. Sometimes these paintings were in red, but more often in black. They invariably represented the hands of women, as could be seen by their delicacy and smallness of outline and by their shapeliness. There was, I think, a reason for this, which the following facts will explain.

“It was my good fortune to witness, early in the eighties, a ceremonial celebrating the attainment to puberty, or womanhood, of a young girl of the Jicarilla Apaches. The latter people are not to be confounded with the Apaches proper. They are a mixed people, descended not only from the Apaches, but also the Comanches, and in large part also from the Pueblos of the north, the so-called Tañoans of whom the Pecos people were a branch. It was clear from the character of the masks and other paraphernalia used in the ceremonials I witnessed, that the latter were almost, if not quite, wholly derived from the pueblo, rather than from the wilder, ancestry of the Jicarillas who performed them.

“The ceremonial in question was performed by four medicine-men, or priests, as one might call them, within and around a rectangular enclosure of evergreen boughs set in the plain near to the village. Inside of this enclosure, which was designed to screen from view the more secret operations of the priest dancers in question, stood a little conical skin lodge, the snow-white top of which appeared above the screen of evergreen, and within which the young girl, over whom these rites were being enacted, was ensconced, together with one or two old women of the tribe. As I have said before, each of the priests, on appearing (and this they did successively; that is, the first on the first day, the second on the second day, and so on), wore a conical mask or helmet, which entirely concealed, not only the face, but also the head. This mask was painted black or red, and upon the face of it appeared one of these hand symbols. Unfortunately, I did not see the mask as worn by the first priest, but, as worn by the second priest on the morning of the second day, it bore upon its face the symbol of the red hand; and as worn upon the third day, this symbol recurred, but, if I remember aright, was surrounded by an outline of another color, either black or yellow, whilst the hand painted on the mask as worn on the fourth day was black surrounded by white, that it might stand out more conspicuously; and in turn, below it, were two or more dots alternating with dotted circles.

“My means of communicating with these people were but limited, but on learning that the ceremonials they were performing were designed to celebrate the attainment to maturity, or womanhood, of a virgin, I had little difficulty in understanding the significance of the succession of these various hand symbols. I recognized in the ceremonial as a whole the dramatic epitomization, to state it briefly, of the four ages of a woman’s life. Thus the white hand (which I was told had been painted on the mask of the first day) symbolized her infancy and girlhood, the consummation of which was effected by the first day’s ceremonial performed by the medicine-man of the white hand.

“The red hand was obviously significant of this girl’s attainment to young womanhood, the color in this case symbolizing the blood of her perfected life. I imagine that the black hand painted on the mask as worn during the third day’s ceremonial was significant of not only the betrothal of the girl, which was said to have taken place during that day of the ceremonial, but also of her prospective maternity; the change of color, in the hand, from red to black, being naturally a symbolic representation of the change from red to black in blood that has been exposed to the sunlight and dried, and has thus become black, and is no longer virgin. Likewise the hand painted on the mask as worn during the fourth day’s ceremonial, which was wholly black, doubtless represented the fuller life of not only a matron but a grandmother. From this I would infer that the signs of the red and black hands found in the ruined pueblos like those of Pecos, and on the cliffs at the mouths of caves, or in the houses of the cliff villages, symbolized respectively virginity, and maternity or betrothal.

“What would seem to indicate the correctness of this conclusion is the fact that, as I have mentioned before, there were below the signs of the black hand of the last day’s ceremonial of the Jicarillas dots and dotted circles. It is well known that these dots and dotted circles represent, primarily, grains of corn, male and female; and, secondarily, children, male and female. Their occurrence, then, below the painted black hand or symbol of maternity, would indicate that in this case they represented the children and perhaps grandchildren, male and female, of the matron it was hoped this young girl might become.

“The hand symbol as occurring amongst the Zuñi, with whom, of course, I am much more familiar, has not only some such significances as these, but also many others,–the significance of a given symbol depending upon the ceremonial with which it is associated, and particularly upon the coloring which is given to it, the colors being as various as are the well-known seven sacramental colors employed to symbolize the seven regions of the world by the priesthood of these people.

“I will only add, that the hand symbol painted upon the walls of the estufas, or Kiva temples, or upon the little sacred sand mounds, which are made to symbolize mythic mountains of the six regions during the ceremonials of initiation performed once every four years over the new children of the pueblo, are designed to signify the various ritualistic precepts which are taught to the children according as they are held to pertain to one or another of these little sand mounds or so-called mountains of generation.

“In the case above described I was told, although I did not myself see it, that the symbol of the red hand was painted by the side of the entrance to the little tent in which the girl sat through the ceremonials, and that later the same symbol in black was added to the other side of the entrance to this tent. In the case of the Pueblos the position of the hand symbols depends, as, no doubt, you have already inferred, upon the sort of ceremonial which is being performed in connection with them.

“It would seem, however, that the placing of these symbols at the entrance of the cave villages would correspond to such usages as I have above described as pertaining to the Jicarilla ceremonial, and that the painting of them on the rafters of rooms in ancient pueblos had a like connection; for it must be remembered that in the older pueblos there were no doorways proper [hence no thresholds]. The rooms were entered by means of ladders through scuttles in the roof.”[248]

A hand-print is a signature. A hand-print in blood is a pledge of life in a sacred covenant. A hand-print in the blood of life is symbolic of a covenant of life with a view to the transmission of life. When a woman of Korea is married, she affixes her sign manual to the covenanting contract by placing her hand on the paper and having “the outline drawn round the fingers and wrist with a fine brush dipped in Chinese ink,” or again she employs “the simpler process of smearing her hand with black paint, and hitting the document with it.[249]

Formal documents have often been signed by a hand stamp, or a finger stamp, in blood or in ink. The monks of the convent of St. Catharine at Mt. Sinai, for instance, show a copy of the certificate of protection given to them by the Prophet of Islam, the signature to which is an impression of Muhammad’s open hand. A letter to Muhammad Issoof, from the king of Mysore, in 1754, was sealed with the king’s seal, “and on the back was stamped the print of a hand, a form equivalent, with the Mysoreans, to an oath.”[250]

The very term “sign manual,” employed for a veritable signature, may point to an origin in this custom. Indeed, may it not be that the large red seal attached to important documents, at the present time, is a survival of the signature and seal of the bloody hand?


Originally the covenant sacrifice at the threshold was with the one God of life. But as monotheism degenerated into polytheism, the idea came to prevail of different deities in different portions of the door, or of different deities in different districts of country or in different offices of life.

Each gate of an Assyrian city was dedicated to a special god, and named after it,–as the gate of Bel, the gate of Beltis, the gate of Anu, the gate of Ishtar. At the entrance-way of every gate gigantic winged bulls with human heads stood on guard, accompanied by winged genii.[251] And the central doorway to the king’s palace was similarly guarded.[252] In every house a special deity was appealed to at different portions of the doorway; Nergal on the top of the wall and beneath the threshold; Ea and Merodach in the passage to the right and left of the gate.[253]

The idea of an offering, or of a dedication, to the local divinity, at the time the threshold is laid, is of wide acceptance. In India, “the god Vāttu, or Vāttuma [a son of Vishnoo], is said to recline and live in the threshold, changing his position every month.... On the day when the door-frame and threshold of a new house or temple are fixed, the Vāttuma santhe [the tribute to Vāttuma] is offered.”[254]

In China, “Shintu and Yuhlui are named as two tutelar gods to whom the guardianship of the house is entrusted; and either the names or grotesque representations of these ‘gods of the threshold’ are at the gate of the house, with shrines to them upon the left of the entrance way.”[255]

It is said of these “Chinese gods of the threshold,” that “in full stature, and presumably in primeval strength, they flank the doors of monasteries and the entrances to the halls of justice. Much reduced in size and perched high on shelves, they face each other in the vestibules of the Chinese home; and in their most diminutive aspect they become little images, occasionally two-headed, which are carried about the person as charms, or hang from the eaves of Chinese houses.”[256]

Over the doors of almost all the houses of Japan are to be seen small prints of the “gigantic Ni-o, the Booddhist Gog and Magog,” who are supposed to guard the entrance way of the holy places.[257] Private buildings as well as public need this spiritual protection.

The inscriptions at the doorways of the houses of ancient Egypt showed that every building was “placed under the protection of a tutelary deity.” This custom “is retained by the modern Egyptians in the protecting genius said to preside over the different quarters of Cairo.”[258]

Tertullian, a Christian Father who wrote before the close of the second century, in warning believers against the seducements of idolatry, emphasized the clustering of deities at the doors and gates in the religions of Greece and Rome.[259] He says that “among the Greeks ... we read of Apollo Thyræus (that is, of the door), and the Antelii (or, Anthelii) demons, as presiders over entrances;” while among the Romans there are other “gods of entrances; Cardea (Hinge-goddess), called after hinges; and Forculus (Door-god) after doors; and Limentinus (Threshold-god) after the threshold; and Janus (Gate-god) himself after the gate.”

Although a Christian might not recognize these gods as gods, he is told to beware lest he seem to give them honor by adorning his gates with lamps or wreaths. “Indeed, a Christian will not even dishonor his own gate with laurel crowns,” says Tertullian, “if so be he knows how many gods the devil has attached to doors.” And his words of warning are: “Since there are beings who are adored in entrances [doorways], it is to them that both the lamps and laurels will pertain. To an idol you will have done whatever you shall have done to an entrance [or doorway].” “If you have renounced [heathen] temples, make not your own gate a [heathen] temple.” Yet, in proof of the prevalence of this heathen custom among Christians, Tertullian testifies: “‘Let your works shine,’ says He; but now all our shops and gates shine! You will now-a-days find more doors of heathens without lamps and laurel-wreaths than of Christians.”

In Guatemala, in Central America, “the god of houses” is called Chahalka; and the blood of sacrifices to him is sprinkled on the door of the houses as an assurance of his protection.[260]

It was much the same in the Old World as in the New. In ancient and in modern times, and in widely different portions of the world, there are indications that the threshold of the home was the primitive altar; and that the side-posts and lintel of the doorway above the threshold bore symbols or inscriptions in proof of the sacredness of the entrance to the family home, and in token of an accomplished covenant with its guardian God, or gods.



A temple is only a more prominent house. As a house was the dwelling of the earlier priest of his household, who was in covenant for himself and his family with the guardian deity of that household; so, afterwards, a temple was a dwelling for the deity guarding an aggregation of families, and for the priests who stood between him and the community.

This is no new or strange truth; it is obvious. “In the Vedas, Yama, as the first man, is the first priest too; he brought worship here below as well as life, and ‘first he stretched out the thread of sacrifice.’”[261] The fire-altar of the home was first the center of worship in the family in India;[262] as later the fire-altar was the center of the worship of the community.

The same cuneiform characters in old Babylonian stand for great house, for palace, and for temple;[263] as similarly, in ancient Egypt, the same hieroglyph represented house or temple,–a simple quadrangular enclosure, with its one doorway.[264]

The oldest form of an Egyptian temple known to us through the inscriptions of the Ancient Empire indicates that the prehistoric houses of worship in that land were mere hovels of wood and lattice-work, over the doors of which was a barbaric ornamentation of bent pieces of wood.[265] The private house became the public temple.

“The design of the Greek temple in its highest perfection was ... a gradual development of the dwelling-house.”[266] Palace and temple were, indeed, often identical in ancient Greece.[267]

Strictly speaking, there were no temples in ancient Persia, any more than in early India. But the fire-altars that were first on the home hearth, or threshold, were made more and more prominent on their uplifted stepped bases, until they towered loftily in the sight of their worshipers.[268]

It is the same Hebrew word, ohel, that stands for the “tent” of Abraham, and for the “Tent” or Tabernacle of the congregation of Israel.[269]

In China “temple architecture differs little from that of the houses.”[270] The house of a god is as the house of a man, only grander and more richly ornamented. And Japanese antiquaries say that the architecture of Shinto temples is on the model of the primeval Japanese hut. The temples of Ise, the most sacred of the Shinto sanctuaries, are said to represent this primitive architecture in its purest form.[271]

The father of the family was the primitive priest in the Samoan Islands, and his house was the first place of worship. Then “the great house of the village,” or the place of popular assembling, was used as a temple; and afterwards there were special temple structures with attendant priests.[272]

The transition from house to temple seems to have been a gradual one in the primitive world. The fire-altar of the family came to be the fire-altar of the community of families. The house of a king became both palace and temple, and so again the house of a priest; for the offices of king and of priest were in early times claimed by the same person.[273]


In all stages of the transition from house to temple, the sacredness of the threshold, of the door, of the entrance-way, of the gate, was recognized in architecture and in ceremonial. Often the door, or the gate, stood for the temple, and frequently the threshold was an altar, or an altar was at the threshold.

There are, indeed, reasons for supposing that the very earliest form of a primitive temple, or sanctuary, or place of worship, was a rude doorway, as covering or as localizing the threshold altar. This would seem to be indicated by prehistoric remains in different parts of the world, as well as in the later development of the idea in the earlier historic ages. The only exception to this was where, as in India or Persia, the fire-altar on an uplifted threshold stood alone as a place of worship.

Two upright stone posts, with or without an overlaying stone across them, and with or without an altar stone between or before them, are among the most ancient remains of primitive man’s handiwork; and a similar design is to be recognized, all the way along in the course of history, down to the elaborate doorway standing by itself as a memorial of the revered dead,[274] or to the monumental triumphal arch as an accompaniment of the highest civilization. And the very name of door, or gate, attaches persistently to the loftiest temple and to the most exalted personage. As the earliest altar was the threshold, the earliest temple was a doorway above the altar at the threshold.

When the first dwellers on the plains of Chaldea, after the Deluge, gathered themselves for the building of a common structure reaching God-ward,[275] they, in their phraseology, called that structure Bab-el, or Bâb-ilu, or Bâbi-ilu, the Door of God.[276] Ancient Egyptians called the sovereign head of their national family “Per-ao” (Pharaoh), the exalted House, or Gate, or Door;[277] as to-day the Sultan, who is spiritual father of the faithful Muhammadans, and autocrat of his realm, is widely known as the “Sublime Porte,” or the Exalted Door.[278] The modern Babists, in Persia and beyond, look up to their spiritual head as the “Bab,” or the “Door.”[279] “Throughout the East this word [‘Bab’] signifies the court of a prince [as a ruler by divine right].... The threshold of the gate is used in the same sense, and frequently it is qualified by some epithet of nobility, loftiness, or goodness.”[280]

Jesus Christ did not hesitate to say of himself as the Way to God: “I am the Door: by me if any man enter in he shall be saved.”[281]

In China, Japan, Korea, Siam, and India, a gate, or doorway, usually stands before Confucian and Booddhist and Shinto temples, but apart from the temple, and always recognized as of peculiar sacredness. These doorways, in many places, are painted blood-color.[282] They stand “at the entrance of temple grounds, in front of shrines and sacred trees, and in every place associated with the native kami”–or gods.[283] Yet, again, in all these countries, the temple gateway is a main feature, or a prominent one, in the chief sanctuaries.[284]

Swinging doors, or gates, are represented, in the religious symbolism of ancient Babylonia, as opening to permit the god Shamash, or the sun, to start out on his daily circuit of the heavens.[285] A door, or a doorway, appears as a shrine for a god in various cylinders from this region; and the god is shown standing within it, just beyond the threshold.[286] Indeed, the doorway shrine is a common form on the Babylonian and the Assyrian monuments, as a standing-place for the gods, and for the kings as representative of the gods.[287] Illustrations of this are found on the Balawat gates,[288] and the sculptures on the rocks at Nahr-el-Kelb[289]–which is itself a gateway of the nations, between the mountains and the sea, on the route between Egypt and Canaan, and both the East and the West.

In ancient Egypt the doorway shrine of the gods was prominent, as in Babylonia.[290] Moreover, a false door was represented in the earlier mastabahs, or tombs, of the Old Empire of Egypt. This representation of a door was toward the west, in which direction Osiris, the god of the under-world, was supposed to enter his realm as the sun went down. On or around this false door were memorial inscriptions, and prayers for the dead; and before it was a table, or altar, for offerings to the ka, or soul, of the dead.[291] Gradually this false door came to be recognized as the monumental slab, tablet, or stele, on which were inscribed the memorials of the deceased. As a doorway or a niche, square-topped, or arched, it was the shrine of the one worshiped; and as a panel, or independent stele, it was the place of record of the object of reverence.

“Even at the beginning of the Middle Empire the door form disappeared completely, and the whole space of the stone was taken up with the representation of the deceased sitting before a table of offerings, receiving gifts from his relatives and servants. Soon afterwards it became the custom to round off the stone at the top, and when, under the New Empire, pictures of a purely religious character took the place of the former representations, no one looking at the tomb stele could have guessed that it originated from the false door.”[292]

A “false door” was, in ancient Egypt, a valued gift from a sovereign to an honored subject. Doors of this kind were sometimes richly carved and painted, and were deemed of priceless value by the recipient.[293]

In Phenicia,[294] Carthage,[295] Cyprus,[296] Sardinia,[297] Sicily,[298] and in Abyssinia,[299] a like prominence was given to the door as a door, in temple and in tomb, and as a niche for the figure of a deity or for the representation of one who had crossed the threshold of the new life. And the door-form is a sacred memorial of the dead in primitive lands in various parts of the world, from the rudest trilithon to the more finished structures of a high civilization.[300]

In primitive New Zealand the gateway, or doorway, of a village, a cemetery, or a public building, is both a sacred image and a sacred passage-way. It is in the form of a superhuman personage, and it has its guardians on either hand.[301]

A doorway with an altar between its posts was a symbol of religious worship in ancient Mexico, as in the far East.[302]

It would seem that the “mihrab,” or prayer niche, pointing toward Meccah, in Muhammadan lands, and the Chinese honorary portals and ancestral tablets,[303] as well as the niches for images of saints in churches or at wayside shrines, or for heroes in public halls, in Christian lands, are a survival of the primitive doorway in a tomb.

And wherever the door is prominent as a door, the threshold is recognized and honored as the floor of the door, and as the primitive altar above which the door is erected. To pass through the door is to cross over the threshold of the door.


In all the modern excavations in the region of Babylonia and Assyria, including Tello, Nippur, Sippara, Borsippa, Khorsabad, and Nineveh, it has been found that the threshold, or foundation-stone, of the temple doorway is marked with inscriptions that show its peculiar sanctity; while underneath it, or near it, are frequently buried images and symbols and other treasures in evidence of its altar-like sacredness. On this point evidence has been furnished by Botta,[304] Bonomi,[305] Layard,[306] George Smith,[307] Lenormant,[308] and yet more fully by Dr. Hilprecht, in his later and current researches.

Bonomi suggests that the word “teraphim,” as an image of a household divinity, has its connection with the threshold or the boundary limit; and that the phrase “thy going out, and thy coming in,” which is common in Egyptian, Babylonian, and Hebrew[309] literature, has reference to the threshold and its protecting deities.[310] The outgoing and the incoming are clearly across the threshold and through the door.

The inscriptions of Nebuchadrezzar II., concerning his building of the walls of Babylon, comprise various references to the foundations, to the thresholds, and to their guardians. He says: “On the thresholds of the gates I set up mighty bulls of bronze, and mighty snakes standing upright.”[311] Again of the gates of Imgur-Bêl and Nimitti-Bel, of these walls of Babylon, he says: “Their foundations I laid at the surface (down at) the water, with pitch and bricks. With blue enameled tiles which were adorned with bulls and large snakes, I built their interior cleverly. Strong cedars I laid over them as their covering (or roof). Doors of cedarwood with a covering of copper, a threshold (askuppu) and hinges of bronze, I set up in their gates. Strong bulls of bronze, and powerful snakes standing upright, I set upon (or at) their threshold (sippu). Those gates I filled with splendor for the astonishment of all mankind.”[312]

In a similar manner Nebuchadrezzar describes his work at the gates of “the royal castle of all mankind,” at Babylon,[313] and of his palace.[314] In connection with the shrine or chapel of Nebo (Ezida), within the walls of the temple of Merodach, in Babylon, he says: “Its threshold (sippu), its lock and its key, I plated with gold, and made the temple shine daylike.”[315] When he built Ezida (the “eternal house”), the temple of Borsippa, Nebuchadrezzar says: “The bulls and the doors of the gate of the sanctuary, the threshold (sippu), the lock, the hinge, I plated with zarîru[316] (an unknown metal, a kind of bronze).

References to the foundations, to the thresholds, to the gates and doorways, and to bulls and upright serpents, as the guardians of the threshold of the temples and palaces of Babylonia and Assyria, are numerous on unearthed cylinders and tablets, and always in such a way as to indicate their peculiar sacredness. In the recent unearthing, at Nippur, of a small building or shrine, between two great temples, an altar was found in the eastern doorway.

It is to be borne in mind that many early temples in Babylonia, as in Mesopotamia, in Egypt, in Mexico, Central America, and Peru, and in the South Sea Islands, were in the form of a stepped pyramid, or a staged tower, with either inclined planes or stairways from each lower stage to the next higher, and with an altar, or a sanctuary or shrine, at the summit.[317] Herodotus, describing one of these temples in Babylon, says that the altars, larger and smaller, were outside the temple.[318]

Light is thrown on the dream of Jacob at Bethel by the shape of the ancient temple in the East. In his vision it was probably not a ladder, but a conventional stepped-temple structure, with its stairways rising heavenward, and its sanctuary, that Jacob saw.[319] The angel ministers were passing up and down the steps, in the service of the Most High God, who himself appeared above the structure. When Jacob waked he said: “Surely the Lord is in this place [or sanctuary]; and I knew it not.... How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven;” and he took the stone which had been his pillow at the threshold of that sanctuary, and set it up for an altar pillar.[320]

In the literature and legends of Babylonia, as of other portions of the ancient world, there is prominent the idea that an entrance into the life beyond this, as in the entrance into this life, the crossing of a threshold from the one world to the other, from the earlier state and the passing of a door, or gate, marks the change to the later, from the sacred to the more sacred. This is peculiarly illustrated in the famous legend of Ishtar’s descent into the under-world in order to bring back to earth her lover Dumuzi.

The Hades of the Babylonians was surrounded by seven high walls, and was approached through seven gates, each of which was guarded by a pitiless warder. Two deities ruled within it–Nergal, “the lord of the great city,” and Beltis-Allat, “the lady of the great land,”–whither everything which had breathed in this world descended after death. Allat was the actual sovereign of the country; and even the gods themselves could enter her realm only on the condition of submitting to death, like mortals, and of humbly avowing themselves her slaves.[321] “The threshold of Allat’s palace stood upon a spring, which had the property of restoring to life all who bathed in it or drank of its waters.” Yet it was needful that another life should be given for one who would be reborn into this life, after crossing the threshold of the regions beyond.[322]

In the descent of the goddess Ishtar into Allat’s realm, in pursuit of her lover Dumuzi, Ishtar was gradually stripped of her garments and adornings at the successive gates, until she appeared naked, as at birth, at the final threshold of the new state.[323] But she was held captive by Allat until Ea, chief among the gods, exerted himself in her behalf, and sent his messenger to secure for both Ishtar and Dumuzi the waters of life which were underneath the threshold of Allat’s realm,–which must be broken in order to their outflowing.[324]

There would seem to be a reference to this primitive idea of the waters of life flowing from under the threshold of the temple, in the vision of the prophet Ezekiel, writing in Babylonia, concerning restored Jerusalem and its holy temple. “Behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward, for the forefront of the house was toward the east: and the waters came down from under, from the right side of the house, on the south of the altar.” (Evidently the altar in this temple was near the threshold.) These flowing waters from under the threshold were life-giving. “Upon the bank of the river,” as it swelled in its progress, “were very many trees on the one side and on the other;” and it was said of this stream: “It shall come to pass, that every living creature which swarmeth, in every place whither the rivers come, shall live; and there shall be a very great multitude of fish: for these waters are come thither, ... and every thing shall live whithersoever the river cometh.”[325] In a curse pronounced against Assyria by the prophet Zephaniah, it was declared that “drought shall be in the thresholds,”[326] instead of life-giving waters.

So, again, the waters of the life-giving Jordan flow out from the threshold of the grotto of Pan, a god of life.[327] And both at the beginning of the Old Testament, and at the close of the New, the waters of life start from the sanctuary of the Author of life.[328]

This Dumuzi of Babylonia has linkings with Tammuz of Syria, with Osiris of Egypt, and with Adonis of Greece, and there are correspondences in all these legends in the references to the door and the threshold of the under-world and the life beyond. Thus, for instance, the Lord’s prophet counts as most heinous of all idolatries the transfer of the weeping worship of Tammuz from the door in the hole of the temple wall to the door of the temple sanctuary.[329]

At the right hand of the entrance of the larger temple unearthed at Nineveh by Layard, a sculptured image of the Assyrian king, with his arm uplifted, was on a doorway stele just outside. And an altar for offerings was in front of that image. Altars

were found similarly situated, just outside the doorway, in a smaller temple in the same region.[330]

An exceptional reverence is shown to the doorway and threshold of their sanctuary, or temple, by the sect of the Yezidis, in the neighborhood of ancient Nineveh, at the present time. Describing an evening service which he attended, Layard says: “When the prayers were ended, those who marched in procession kissed, as they passed by, the right side of the doorway leading into the temple, where a serpent is figured on the wall.” Again, “Soon after sunrise, on the following morning, the sheikhs and cawals offered up a short prayer in the court of the temple.... Some prayed in the sanctuary, frequently kissing the threshold and holy places within the building.”[331]

When the sacred ark of the Hebrews was captured by the Philistines, and brought into the house of the god Dagon, the record is: “When they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands lay cut off upon the threshold.” It is added, in our present Bible text: “Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon’s house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod, unto this day.”[332]

It would seem, from the words “unto this day,” that this added statement was a gloss by a later writer or copyist. The original force of the wonder was in Dagon’s being overthrown at his very shrine, falling maimed on the threshold altar of his temple. But the suggestion of the gloss is that the unwillingness of the Philistines to tread on the threshold of the temple (which appears to have been of primitive origin) did not exist among the worshipers of Dagon prior to this incident. The Septuagint adds,[333] concerning the later practice of the Philistines at the threshold, “because leaping they leap over it.”

Leaping over the threshold is at times spoken of in the Bible as if it had a taint of idolatry. Thus Zephaniah, foretelling, in the name of the Lord, the divine judgments on idolaters, says: “In that day I will punish all those that leap over the threshold.”[334] This is explained in the Targum as “those that walk in the customs of the Philistines.” Yet the Bible sometimes refers to the temple threshold as a fitting place of worship, and its recognition as a holy altar as commendable.

Ezekiel prophesies that the restored Prince of Israel “shall worship at the threshold of the gate”[335] of the Lord’s house; and he sees, in vision, “the glory of the Lord ... over the threshold of the house.”[336] Again the Lord complains of the profanation of his temple by idolaters “in their setting of their threshold by my threshold, and their door-post beside my door-post, and there was but the wall between me and them.”[337]

That it was the threshold or doorway of the tabernacle which was counted sacred, is evident from the wording of the Levitical laws concerning the offering of blood in sacrifices. “This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, saying, What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it without the camp, and hath not brought it unto the door of the tent of meeting, to offer it as an oblation unto the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord: blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people: to the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they sacrifice in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the Lord, unto the door of the tent of meeting, unto the priest, and sacrifice them for sacrifices of peace offerings unto the Lord. And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the Lord at the door of the tent of meeting, and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the Lord.... Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, that offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice, and bringeth it not unto the door of the tent of meeting, to sacrifice it unto the Lord; even that man shall be cut off from his people.”[338]

It was at the doorway of the tent of meeting that Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the holy priesthood;[339] and it was there that the bullock was sacrificed, and its blood was poured out as an offering at the base of the altar.[340] It was at the doorway of that tent, above the threshold, that the pillar of cloud descended in token of the Lord’s presence, when Moses met the Lord there in loving communion, while the people stood watching from the doorways of their own tents.[341] The altar of burnt offering, at the base or foundation of which the blood of the offerings was outpoured, was itself at the doorway of the tent of meeting, and he who offered a sacrifice to the Lord offered it at that threshold.[342]

A post of honor in the temple was as a guardian of the threshold, as was also the place of a keeper of the gate. In the assignment of the priests and Levites to service, by Jehoiada the priest, in the days of Athaliah, a third part of them were in attendance at the “threshold,” and a third part “at the gate of the foundation.”[343] Later, in the days of Josiah and Hilkiah, the guardians of the threshold had the care of the money collected for the repairs of the Lord’s house.[344] And a keeper of the threshold, or of the door, of the house of God, was always mentioned with honor.[345] When the Psalmist contrasts the house of God with the tents of wickedness, he speaks of the honor of a post at the temple threshold, not of the humble place of a temple janitor, when he says:

“For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand [elsewhere].
I had rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God,
Than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.”[346]

In the Temple at Jerusalem, the altar of burnt offering was before the threshold of the Holy Place; and those who came with sacrifices must stop at that threshold, and proffer the blood of their offering to the priests, who then reverently poured it out at the altar-threshold’s base.[347]

When offerings were accepted for the repairs of the temple, in the days of Jehoash, king of Judah, it is said that “Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of the Lord. And the priests that kept [or guarded] the threshold put therein all the money that was brought into the house of the Lord.”[348] This would seem to decide the position of the altar as at the threshold, where “one cometh into the house of the Lord.”

An altar stood at the doorway, or before the door, of temples of later date in Phenicia and Phrygia, as shown on contemporary medals and coins.[349] And so in temples in other lands.

Among the early Christian remains unearthed in Asia Minor are indications of the former position of an altar on the threshold of a sanctuary. At the site of ancient Aphrodisias, “some of the sarcophagi of the Byzantine age are richly wrought, and although many are of Christian date, they appear to have retained the pagan devices.” At the end of one of these sarcophagi “appears an altar burning in front of a door,” standing indeed on the very threshold.[350]

An oath of peculiar sacredness among Hindoos is at the threshold of a temple, as at its primal altar. “Is a man accused of a great crime? He goes to the temple [threshold], makes his prostrations; he pauses, then steps over it, declaring at the same time that he is not guilty of the crime laid to his charge. It is therefore very common to ask a person who denies anything that he is suspected to have done, ‘Will you step over the threshold of the temple?’”[351]

Among the stories told in India of judgments at the temple threshold, is one of a thieving goldsmith, who had secreted himself in a pagoda of Vishnoo, in order to take from the sacred image one of its jewel eyes. Having obtained the precious stone, he waited for the opening of the pagoda doors in the morning, in order to escape with his booty. But as he attempted to cross the threshold, when the door was opened, he was stricken with death by Vishnoo “at the very threshold.”[352] Justice was administered at the very seat of justice.

Bloody sacrifices are still known at the temple thresholds in India, notwithstanding the prejudice of Hindoos against the shedding of blood. Within recent times an English gentleman, in an official position in India, discovered a decapitated child at the very door of a celebrated pagoda; and an investigation showed that a father had there sacrificed his son to avert an impending evil.[353]

When a famous idol was destroyed in the temple of Somnauth, during the Muhammadan conquest of India, pieces of the shattered image were sent by the conquerors to the mosks of Meccah, Medina, and Ghuznee, to be thrown down at the thresholds of their gates, there to be trodden under foot by devout and zealous Mussulmans.[354] The accursed idol fragments might be trampled on at the threshold, even while the threshold itself was counted sacred.

In Muhammadan mosks generally the threshold is counted sacred. Across the threshold proper, at the beginning of the sacred portion of the interior, “is a low barrier, a few inches high.”[355] Before this barrier the worshiper stops, removes his shoes, and steps over it, with the right foot first. In some smaller mosks a rod above the outer door-sill stands for this barrier.

Describing his visit to one of the mosks in Persia, Morier says: “Here we remarked the veneration of the Persians for the threshold of a holy place.... Before they ventured to cross it, they knelt down and kissed it, whilst they were very careful not to touch it with their feet.”[356]

On the tomb of the kings of Persia, at Com, the inscription appears: “Happy and glorious the believing one who in reverence bows his head upon the threshold of this gate, in imitation of the sun and moon.[357] All that he will ask with faith in this gate, shall be as the arrow that reaches the mark.”[358] And on the tomb of Alee, son-in-law of Muhammad and one of his successors, there stands the declaration: “The angel messenger of the truth, Gabriel, kisses every day the threshold of thy gate; for that is the only way by which one can come to the throne of Muhammad.”[359]

Even among Christians in this primitive region, this reverence for the threshold as the earliest altar of the temple and the church manifests itself in various ways. Dr. Grant, an American missionary, tells of seeing the Nestorian Christians kissing the threshold of the church on entering the sanctuary for the Lord’s Day service.[360]

At Baveddeen, near Bokhara, is the tomb of Baha-ed-deen Nakishbend, the national saint of Turkestan, which is a place of pilgrimage second only to the tomb of Muhammad. “In the front of the tomb,” as a threshold, “is the famous senghi murad,” the “stone of desire,” “which has been tolerably ground away, and made smooth, by the numerous foreheads of pious pilgrims that have been rubbed upon it.”[361]

A peculiar sacrifice in Tibet is the disemboweling of a devotee in the presence of a great multitude, as an act of worship. An altar on which this act is performed is erected for the occasion “in front of the temple gate.”[362]

In the more sacred shrines of Japan and Korea, Shinto or Booddhist temples, pilgrim worshipers are permitted to go no farther than the threshold of the inner sanctuary. There they may deposit their offerings and may prostrate themselves in prayer, but they cannot pass beyond.

At Kitzuki, “the most ancient shrine of Japan,” multitudes of pilgrims gather for worship. They are coming and going ceaselessly, but all pause before the threshold of the inner sanctuary. “None enter there: all stand before the dragon-swarming doorway, and cast their offerings into the money-chest placed before the threshold; many making contributions of small coin, the very poorest throwing only a handful of rice into the box. Then they clap their hands, and bow their heads before the threshold, and reverently gaze through the hall of prayer at the loftier edifice, the holy of holies beyond it. Each pilgrim remains but a little while, and claps his hands but four times; yet so many are coming and going that the sound of the clapping is like the sound of a cataract.”[363] The same is true of “the great Shrines of Isé, chief Mecca of the Shintō faith,”[364] of those of famous Nikkō, and of other centers of worship.[365]


The oldest temple discovered in Egypt is little more than a doorway with an altar at its threshold, and with a stele on either side of the altar. This temple is near the base of the stepped pyramid of Meydoom, dating back probably to the beginning of the fourth dynasty.[366]

Later, in Egypt, as in early Babylonia, the doorway, above the threshold, had peculiar sacredness, in the temples and in the approaches to the under-world. The pylon, or propylon, of an Egyptian temple, was a monumental gateway before the temple, and exalted honor attached to it. It frequently gave its name to the entire temple.[367] The side towers of this gateway are said to have represented Isis and Nephthys, and the door itself between these towers stood for Osiris, the judge of the living and the dead.[368]

There was indeed a temple in Thebes which bore the name of “Silver Threshold.” This temple “is mentioned in the time of the twenty-first dynasty; and it cannot have been earlier than the eighteenth dynasty, when silver was growing cheaper in Egypt.”[369] But the prominence of the “threshold” in the designation of the “temple” is aside from the question of the time of the use of silver.

“The winged sun disk was placed above all the doors into the temples, that the image of Horus might drive away all unclean spirits from the sacred building.”[370] These overshadowing wings marked the special sacredness of the doors beneath them.

When an Egyptian priest opened the door of the shrine–the holy of holies of the temple–he must prostrate himself at the threshold in reverent worship. “According to the Theban rite, ... as soon as he saw the image of the god he had to ‘kiss the ground, throw himself on his face, throw himself entirely on his face, kiss the ground with his face turned downward, offer incense,’ and then greet the god with a short petition.”[371] This priestly worship was at the threshold of the shrine.

The Egyptian idea of the future life, and of the world beyond this, had marked correspondences with the Babylonian. Osiris presided over the under-world, as, indeed, he was the chief object of worship in this.[372] He had been slain in a conflict with evil, and in his new life he was the friend and helper of those who struggled against evil.[373] He was in a peculiar sense the door of the life beyond this, “Osiris, opening the ways of the two worlds;”[374] and those who passed that door safely were identified with himself in the under-world.[375]

A closed door toward the west, in a tomb, represented the deceased on his way to Osiris.[376] And as shown in the “Book of the Dead” the approach to Osiris was by a series of doors, which could be passed only by one who showed his identification with Osiris, and his worthiness as such.[377] At the entrance to the Hall of the Two Truths, or of the Two-fold Maāt,[378] as the place of final judgment, the deceased was challenged by the threshold of the door, by the two side-posts, by the lock, by the key, and by the door itself; and he could not pass these unless he proved his oneness with Osiris by his knowledge of their names severally.[379]

A saint’s tomb, called a wely, is a common place of worship in Egypt. Sometimes a mosk is built over it, and sometimes it serves as a substitute for a mosk, where no mosk is near. “At least one such building forms a conspicuous object close by, or within, almost every Arab village;” and these tombs are frequently visited by those who would make supplication for themselves, or intercession for others, or who would do a worthy act, and merit a correspondent blessing. “Many a visitor, on entering the tomb, kisses the threshold, or touches it with his right hand, which he then kisses.”[380] Similar customs prevail in Arabia and Syria.

At Carthage, which was a Phenician colony but which impressed its character on northern Africa, the chief temple gave prominence to the threshold, rising in steps as an altar before a statue of the Queen of Heaven. Virgil, describing the arrival of Æneas at the court of Queen Dido, says:

“There stood a grove within the city’s midst,
Delicious for its shade; where when they came
First to this place, by waves and tempest tossed,
The Carthaginians from the earth dug up
An omen royal Juno had foretold
That they should find, a noble horse’s head;
Thus intimating that this race would shine,
Famous in war, and furnished with supplies
For ages. Here the great Sidonian queen
A temple built to Juno, rich in gifts,
And in the presence of the goddess blessed.
A brazen threshold rose above the steps,[381]
With brazen posts connecting, and the hinge
Creaked upon brazen doors.”[382]

The churches of Abyssinia always stand on a hill, and in a grove–like the temple at Carthage. “When you go to the church you put off your shoes before your first entering the outer precinct.... At entry, you kiss the threshold and two door-posts, go in and say what prayer you please; that finished you come out again, and your duty is over.”[383]

The yard of an Abyssinian church has been compared to “the lucus or sacred grove of the pagan temple.” “The church itself is square, and built of stone with beams stuck in to support them. At the porch, the wooden lintels, which the pious kiss with intense earnestness,–in fact, kissing the walls and lintels of a church is a great feature in Abyssinian devotion, so much so that, instead of speaking of ‘going to church,’ they say ‘kissing the church,’–are carved with quaint and elaborate devices.”[384]

At Yeha, near Aksum, are the remains of a ruined temple, within the area of which a church was at one time built. “In front of the vestibule stood two rude monoliths, at the base of one of which is an altar with a circular disk on it, presumably, from the analogy of those at Aksum, for receiving the blood of slaughtered victims.” Obviously, the altar of this temple was at its threshold.

Marriages are said to be celebrated in Abyssinia at the church door–the wedding covenant being thus made before the threshold altar.[385]

And so in the earlier temples of Egypt, of Carthage, and of Abyssinia, and in Christian and Muhammadan places of worship, the doorway is held sacred, and, most of all, the threshold, or “floor of the door.”


Traces of the primitive sacredness of the doorway and the threshold, in places of worship, are to be found in Europe, ancient and modern, as in Asia and Africa.

The term “threshold” occurs in such prominence in connection with temples, in the earliest Greek literature, as to show that its primitive meaning included the idea of altar, or of sanctuary foundation. Thus the House of Zeus on Olympus is repeatedly spoken of as the “House of the Bronze Threshold.”[386] In these references, “the nature of the occurrences, the uniformity of the phrase, the position of the words in the verse, all point to this as an old hieratic phrase, and the meaning evidently is, ‘the house that is stablished forever.’”[387]

This term “bronze threshold” occurs more than once in reference to the temple-palace of Alcinoüs.[388] Tartarus is described as having gates of iron and a “bronze threshold.”[389] Night and day meet as they cross the “great threshold of bronze;” and Atlas upholds heaven at the threshold of the under-world.[390]

The treasures of Delphi are described as “within the stone threshold of the archer god, Phoebus Apollo, in Rocky Pytho.”[391] And he who seeks counsel at that oracle is spoken of as one who crosses “the stone threshold.”[392]

In Sophocles’ “Oedipus at Colonus” the Athenian warns the stranger Oedipus that he is on holy ground, in the realm of Poseidon, and that the spot where he now treads is “called the brazen threshold of the land, the stay of Athens.”[393] In other words, the bronze threshold is an archaic synonym for the enduring border, or outer limit, of spiritual domain.

This prominence given to the threshold in earlier Greek literature is not, it is true, continued in later writings; yet there are traces of it still in occasional poetic references to the “threshold of life,” and the “threshold of the year,” and the “threshold of old age.” When Homer refers “to houses, to rooms in houses, or to courtyards, the ‘threshold’ is constantly spoken of: a man steps over a threshold, stands at a threshold, sits at a threshold, etc. And so important is the threshold that its material is almost regularly mentioned; it is ash, oak, stone, bronze, etc. In later times all these locutions disappear; men go through doorways, enter, stand in porches, etc., instead.”[394] Yet it is the archaic use that points to the primitive prominence of the threshold.

In historic times, however, as in earlier, the altar of sacrifice was to be found, in Grecian and Roman temples, near the threshold of the door. While there were smaller altars, for the offering of incense and bloodless sacrifices, in the interior of temples, the larger and more important altars, for the offering of animal sacrifices, whether of beasts or of men, were before the temple, in front of the threshold,–bomoi pronaoi.[395]

A ruined temple of Artemis Propylæa, at Eleusis, shows the main altar immediately before the threshold, between the antæ. The altar of the temple of Apollo at Delphi was in a like position; as shown in the fact that “when Neoptolemus is attacked by Orestes in the vestibule of the temple at Delphi, he seizes the arms which were suspended by means of nails or pins from one of the antæ, takes his station upon the altar, and addresses the people in his own defense.”[396]

When the “priest of Jupiter, whose temple was before the city” of Lystra, would have given divine honors to Paul and Barnabas, he brought the garlanded oxen “unto the gates,” to sacrifice them there. At the gate of the city, within which the supposed gods were to be found, seemed the proper place of sacrifice.[397]

There are references in classic story, as in Babylonian legends, in Phenician and Syrian beliefs, and in the Hebrew prophetic visions, to life-giving waters flowing out from under the threshold of the sanctuary. In the garden of the palace-temple of Alcinoüs “are two springs, the one ripples through the whole garden, the other opposite it gushes under the threshold of the courtyard to the lofty house, and from it the citizens draw their water.”[398] On “the apple-growing shores of the Hesperides,” where Atlas upholds “the holy threshold of heaven,” according to the poets, “springs of ambrosia pour from the chamber of Zeus, from his bedside,” and give a rich blessing to the life-giving earth.[399] And of Delphi it is said: “Going toward the temple we come upon the spring Cassotis: there is a low wall about it, and you ascend to the spring through the walls. The water of this Cassotis they say sinks underground, and in the shrine of the god [Apollo] makes the woman prophetic [is inspiration to her.]”[400]

In the early churches of Europe, the threshold marked a sacred boundary of the edifice, to cross which indicated a certain covenant right to participate in the privileges of the house of God. As the structure of the churches changed, in the progress of the centuries, the threshold of the sanctuary came to be in a different portion of the building, or series of buildings; but its sacredness remained, wherever it was supposed to be. The term “altar” also changed, from the border line of the place of worship, to the holy table within the sanctuary.

Speaking of the growth of the early church buildings, Bingham says: “In the strictest sense, including only the buildings within the walls, they were commonly divided into three parts: (1.) The narthex or ante-temple, where the penitents and catechumens stood. (2.) The naos or temple, where the communicants had their respective places. And (3.) the bēma or sanctuary, where the clergy stood to officiate at the altar. But in a larger sense there was another ante-temple or narthex without the walls, under which was comprised the propylæa, or vestibulum, the outward porch; then the atrium or area, the court leading from that to the temple, surrounded with porticos or cloisters.... There were also several exedræ, such as the baptistery, the diaconicum, the pastophoria, and other adjacent buildings, which were reckoned to be either without or within the church, according as it was taken in a stricter or a larger acceptation.”[401]

In the early churches, the place of baptism was outside of the church proper, or the naos, it is said. “There is nothing more certain than that for many ages the baptistery was a distinct place from the body of the church, and reckoned among the exedræ, or places adjoining to the church.”[402] “The first ages all agreed in this, that, whether they had baptisteries or not, the place of baptism was always without the church.”[403] Even in mediæval times, in the churches of England, baptisms were on the outer side of the threshold of the church proper, “the child being held without the doors of the church”[404] until baptized. In many churches of Europe at the present time the baptismal font is at or near the door of the church.

In 1661, a formal reply of the Church of England bishops to a request of the Presbyterians that the font might be placed before the congregation, that all might see it, was: “The font usually stands, as it did in primitive times, at or near the church door, to signify that baptism was the entrance into the church mystical.”[405]

Marriages, like baptisms, were at the church porch or outside of the threshold. “The old missals direct the placing of the man and the woman at the church door during the service, and that at the end of it they shall proceed within up to the altar.”[406] The idea would seem to be that a holy covenant like marriage, which is the foundation of a new family, must be solemnized at the primitive family altar,–the threshold.

Describing the marriage rites of Germany in the middle ages, Baring-Gould says: “In a Ritual of Rennes, of the eleventh century, we find a rubric to this effect: ‘The priest shall go before the door of the church in surplice and stole, and ask the bridegroom and bride prudently whether they desire to be legally united; and then he shall make the parents give her away, according to the usual custom, and the bridegroom shall fix the dower, announcing before all present what (witthum) he intends to give the bride. Then the priest shall make him betroth her with a ring, and give her an honorarium of gold or silver according to his means. Then let him give the prescribed benediction. After which, entering into the church, let him begin mass; and let the bridegroom and bride hold lighted candles, and make an oblation at the offertory; and before the Pax let the priest bless them before the altar under a pall or other covering [the wedding canopy], according to custom; and lastly, let the bridegroom receive the kiss of peace from the priest, and pass it on to his bride.’”[407]

“In ancient times the people of France were married, not within the church at the altar as now, but at the outer door. This was the case in 1599, in which year Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry II., was married to Philip II. of Spain; and the Bishop of Paris performed the ceremony at the door of the cathedral of Notre Dame. Another instance of this kind occurred in 1599 in France. Henrietta Maria was married to King Charles by proxy at the door of Notre Dame, and the bride, as soon as the ceremony was over entered the church, and assisted at [attended] mass.”[408]

“The pre-Reformation rule was to begin the marriage service at the door of the church. In his ‘Wyf of Bathe,’ Chaucer [in the days of Edward III.] refers to this custom:–

‘Housbandes atte chirche dore I have had fyve.’

This old usage was abandoned by authority in the time of Edward VI. Yet there is reason for thinking that it was not entirely given up. “There is a poem of Herrick’s, written about 1640, which is entitled, ‘The Entertainment or Porch Verse at the Marriage of Mr. Hen. Northly.’”[409]

“When Edward I. married Marguerite of France, in 1299, he endowed her at the door of Canterbury Cathedral.” Selden declares that “dower could be lawfully assigned only at the door;” and Littleton affirms to the same effect.[410]

“At Witham in Essex it is, or was, the custom to perform the first part of the marriage service at the font [near the door]. When the Rev. A. Snell was appointed to the benefice in 1873, he spoke to a bridegroom about this usage, and he (the bridegroom) particularly requested that he might be married at the font, as he liked old customs.”[411]

Another survival of the primitive rite of threshold covenanting seems to be shown in certain customs observed in various parts of Europe, which look like the substitution of an altar-stone for a threshold altar, in the marriage ceremony.

“Thus in the old temple of Upsal [in Sweden], wedding couples stood upon a broad stone which was believed to cover the tomb of St. Eric.”[412] Corresponding customs in other regions would go to show that the earlier practice was to leap over the stone, as a mode of threshold covenanting, instead of standing on it. The latter was a change without a reason for it.

For instance, just outside “the ruined church, or abbey, of Lindisfarne, is the socket or foot-stone, in which was mortised a ponderous stone cross, erected by Ethelwold, and broken down by the Danes. This socket stone is now called the “petting stone,” and whenever a marriage is solemnized in the neighborhood, after the ceremony the bride is obliged to step upon it; and if she cannot stride to the end thereof, the marriage is deemed likely to prove unfortunate and fruitless.” While this would seem to point to the custom of standing upon the stone, in the modern marriage customs of the same region, a barrier is “erected at the churchyard gate, consisting of a large paving-stone which was placed on its edge and supported by two smaller stones. On either side stood a villager, who made the couple and every one else jump over it.”[413]

“In Lantevit Major Church was a stone called the ‘marriage stone,’ with many knots and flourishes, and the head of a person upon it, and this inscription:

Ne Petra calcetur
Qu[a]e subjacet ista tuetur,

Brides usually stood upon this stone at their marriages.”[414] Yet the inscription itself:

“Let not the stone be trodden upon;
What it lies under, it guards,”

forbids standing upon this threshold altar; and it is probable that in earlier times it was stepped over in marriage covenant, and not upon.

At Belford, in Northumberland, it is still the custom to make the bridal pair, with their attendants, leap over a stone placed in their path outside the church porch. This stone also is called the “petting stone,” or the “louping stone.” At the neighboring village of Embleton, in the same county, two stout young lads place a wooden bench across the door of the church porch, and assist the bride and groom and their attendants to surmount the obstacle; for which assistance a gift of money is expected. In some places a stick has been held by the groomsmen at the church door for the bride to jump over. And again a stool has been placed at the churchyard gate, over which the whole bridal party must jump one by one; and this stool has been called the “parting-stool.”[415]

A “mode of marriage” current in Ireland, until recent times, was that of jumping over a form of the cross;[416] and jumping over a broomstick as a form of marriage would seem to be a survival of this custom of leaping across the threshold-stone, in token of a covenant. “Jumping the broomstick” is sometimes spoken of as an equivalent of marriage.

These various obstacles to progress, at wedding time, would seem to be as suggestions of the threshold altar, which must be passed in the marriage covenant. The church threshold, like the home threshold, is a temporary hindrance to an advance. Unless it is stepped across, the covenant is incomplete.

An illustration of the popular idea of the sacredness of the church threshold, and of the impropriety of stepping on it, in its passing, is found in a Finnish mode of judging a clergyman. “In Finland, it is regarded as unlucky if a clergyman steps on the threshold, when he comes to preach at a church.” A writer on this subject says: “A Finnish friend told me of one of his relations going to preach at a church, a few years ago,–he being a candidate for the vacant living,–and the people most anxiously watched if he stepped on the threshold as he came in. Had he done so, I fear a sermon never so eloquent would have counted but little against so dire an omen.”[417] Here is a new peril for pulpit candidates, if this primitive test becomes widely popular!

Even to the present time, it is customary, in portions of Europe, for Jews to rub their fingers on the posts of a synagogue doorway, and then kiss their fingers. Quite an indentation in the stone at the door of the synagogue in Worms is to be seen, as due to this constant sacred rubbing.[418]


In the West, as in the East, traces of the primitive sacredness of the threshold and the doorway are to be found. The stepped pyramid, or uplifted threshold, with the sanctuary at its summit, was the earliest form of temple or place of worship in Mexico, and in Central and South America. In the later and more elaborate temples there was no altar within the building, although an image of the god was there.

The altar, or stone of sacrifice, was without, before the door of the sanctuary.[419] When a sacrifice was offered on the altar, the blood of that sacrifice was smeared on the doors of the temple of the god.[420] Human sacrifices were included in these offerings, in earlier times.[421] Even when larger temples were erected, and altars were enclosed within them, human victims were brought to the temple entrance into the hands of the priests; and from the threshold they were borne by the priests themselves, to be laid on the altar.[422]

Among the Pipiles, a Maya people, in Central America, there were “two principal and very solemn sacrifices; one at the commencement of summer, and the other at the beginning of winter.” Little boys, from six to twelve years old, were the victims of sacrifice. At the sound of trumpets and drums, which assembled the people, four priests came out of the temple with braziers of coals on which incense was burning, and after various ceremonies and religious exercises they proceeded to the house of the high-priest, near the temple, and took from it the boy victim of the sacrifice. He was then conducted four times round the court of the temple, with dancing and singing.

When this ceremony was finished, the high-priest came out of his house with the second priest and his major-domo, and they proceeded to the temple steps, accompanied by the principal men of the locality, who, however, stopped at the threshold of the temple. Then and there the four priests “seized the victim by his extremities, and the major-domo coming out, with little bells on his wrists and ankles, opened the left breast of the boy, tore out his heart, and handed it to the high-priest, who put it into a little embroidered purse, which he closed.”

The blood of the victim was received by the priests in a vessel made of a gourd, and was by them sprinkled in the direction of the four cardinal points. Then the heart, in its purse, was put back into the body of the victim, and the body itself was interred inside of the temple. This sacrifice, at the threshold altar, was performed at the threshold, or the beginning, of each of the two chief seasons of the year.[423]

In the temples of Central America, generally, the doorway was hardly less prominent than in the temples of Egypt. There were massive decorations on and above the lintels; the door jams were richly sculptured; and there were male and female figures, or figures of animals, as guardians on either side of the entrance. In some instances a winged globe was above the door; and the uplifted hand was found over the doorway or at the sides.[424]

Among the Natchez Indians, along the lower Mississippi, there was an annual “Harvest Festival,” or “Festival of New Fire,” which was celebrated with great ceremony. An altar was in front of the temple, just before the door. On this occasion the priest of the sun stood on the threshold of the temple in the early morning, watching for the first rays of the rising sun. The chiefs, and braves old and young, stood near the altar. The women with infants in their arms stood in a semicircle facing the priest. When he gave the signal of his recognition of the sun, by rubbing two pieces of wood to start a new fire for the altar, they faced about to the east and held up their infants to the sun. Other exercises of worship followed. The priest’s place in this ceremony was on the threshold, before the altar of that temple.[425]

In America, as in the other continents, there are survivals of the primal sacredness of the threshold of a place of public worship, in the formal ceremonies attending the laying of the corner-stone, or threshold-stone, of a new church building of any denomination; and in the use of holy water at the doorway on entering Roman Catholic churches. More or less importance is attached in Protestant Episcopal churches to the location of the baptismal font near the door, and to the beginning of the marriage service before the bridal party approaches the threshold of the sanctuary proper.

If indeed, there be found no trace of the fountain of life flowing from under the threshold sanctuary of the gods worshiped by the aborigines of America, such a fountain was searched for in this land by Ponce de Leon and his followers.


There is a certain resemblance in the plan of some of the temples of the South Sea Islands to those of Central America. A stepped pyramid in a large court was the central shrine; “in front of which the images were kept, and the altars fixed.”[426] In both cases the altars were outside of the shrine,–at its threshold, as it were. A method of sacrificing was by bleeding a pig to death before the altar, “washing the carcass with the blood, and then placing it in a crouching position on the altar.”[427] An uplifted hand was one of the symbols on these stepped pyramid shrines.[428] The temple foundation, or the threshold of the sacred building, was formerly laid in human blood.[429]

A recognition of the threshold, in a sacred service, and in a form of covenanting, is found in the ceremonies of circumcision as observed in Madagascar. This rite is not at infancy, as among the Jews, but is at the threshold of young manhood. Its period is fixed by the king, who, on “an application from the parents or the friends of any number of children in a given province, appoints a time, and orders the observance of the rite.” He is the “high-priest on this occasion.” The rite marks the transition of the boy from his dependence on his parents to his personal service of the king, as a member of the community.

Holy water is brought from a distance to the house of the master of ceremonies, as the sanctuary for the occasion. A sheep is killed immediately before this house, and the boys are caused to step across its blood. This sacrifice is called “fahazza,” or “causing fruitfulness,” and it is supposed to be the means of causing fruitfulness in all the women who obtain a share of it.

A tree is planted at the northeast corner of the house, and a lamp is fixed on it. Honey and water are poured upon the tree, and the boys partake of this mixture. The next day the persons present walk three times round the house, with various ceremonies, and then stop at the doorway. The rite of circumcision is performed on each boy as he sits on a drum at “the threshold of the door,” held firmly by several men. The knife with which it is performed is previously dipped in the blood of a young bullock, an ear of which is slit by the operator. A covenant of fealty to the king is entered into by the youth on this occasion. Sacrifices and feasting follow this ceremony.[430]

One of the ancient gods of Maui, an island of Hawaii, was Keoroeva. “In all the temples dedicated to its worship, the image was placed within the inner apartment, on the left-hand side of the door; and immediately before it stood the altar, on which the offerings of every kind were usually placed.”[431] The altar was at the doorway, in this case, as so generally elsewhere. Tiha was a female idol, as Keoroeva was a male, and much “the same homage and offerings” were given to her as to him.[432]

In Kohala, one of the large divisions of Hawaii, stood a prominent temple called Bukohōla, built by King Kamehameha, at the time of his conquest of the Sandwich Islands. “At the south end of this great edifice was a kind of inner court, which might be called the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, where the principal idol used to stand, surrounded by a number of images of inferior deities.” “On the outside, near the entrance to the inner court [at the threshold of the sanctum sanctorum] was the place of the rere [or lélé] (altar), on which human and other sacrifices were offered.”[433]

Human victims were ordinarily slain in sacrifice outside of the sanctuary proper, and then their bodies, carefully preserved whole, were taken within to be presented to the idol.[434]

There were Hawaiian cities of refuge, or puhonuas, as sanctuaries for guilty fugitives. A thief, or a murderer, might be pursued to the very gateway of one of those cities, but as soon as he crossed the threshold of that gate, even though the gate were open, and no barrier hindered pursuit, he was safe, as at the city altar. When once within the sacred city, the fugitive’s first duty was to present himself before the idol, and return thanks for his protection.[435] This was substantially the Hebrew law as to the cities of refuge.[436] Safety was only within the threshold.

There are traces of the primitive idea of a spring of life-giving waters flowing from under the threshold of the goddess of life, in the Islands of the Sea. According to the myths of that region, Vari, or “The-very-beginning” of life was a woman. She plucked off a piece of her right side and it became a man, or part man and part fish, known as Vātea, or Avatea. From the under-world there came to Vātea a supernatural woman called Papa, or Foundation. From this union the human race began. Rongo was the first-born son. The Hades of Polynesia is Avaika, or Hawaika. In the days of Rongo, and later, there was an opening from earth to Avaika; but because of the misdoings of the denizens of that realm, coming up through that passage-way, Tiki, a lovely woman, a descendant of Rongo, “rolled herself alive down into the gloomy opening, which immediately closed upon her.” She was the first to die. And now “Tiki sits at the threshold” of her home below, to welcome the descendants of Rongo, who bring her an offering. A sacred stream of water, “Vairorongo,” comes up from below into the sacred grove devoted to the worship of Rongo, and near that stream it is possible for a spirit to be returned to life and to a home on earth again.[437]

It is obvious that the idea of the sacredness of the threshold, in home, in temple, or in sanctuary, is not of any one time or of any one people, but is of human nature as human nature everywhere. It shows itself all the world over, and always. And it has to do with life, and its perpetuation or reproduction.


An idea tangent to, rather than identical with, the thought of the altar sacredness of the temple threshold, as found among primitive peoples, is that the first temple foundation is the foundation for all subsequent temple building at that place. And it has already been shown that the threshold, or hearthstone, or corner-stone, is considered the foundation.[438]

In ancient Babylonia a temple, however grand and extensive, was supposed to be built on the foundation of an earlier temple; the one threshold being the first threshold and the latest. If, indeed, there was a variation from the original foundation in the construction of a new temple, there was confusion and imperfectness in consequence, and the only hope of reformation was in finding the first temple threshold and rebuilding on it.

There is an illustration of this in an inscription discovered in the foundation of a temple at “Ur of the Chaldees.”[439] Nabonidus (556–538 B.C.), the last Babylonian king, tells with interest of his search for the old foundation, or outline plan, of the ancient temple, Eulbar, or, more properly, Eulmash, of the goddess Istar of Agade, as follows:[440]

The foundation of Eulmash in Agade had not been found from Sargon, king of Babylon (3800 B.C.), and Narâm-Sin, his son, kings living formerly, until the government of Nabunaʾid king of Babylon.

King Kurigalzu (II.), about 1300 B.C., had, in his reign, searched for this foundation, but had failed to find it, and he had left this record: “The foundation of Eulmash I sought, but did not find it.” Later on, Esarhaddon, king of Assyria and Babylonia (681–669 B.C.), searched for it, but without success. Again, Nebuchadrezzar (605–561 B.C.) mobilized his large armies, and ordered them to search for the foundation stone, or threshold, but all his efforts were in vain. Finally Nabunaʾid, the last king of Babylon before its fall under Cyrus, gathered his many soldiers, and ordered them to search for the foundation stone. For “three years in the tracks of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon,” says Nabunaʾid, “I sought right and left, before and behind, but did not find it.”

Encouraged by a prompting from the moon-god Sin, Nabunaʾid tried at another time and in another place, and this time with success. He found the inscription of King Shagarakti-Buriash (1350 B.C.), which tells that he had laid a new foundation exactly upon the old one of King Zabû (about 2300 B.C.). Then Nabunaʾid made sure to preserve the exact outline of the old shrine. He laid the foundation, and restored the ancient temple, so that “it did not deviate an inch to the outside or the inside.”[441]

There are indications of the same high value set upon the primal foundation of a temple in the records of ancient Egypt. A temple at its highest grandeur is in the location of a prehistoric sanctuary. “The site on which it is built is generally holy ground,[442] that is, a spot on which since the memory of man an older sanctuary of the god had stood. Even those Egyptian temples which seem most modern have usually a long history,–the edifice may have seemed very insignificant, but as the prestige of the god increased larger buildings were erected, which again, in the course of centuries, were enlarged and rebuilt in such a way that the original plan could no longer be traced. This is the history of nearly all Egyptian temples, and explains the fact that we know so little of the temples of the Old and of the Middle Empire; they have all been metamorphosed into the vast buildings of the New Empire.”[443]

While early Vedic and Brahmanic religion makes no mention of temples as such, fire from an ancestral altar was borne to a newly erected altar, in order to secure a continuance of the sacred influences issuing from that original family threshold.[444] And Vishnooism takes old temples from Booddhism for its centers of worship, prizing the old sacred foundation.

“Buddha-Gaya,” or “Bodhi-Gaya,” in Upper India, is famous as the locality of the holy pipal tree, or the Booddha-drum (“Tree of Knowledge”), under which for six years sat Sakya Sinha, in meditation, before he attained to Booddha-hood. A temple still standing on that site is supposed to have been rebuilt A.D. 1306, on the remains of one visited by Hwen Thsang, a Chinese traveler, in the seventh century of our era, which, in turn, had been built by Amara Sinha, or Amara Deva, about A.D. 500. This earlier temple is said to have been built by a command of Booddha himself conveyed in a vision, or by a command of the Brahmanical Mahâdeva, on the site of a still earlier sanctuary, or monastery, erected by Asoka between 259 and 241 B.C., on the site of Booddha’s meditations, about 300 B.C.[445] The existing temple has been called at different times “Buddha-pad” and “Vishnu-pad,” “Booddha’s foot” and “Vishnoo’s foot.”

Kuru-Kshetra, or the “Plain of Kuru,” near Delhi, India, has been deemed holy ground from time immemorial. At Thâvesar, on this plain, a temple of Siva was built on a site that was sacred long before Sivaism was known. It is even believed that the sacredness of this site runs back to the ancient times of the Rig Veda. The boundaries of this “Holy Land” are given in the great Hindoo epic, the Mahabharata. This plain is said to comprise three hundred and sixty holy shrines, each of which is erected on a foundation sacred from the times of the gods themselves.[446]

So general, in India, is this habit of building a sanctuary on an old sacred foundation, that it is said that “the erection of a mosk by a Muhammadan conqueror always implies the previous destruction of a Hindu temple.”[447] Thus a mosk erected by the emperor Altamash, A D. 1232, is supposed to have been on the foundation of a temple of the sun, built for Raja Pasupati about A.D. 300.[448] Not a new foundation, but an old one, was sought, in India, for a new temple, even to a god newly worshiped there.

Fourteen centuries before Christ, Pan-Kăng, an emperor of China, moved his capital from north of the Ho to south of it because he had ascertained that the original foundation was attempted to be laid there by his ancestor Thang in the Shing dynasty, seventeen reigns before him; hence the removal back to that first foundation would renew the blessing of Thang upon his descendants.[449]

A temple has added sacredness in China according as its foundation is on a spot originally chosen or honored by a representative of Heaven as a threshold of a place of worship. Thus Tai Shan, or the “Great Mount,” in the province of Shantung, China, is mentioned in the Shoo King, or Book of Records, as the site of the great Emperor Shun’s altar of sacrifice to Heaven, 2254 B.C., or, say, three centuries before the time of Abraham. On this holy mountain, as the earliest historic foundation of Chinese worship, “is the great rendezvous of devotees, every sect has there its temples and idols, scattered up and down its sides;” and great multitudes come thither to worship from near and far.[450]

This idea shows itself in modern discoveries among the ruins of ancient Greece. It appears that when Pericles (437 B.C.) began his building of the new Propylæa on the Acropolis, he would have cleared away the remains of such ancient sacred structures as stood within its outline. “The plan of Mnesikles the architect was very simple, and is still clear enough, though it was never fully carried out.” “That the original plan of Mnesikles had undergone modifications was long ago seen by every architect who made the Propylæa matter of serious study.” Dr. Dörpfeld thinks he has discovered how the plan was modified, and why. The enforced departure from the original plan seems to have been because that plan involved the destruction of shrines on an earlier foundation, with a threshold that might not be moved. The gate of Cimon, with its “statue of some guardian god of the gate,–it may be Hermes Propylaios himself,”–was within that outline, and also other sacred sites.

“Against such intrusion it is very likely the priesthood rose and protested, and, before even the foundations were laid, he had to give up, at least for the time, the whole of the southeast hall, and a part of the southwest wing.” This conclusion is the result of recent investigation by careful scholars, and it is in accordance with the ascertained fact that in primitive thought an original foundation for a temple or shrine is counted sacred for all time as the foundation there for such a place of worship, not to be swept away or ignored in any rebuilding or new building.[451]

When from any reason, in early Europe, an ancient shrine must be removed from its primitive foundation, it was deemed desirable to remove to the new site a portion of the foundation itself, as well as the sanctuary or altar above that foundation. Thus, for example, when Thorolf of Norway, who had charge of the temple of Thor in Mostur, removed to Iceland in A.D. 833, he took with him the temple posts and furniture “and the very earth on which the altar of that idol had been erected.” And when he landed in Iceland, Thorolf built a new temple of Thor, with an altar on the foundation which he had brought from the earlier shrine. A thousand years after this the foundation-site of that second temple was still pointed out near Hofstad, in Iceland.[452]

Bible language and narrative abound with incidental evidence of the commonness of this primitive idea. When Jacob, on his way to Haran, came to Beth-el–a House of God–he lighted on “the place” (hammaqâm) where,[453] long before, his ancestor Abraham had worshiped, as he came from Egypt by way of the Negeb.[454] And yet earlier Abraham himself, as he came a pilgrim from Haran and Ur, had there “builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord.”[455] And if that place were already known as Beth-el it must have been a sanctuary before Abraham’s day.

Moses, in the wilderness of Sinai, is told that the ground whereon he stands is “holy ground,” and that he is to bring the Hebrews out of Egypt to worship God in that mountain.[456] And the Egyptian records give reason for supposing that that region of Mt. Sinai, perhaps of the moon-god “Sin,” was known as holy ground, and as the “land of God,” or of the gods, before the days of Moses.[457]

At Jerusalem the Temple was built on Mt. Moriah, where the ark of the covenant rested after its return from Philistia,[458] and where David erected an altar to the Lord after the staying of the pestilence from Israel.[459] And it is supposed that this same Mt. Moriah was where Abraham offered a sacrifice to God on an altar he had built for the sacrifice of his son.[460] And this site of the Temple at Jerusalem is held sacred to-day, in view of its being deemed by multitudes a holy place from the beginning of the world.[461]

When Naaman the Syrian was healed of leprosy by Elisha, the prophet of Israel, he desired thenceforth to worship Jehovah in his Syrian home. To this end he asked of Elisha the gift of “two mules’ burden of earth” from Samaria, in order that he might on that sacred foundation erect in Syria an altar to Jehovah.[462]

In a prophecy of the Messiah as the foundation, or threshold, of a new temple, it was declared by the Lord: “Behold, I lay [or, I have laid] in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone of sure foundation.”[463] Again, it was the promise of God to the Israelites that they should be restorers of worship on former foundations. “They that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.”[464]

New Testament phraseology makes frequent reference to this same idea. “According to the grace which was given unto me, as a wise master-builder, I laid a foundation,” says Paul. “But let each man take heed how he buildeth thereon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus.”[465] The Christian saints of the “household of God,” as “living stones,”[466] are “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone; in whom each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord.”[467]

Muhammadanism, which shows many survivals of primitive ideas and primitive customs, emphasizes the importance of the first foundation as the only foundation, in the traditions and legends of the holy places of its most sacred city. Every masjid, or “place of prostration,” in that vicinity is on a site counted holy long centuries before the days of the Prophet of Islam.

The Kaʿbah, or Holy House, in the mosk at Meccah is said to have been built by Adam himself, on the model of a similar structure in heaven. It would seem as if no earthly foundation, or threshold, could have been earlier than that; indeed, the Qurân declares: “The first house appointed unto men to worship in was that which was in Beccah [or Meccah];”[468] yet there is a tradition that Adam erected a place of prayer even before he built the Kaʿbah. In the Deluge the Holy House was destroyed; but Abraham was directed to rebuild it, and on digging beneath the surface of its site he discovered the original foundation, and the Kaʿbah was newly built up on that.

According to Muhammadan traditions, it was while Hagar was near the site of the Holy House, with her famishing son Ishmael, that a spring of water gushed forth with its life-giving stream from beneath that holy site. And that spring is the well Zemzem, or Zamzam, whose waters are deemed sacred and life-giving to-day.

Mount Arafat, a holy hill near Meccah, is another place of pilgrimage, and its sacredness dates from even an earlier day than the laying of the first foundation of the Holy House at Meccah by Adam. When our first parents were cast out of their heavenly paradise, Adam lighted in Ceylon, and Eve in Arabia. Seeking each other, they met on Mount Arafat, or the Mount of Recognition, and therefore that spot of their reunion and new covenanting is a place of pilgrimage and worship for the faithful of all the world at this time.[469] Adam is said to have built a madaa, a place of prayer, on Mount Arafat, before he built the Kaʿbah.[470] The religion of Islam thus teaches its subjects to worship at the earliest threshold laid by our first parents in their primal covenanting, and all other religions recognize the importance of a similar idea.



Man’s first dwelling-place was the cave, or the tent, or the hut, in which he made a home with his family. The threshold and hearth of that dwelling-place was the boundary of his earthly possessions. It was the sacred border or limit of the portion of the earth’s surface over which he claimed control, and where he and his were under the special protection of the deity with whom he was in covenant. Therefore the threshold hearth was hallowed as a place of covenant worship.

As families were formed into tribes and communities, they came to have a common ruler or priest, and his dwelling-place was counted by all as the common center of covenant with their common deity; and when they would worship that deity there, they worshiped at the threshold altar of his sanctuary. So it was that the threshold was the place of the hearth-fire and altar, in both house and temple.

When man acquired property rights beyond his dwelling-place, and communities and peoples gained control over portions of country more or less extensive, the boundary limits of their possessions were extended, but were no less real and positive than before. The protecting deity of the region thus bounded was recognized as having sway in that domain; and those who were dwellers there were in covenant relations with him. Therefore it was that the boundary line of such domain was deemed its threshold, and as such was held sacred as a place of worship and of sacrifice.


A private landmark was a sacred boundary, and was a threshold altar for its possessor. To remove or to disregard such a local threshold, was an offense not only against its owner, but against the deity in whose name it had been set up.

Among the earliest remains from unearthed Babylonia are local landmarks, or threshold boundary stones, inscribed, severally, with a dedication and an appeal to the deity honored by him who erected the stone. These local landmarks were ordinarily in the form of a phallus; as phallic forms were numerous under Babylonian temple thresholds. Among the records of those peoples are writings, showing the importance attached to such threshold stones, in the contracts accompanying their setting up, and in the sacred ceremonies on that occasion.

Illustrations of the importance attached by the ancient Babylonians to a boundary stone, or threshold landmark, are found in the records of the imprecations inscribed on these phallic pillars, as directed against the violator of their sacredness.[471] For example, a Babylonian, Sir-usur [“O snake-god protect”], a descendant of the house of Habban, presented a valuable tract of land to his daughter on her betrothal to Tâbashâp-Marduk. The withering curse inscribed on the conventional boundary-stone pillar is as follows:

“For all future time: Whosoever, of the brothers, sons, family, relatives, descendants, servants purchased or house-born, of the house of Habban, be he a prefect, or an overseer, or anybody else, shall rise and stand up to take this field away, or to remove this boundary stone, and causes this field to be presented to a god, or sends some one to take it away [for the state], or brings it into his own possession; who changes the area, the limit, or the boundary stone, divides it into pieces, or takes a piece from it, saying, ‘The field and mulugi[472] have not been presented;’ or who on account of the dire curse [written] on this boundary stone, sends a fool, a deaf man, a blind man, a reckless man, an enemy, an alien, an ignorant man, and causes this inscribed stone to be removed, throws it into the water, hides it in the earth, crushes it with a stone, burns it with fire, effaces it and writes something else on it, or puts it into a place where nobody can see it,–upon this man may the great gods Anu, Bêl, Ea, and Nusku, look wrathfully, uproot his foundation, and destroy his offspring. May Marduk, the great lord, cause him to carry dropsy as an ever-entangling net; may Shamash the judge, greatest of heaven and earth, decide all his lawsuits, standing relentlessly against him; may Sin, the light dwelling in the brilliant heavens, cover him with leprosy as a garment; like a wild ass may he lie down at the wall surrounding his city; may Ishtar, mistress of heaven and earth, lead him into evil daily before the god and the king; may Ninib, born in the temple Ekura, the sublime son of Bêl, uproot his area, his limit, and his boundary stone; may Gula, the great physician, consort of the god Ninib, put never-ceasing poison into his body till he urinates blood and pus like water; may Rammân, first of heaven and earth, the strong son of the god Anu, inundate his field, and destroy the corn, that thorns may shoot up, and may his feet tread down vegetation and pasturage; may Nabû, the sublime messenger, bring want and famine upon him, and whatsoever he desires for the hole of his mouth may he not obtain; and may the great gods, as many names as are mentioned on this inscribed stone, curse him with a dire curse that cannot be removed, and destroy his seed for ever and ever.”[473]

Prominence is given, in the ancient laws of India, to the manner in which disputed boundaries between villages, and between land owners, shall be settled; and it is made evident that a peculiar sacredness attaches to these landmarks. The king was to decide the dispute, after hearing testimony and examining evidence. Trees, and mounds, or heaps of earth, were preferred as landmarks; and tanks, wells, cisterns, and fountains, as also temples, were desired on boundary lines.[474]

Emphasis was laid on the sacredness of the local landmark, in the laws of the Hebrews; and a curse was pronounced against him who dared remove this threshold altar. “Thou shalt not remove thy neighbor’s landmark, which they of old time have set, in thine inheritance which thou shalt inherit, in the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee,” was an injunction in the fundamental law of the Promised Land.[475] And it passed into a proverb of duty: “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”[476] It was a reproach to a people that there were those among them who would “remove the landmarks” and disregard sacred property rights.[477] And among the curses which were to be spoken from the summit of Ebal, when Israel took possession of Canaan, was this: “Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor’s landmark. And,” it was added, “all the people shall say, Amen.”[478]

Abraham and Abimelech found that their followers were quarreling over the boundary line between their respective domains on the borders of the Negeb. Abraham claimed the well at Beer-sheba as his by right, but the servants of Abimelech forcibly took possession of it. So the two chieftains met and agreed upon a border line, and made a covenant with accompanying sacrifices. “And Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba” as his border landmark, “and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God.”[479] Border landmarks were in the form of a pillar, a tree, a heap, or a stele, in Oriental countries generally.

When Jacob and Laban agreed to part in peace after their stormy meeting in Gilead, they set up a heap of stones and a stone pillar as a monument of witness of their mutual covenant, and as a landmark of their agreed territorial boundary. This memorial of their covenant was called “Galeed,” or “Witness Heap,” and “Mizpah,” or “Watch Tower.” “And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold the pillar, which I have set betwixt me and thee. This heap be witness, and the pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God [or, gods] of their father, judge betwixt us.”[480] The new boundary mark was a token of a sacred covenant.

In classic literature and customs the sacred boundary landmark is prominent as devoted to, or as representing, various deities, at different times. Zeus and Hermes among the Greeks; Jupiter, Mercury, Silvanus, and Terminus, among the Romans, are sometimes interchangeably referred to in this connection. The legends and symbols employed seem to indicate that life and its transmission took their start at the threshold boundary, and therefore a pillar or a phallus marked every new beginning along a road or at a territorial boundary.

An image of Zeus, or Jupiter, was sometimes employed as a boundary landmark, and an image of Hermes, or Mercury, was at the starting-point of a road, and again at various points along the road. Zeus, or Jupiter, was chief of gods as the arbiter of life. Hermes, or Mercury, was earliest known as the fertilizing god of earth, and hence was the promoter of all forms of life, as guardian of flocks, fish, fields, and fruits. He also guarded those who went out from the threshold. Sacrifices were offered to him by Athenian generals as they started on their expeditions. He was even spoken of as the inventor of sacrifices and the promoter of commerce and of enrichment.[481]

Of Terminus, Ovid say: “When the night shall have passed away [and the threshold of a new day is to be crossed], let the god who by his landmark divides the fields be worshiped with the accustomed honors. Terminus,[482] whether thou art a stone, or whether a stock sunk deep in the field by the ancients, yet even in this form thou dost possess divinity.”[483] This symbol of Terminus was regularly “sprinkled with the blood of a slain lamb,” in recognition of its sacredness.

It is said that Numa, the second king of Rome, who was revered by the Romans as the author of their whole system of religious worship, directed that every one should mark the boundaries of his landed property by stones consecrated to Jupiter, and that yearly sacrifices should be offered at these boundary stones, at the festival of the Terminalia.[484] At this festival the two owners of adjacent property crowned the statue or stone pillar with garlands, and raised a rude altar, on which they offered up corn, honeycombs, and wine, and sacrificed a lamb or a sucking pig, with accompanying praises to the god.[485]

Silvanus also was a god of the boundary. He was represented by a tree grove, as Terminus was by a pillar, and offerings of fruit, grain, and milk, and of pigs, were made to him. When he would be guarded against as a source of evil in a home, the protectors of the inmates would perform certain ceremonies at the threshold of the house.

A tree, and sometimes a grove, was the sacred landmark of a village boundary in primitive lands. Such trees and groves are still to be found in Equatorial Africa. Describing some of these in Zinga and its vicinity, Stanley expresses surprise that they have so long remained untouched in “a country left to the haphazard care of patriarchal chiefs ignorant of written laws.”[486] But reverence for a threshold landmark seems to be in the very nature of a primitive people, as truly as any primitive sentiment; and sentiment is in itself a dominant law.

At the boundary line between two villages in Samoa, in olden time, there were two stones said to have been two living beings. When any quarrel arose, those engaged in it were told, “Go and settle it at the stones;” and they went to those boundary line stones and fought out their contest.[487]

Trees and stone pillars are still known as boundary landmarks between parishes and townships in Europe and America, as in Asia, Africa, and Polynesia in more primitive days; and their importance is recognized as peculiar, even if not always absolutely sacred. The annual custom of “beating the bounds” of a parish by the parish authorities survives in some parts of England to-day. A procession makes the circuit of the parish boundary, under the care of a “select vestryman,” or other parish official, halting at every landmark to identify it and carefully to observe its location.

In former times it was customary to take the boys of the parish on this round, and beat them at every landmark, in order to impress upon their memories its precise position. More recently the boys are permitted to carry willow wands peeled white, and with these to beat the landmarks. The later plan is certainly more satisfactory to the boys, and it is quite as likely to impress their memories. Formerly this ceremony was accompanied by religious services, in which the clergyman invoked curses on him who “transgresseth the bounds and doles of his neighbor,” and blessings on him who regarded the landmarks.[488]

It has been suggested that this fixing and honoring of the landmarks by an annual festival goes back to the Roman Terminalia, in the days of Numa, but there is reason to believe that it was far earlier than that. There are traces of it in primitive times, among various primitive peoples.

In Russia, the Cossacks long had a custom somewhat like this, in the case of a disputed boundary line. When the boundary had been formally determined, all the boys of the two contiguous stanitsas, or land divisions, were collected, and driven by the people along the frontier line. “At each landmark a number of boys were soundly whipped and allowed to run home,” in order that in later years they might be able to testify as to the spot where that landmark stood. In cases where the boys’ memory failed to be accurate, an arbiter was chosen from the older inhabitants, and sworn to act honestly to the best of his knowledge; and his decision was accepted as final.[489]

A similar custom of beating the bounds under a “selectman” of the town has existed in portions of New England until recently, and perhaps it has not yet died out there. Thus Ralph Waldo Emerson speaks of the selectmen of Concord perambulating the bounds of its township “once in five years,” up to 1858.[490] Is there not a survival of this old custom in the habit of striking a child on his birthday as many blows as he has passed years, when he comes to the threshold of another year of his life?

Mile-posts would seem to have been originally landmarks separating the public way from private lands, being placed at regular distances along the road for convenience of measurement and locating. They marked the threshold of the “king’s highway” to and from his capital in the Roman empire, as trees marked the border-lines of the principal roads in Greece.


Stone pillars marking the exact boundaries of states or nations, whether settled by a joint commission or by a conqueror’s fiat, are not a modern invention, although they are in use to-day. They are of old time, and of primitive ages. And these boundaries of a country are by their very nature its thresholds.

In Babylonia, the name of Nebuchadrezzar meant literally, “Nebo protect the boundary!” The threshold of the empire was sacred; and the deity, with whom the Babylonian king was in covenant, was the protector of that boundary, and of those who dwelt within it. From the earliest times onward an Oriental sovereign would set up a pillar, or pillars, or stele, at the extreme limits of his newly extended dominion, as the outer threshold or doorway of his empire.

From Tiglath-Pileser I. to Esarhaddon, from about 1100 B.C. to 669 B.C., the great Assyrian kings tell us, in their inscriptions, that whenever they restored an old boundary of their predecessors that had been lost to them, or extended their boundary beyond its former limits, they had set up a large stele bearing their image at this threshold of their empire.[491] Frequently these stele doorways,[492] with the king represented on the threshold, had inscriptions on them giving the story of the new conquests, with an ascription of honor to the covenant god by whose power they had been wrought. Prominent mountain peaks, sources of rivers, the temples or market-places of conquered cities, the banks of lakes, or the shores of the sea, are chosen as conspicuous places for such steles. National boundary marks of this character are still to be seen on the rocks of Nahr-el-Kelb, above Beyroot, on the shores of the Mediterranean, and at the sources of the Tigris and the Euphrates.[493]

Ashurnâsirapli (king of Assyria, 885–860 B.C.) tells of such a new boundary mark set up by him at the farthest point of his conquests, “whither nobody of my royal ancestors had advanced.... At that time I made a picture [a stele] of my person. The glory of my power I wrote upon it. On the mountain Eki, in the city Ashurnâsirapli [named after the king], at a spring I set it up.”[494]

A similar custom would seem to have prevailed with the rulers of ancient Egypt. Sneferu, a king of the fourth dynasty, greatest among the very early names of the Old Empire (say, about 4000 B.C.), went down as a conqueror into the Peninsula of Sinai, and left there inscribed a mammoth figure of himself, on the granite hills above the famous copper and turquoise mines of Wady Magharah. He is styled in the accompanying inscription the “vanquisher of a foreign people.”[495]

As early as the twelfth dynasty of ancient Egypt, before the days of Abraham, stone thresholds marked the upper border of that mighty empire. “Two huge pillars of stone, covered with long inscriptions, served formerly as boundary marks between the Egyptian empire and the negro-land called Heh.”[496] King Usurtasen III., who set up these landmarks, says in an inscription on the second of them: “Every one of my sons who maintains this boundary which I have fixed, he shall be called my son who was born of me. My son is like the protector of his father (that is Horus), like the preserver of the boundary of his father (that is Osiris.) But if he abandons it, so that he does not fight upon it, he is not my son, he is not then born of me. I have caused my own image to be set up, on this boundary which I have fixed, not that ye may (only) worship it (the image of the founder), but that ye may fight upon it.”

On the oldest map in the world, a map of the gold districts in Nubia, in the nineteenth dynasty of Egypt, there is a mention of the “memorial stone of King Mineptah I. Seti I.” And that memorial stone, of this new threshold of domain, marked the boundary line of empire in that direction.[497]

Rameses II. had it recorded on the walls of the rock grotto of Bayt-el-Walli concerning his threshold extensions: “The deeds of victory are inscribed a hundred thousand times on the glorious Persea. As the chastiser of the foreigners, who has placed his boundary-marks according to his pleasure in the land of the Ruthennu, he is in truth the son of Ra, and his very image.”[498]

On the eastern border of Lower Egypt, the main passage way from the Delta into Arabia, the great gateway of the empire toward the north and the east, is still known as El Gisr, or “The Threshold.”[499] This point is near Lake Timsah, on the line of the modern Suez Canal.

In ancient Greece, Theseus “set up a pillar,” as a threshold stone between Peloponnesus and Attica,–then called Ionia,–“writing upon it an epigram in two trimeters, bounding the land. Of these [inscriptions] the one toward the east side said, ‘This is not Pelopennesus, but Ionia,’ and that toward the west, ‘This is Pelopennesus, not Ionia.’”[500]

Even the term, the “Pillars of Hercules,” as the boundaries of the Grecian empire and the then known world, is an indication of this idea in the classic age, as well as in the primitive mind. Calpë and Abyla were the door-posts of the great outer passage way, and the threshold between those pillars was founded upon the seas, and established upon the floods.[501]

As showing that the term “threshold” is not applied to these boundary stones merely by accommodation, it is sufficient to quote from Justinian in the case. He declares specifically that “as the threshold makes a certain boundary in a house, so also the ancients designed that the boundary of the empire should be its threshold; hence it is called the ‘threshold,’ as if it were a certain bound and term.”[502] Speaking of one who has been in foreign captivity, and who desires a resumption, or a restoration, of his civil rights, on his coming back to his country, Justinian says that such a return “is called postliminium [a recrossing of the threshold], because at that same threshold the thing which he has lost is restored to him.”[503]

When the old Portuguese navigators started out on their voyages of discovery, they were accustomed to take with them stone pillars to set up in a prominent place at the farthest limits of their newly claimed territory as the national door-posts or threshold in that direction. Such a pillar was erected at the mouth of the Congo River, at the time of its discovery by Diego Cão, or Cam, in 1484–85. On this account, the river was known for a time as the “Rio de Padrão,” or “Pillar River.”[504] It might, indeed, have been called the “River of the Threshold.”

This custom of setting up stone pillars as boundary marks along the borders of countries, nations, and states, has been continued down to the present day. Such landmarks are still to be seen along the borders of the great divisions of Europe, and they are on the lines of the several states of the United States of America. The line between the English grants in America, originally made to the Duke of York and to Lord Baltimore, was, after much dispute, run by two English surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, in 1763–67, and marked by stone pillars at intervals of five miles. This was generally known as “Mason and Dixon’s line;” it separated Pennsylvania from Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, and was the dividing line between the free and the slave states before the Civil War of 1861–65. One of those early stone landmarks on that line is still to be seen near Oxford, in Chester County, Pennsylvania, as an illustration of a practice beginning in Babylonia as far back as 4000 B.C., and continued in America down to A.D. 1895.[505]

European titles of rank bear traces of the importance formerly attached to national boundary lines and their preservation. The old German title of “markgraf,” the “graf” or count or warden of the marches, designated a representative or servant of the king who was in charge of the “marches,” or “marks,” or “border lines,” which guarded the thresholds of the empire in different directions. It was under “Henry the Fowler,” early in the tenth century, that this title, as a title, first gained prominence. Afterwards it became hereditary; “and hence have come the innumerable margraves, marquises, and such like of modern times.”[506]

“Letters of marque” were letters of commission, or permission, granted by the government to individuals, in time of war, to pass over the boundary mark, or national threshold, for purposes of seizure or reprisal. And a “marquee” is primarily a tent over, or before, the threshold of a military commander’s tent.


An altar would have no meaning unless sacrifices were offered at it. If, therefore, the boundary threshold of an empire were an altar for that empire, sacrifices would surely be offered there; and the records of history, and the customs of old times and later, show this to have been the case.

Sacrifices were offered at the new boundary of an empire, by ancient Assyrian and Egyptian kings, when they set up a pillar, or stele, at the freshly acquired threshold in that direction. Thus, for example, Ashurnâsirapli (king of Assyria, 885–860 B.C.), telling of his far-reaching conquests, says that he marched with his armies to the slopes of the Lebanon, and to the great sea of the Westland, and that at the mountains of Ammanus he made and set up a stele of victory, and offered sacrifices unto his gods.[507]

At the Egyptian boundary line in the Sinaitic Peninsula, there was a temple with its sacrifices to “the sublime Hathor, queen of heaven and earth and the dark depths below, whom the Egyptians worshiped as the protectress of the land of Mafkat.” There were other temples with their sacrifices at that point.[508] On the southern boundary of Egypt, in the gold district of Nubia, there was “the temple of Amon in the holy mountain,” where threshold sacrifices were offered.[509]

One of the most ancient of Chinese classics is the Shih King. Its age is not known, but it is certain that it was a classic in the days of Confucius, five centuries before the Christian era. This work contains frequent references to sacrifices at the border altars, or the altars of the boundary. There were public sacrifices at the “border altar” in the beginning of every new year; and again when a ruler crossed his border line on a warlike mission.[510]

When, in ancient times, a Chinese emperor passed over the outer threshold of his empire, he offered a sacrifice of a dog, by running over it with the wheels of his chariot. This is supposed to have been a propitiatory offering to the dog-shaped guardians of the roadway threshold, known also among the Indo-Aryans and the Assyro-Babylonians.[511]

From what is known of modern customs in this line, and from occasional historical references to the matter, it would seem that where there were no gateways, or double columns to stand for door-posts, or doorway stele, it was the practice to divide or separate the animals offered in sacrifice, so as to make a passage-way between them, as through a door or gate, and to pour out the blood of the victims on the earth between the two portions, so that the offerer, or the one welcomed, might pass over, or step across, that blood, as in a threshold covenant.

It has already been noted that when General Grant came to the border line of Assioot, in Upper Egypt, as he landed from his Nile boat, a bullock was sacrificed in covenant welcome, its head being put on one side of the gang-plank, and its body on the other; while its blood was between the two, so that it should be stepped over in the act of landing.[512] And every year, when the great Hajj procession returns from Meccah to Syria, it is welcomed, as it approaches Damascus, by just such sacrifices as this. Sheep and oxen are sacrificed before the caravan, their blood being poured out in the middle of the road, and their bodies being divided and placed on either side of the way. Then those who approach by this “new and living way,”[513] on the boundary line of their country, renew their covenant with those within, by passing over the blood.[514]

There seems to be a reference to such a mode of boundary sacrifices, in the description of the Lord’s covenant welcome to Abraham, on the border of the land promised to him for a possession.[515] Abraham was near the southern boundary of Canaan. He had the promise of the Lord, that he and his seed should possess that land; but as yet he was childless, and he had no control over any portion of the land. He naturally desired some tangible assurance, in accordance with the customs of mankind, that the Lord’s promises to him would be made good. Therefore when the Lord said to him, “I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it,” Abraham replied with the question, “O Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?”

Then the Lord responded with these directions, apparently in accordance with a well-known mode of covenanting among men: “Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Abraham seems to have understood what was to be done with these victims for sacrifice. “And he took him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each half over against the other: but the birds divided he not.” The blood of the victims was doubtless poured out on the earth where they were sacrificed, midway between the places of the divided portions, as is the present custom.

“And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace [or brazier, or censer], and a flaming torch [a fire and a light as a symbol of the Divine presence] that passed [covenant-crossed the blood on the threshold] between these pieces.” And the record adds: “In that day the Lord made a covenant [a border-altar covenant] with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenite, and the Kenizzite, and the Kadmonite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Rephaim, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Girgashite, and the Jebusite.”

Thus Abram was assured that the Lord had covenanted to protect his boundaries; as Nebuchadrezzar long afterward desired that his god Nebo would protect his empire boundary or threshold. As to the fact of boundary sacrifices in these lands and elsewhere, in those days and earlier, there would seem to be no room for question.

It is not to be expected that border sacrifices would at all times, and in all places, be just alike; but a common primitive symbolism would be likely to show itself in them all. In Persia, these sacrifices are still common, when one is to be received with honors at the border of a new territory or jurisdiction.[516] Morier, describing his journey through Persia, in the early part of this century, speaks of the first entrance of a new ruler into the territory he was to govern. “The khan, with all his attendants, accompanied us about two miles. He was preparing to enter Bushire, his new government, with all splendor. From the town to the swamps [from the territorial border to the border of the capital] were erected stages on which bullocks were to be sacrificed, and from which their heads were to be thrown under his horse’s feet as he advanced; a ceremony, indeed, appropriated to princes alone, and to them only on particular occasions.”[517]

On another occasion, when the British envoy approached Kauzeroon, on a visit of ceremony, he was welcomed at the threshold of the town by a corresponding ceremony. “A bottle which contained sugar candy was broken under the feet of the envoy’s horse, a ceremony never practiced in Persia to any but to royal personages.”[518]

the gates “oxen and sheep in great numbers were sacrificed just as he passed, and their heads thrown under his horse’s feet.” And “glass vases filled with sugar were broken before him.” On this occasion the Shah frequently looked at a watch, “anxious that he should enter the gates exactly at the time prescribed by the astrologers” for his crossing the threshold.[519]

More recently, Layard has testified to the prevalence of such customs. Speaking of his reception among the Yezidis, he tells of his approach to the village of Guzelder, and of his welcome there: “The head of the village of Guzelder, with the principal inhabitants, had come to invite me to eat bread in his house, and we followed him.... Before we reached Guzelder, the procession had swollen to many hundreds.... As I approached, sheep were brought into the road and slain before my horse’s feet, and as we entered the yard of Akko’s house the women and men joined in the loud and piercing ‘tahlel.’”[520]

Again, as Layard entered the village of Redwan, he was similarly welcomed. “I alighted,” he says, “amidst the din of music and the ‘tahlel’ at the house of Nazi, the chief of the whole Yezidi district; two sheep being slain before me as I took my feet from the stirrups.”[521]

When, some twenty years ago, a European prince visited the Mt. Lebanon region,[522] a generous host killed a valuable cow on the road by which the prince must come into his region. Then the royal visitor and his retinue were requested to step over, not upon, the blood of the slaughtered cow, at the threshold of that host’s domain.

On the occasion of a caravan starting out from the boundary line of a country in the East, there are border sacrifices offered, even in recent times. Thus Burckhardt tells of this ceremony, when he went from Egypt to Nubia.

The various traders going with this caravan assembled at the starting-point, having their goods with them. “At noon the camels were watered, and knelt down by the side of their respective loads. Just before the lading commenced, the Ababde women appeared with earth vessels in their hands, filled with burning coals. They set them before the several loads, and threw salt upon them.” It has already been shown that salt stands for blood, in the minds of primitive peoples. “At the rising of the bluish flame produced by the burning of the salt, they exclaimed, ‘May you be blessed in going and in coming!’”[523] And this sacrifice was supposed to secure safety against evil spirits encountered in crossing the boundary line.

Thus it would seem that, from the beginning, on the national threshold, as on the threshold of the temple and of the home, sacrifices were offered, and boundary marks were set up, in recognition of a peculiar sacredness of the border line,–which is in itself a foundation and a limit. These boundary marks were commonly a pillar or a tree, in apparent symbolism of a fructifying or a fruit-bearing agency, of the transmission or the continuance of life. And the establishment and protection of these boundary marks was deemed well pleasing to God or to the gods, and in the nature of a holy covenant service.



A question that forces itself on the mind, in connection with the study of a world-wide primitive rite like this of the Threshold Covenant, is, What was its origin? How came it to pass, that primitive peoples, in all parts of the world, were brought to attach such exceptionally sacred significance to the threshold of a hut, or tent, or cave, or house; of a palace or temple; of a domain, local or national; and to count its crossing by blood a form of holy covenanting between the parties engaged in it, and the deity invoked in the ceremony? This question goes back to the origin of religious rites among human beings, and its answer must, in order to commend itself to all, be in accordance with the natural outgrowths and the abnormal perversions of religious rites, in the main line of human development all the world over.

However simple and elemental were man’s earliest religious ideas, they must have been from the beginning pure and uplifting, or they would not have been religious. Nothing impure or debasing in itself would have raised man’s thoughts Godward, even though man might subsequently come to degrade his best conceptions of God and his worship. Hence the answer to this question must include only such facts as were capable of being viewed reverently by primitive man, as worthy of God’s creatures in the loving service and worship of God.


This threshold rite clearly goes back to the beginning of family life. The facts already presented are proof of this. The rite includes the proffer of blood at the foundation of the family as a family. It is a part of the marriage ceremonial among primitive peoples. It is also the means by which one is adopted from without into a family circle or group. It marks every stage of the progress of family life, from one pair to a community and to an empire, in its civil and religious relations. It is a form of covenanting between its participants, and between them and God; and thus it has sanctity as a religious rite.

A fair induction from these recognized facts, in their sweep and significance, would seem to indicate, as the origin of this primitive rite, the covenant union between the first pair in their instituting of the family relation. When was the first covenant made between two human beings? When was the first outpouring of blood in loving sacrifice? By what act was the first appeal made to the Author and Source of life for power for the transmission of life, by two persons who thereby entered into covenant with each other and with him? The obvious answer to these questions is an answer to the question, What was the origin of the rite of the Threshold Covenant?

Life and its transmission must have been a sacred mystery to the first thinkers about God and his human workers. Blood was early recognized as life, its outpouring as the pledge and gift of life, and its interchange as a life covenant between those who shared its substance. In view of this truth, a covenant union by blood that looked to the transmission of life must have been in itself, to a thoughtful and reverent person, an appeal to the Author of life to be a party to that covenant union, in order to give it efficiency.

When first a twain were made one in a covenant of blood, the threshold altar of the race was hallowed as a place where the Author of life met and blessed the loving union. And from this beginning there was the natural development of religious rites and ceremonies, in the family, in the temple, and in the domain, as shown alike in the history of the human race and in the main teachings of both the Old Testament and the New.


Flowing blood is widely deemed essential to the covenant by which two are made one in the marriage relation. This is peculiarly the case among those primitive peoples where young maidens are guarded with jealous care, and are given in marriage at a very early age. In the thought of such peoples there is no binding covenant without blood, in the family relation.[524] And a bloody hand stamp on the cloth of testimony is the primitive certificate of the marriage covenant.

Facts in illustration of this truth are numerous in the nuptial customs of Syria, Egypt, China, Dahomey, Liberia, Europe, Central America, Samoa, and other widely different regions. A few of these facts are given in the Appendix for the benefit of scientific students, in a language better suited than English for the presentation of such details.[525]


If the view here given of the origin of this rite of the Threshold Covenant be correct, there will be found traces of the truth in the different religions of mankind. And this is the case, as shown in religious literatures, in history, and in primitive customs and beliefs.

The most ancient expression of the religious thought and feeling of the Aryan races is found in the Vedas and their accompanying literature. The Brahmanas, in this literature, deal with the sacrificial element in public and family worship, and with the rites and ceremonies pertaining to religion. In the description of the construction of the household altars and the high altars, there is abundant evidence that the woman is recognized as the primitive altar, and that the form of the woman is made the pattern of the altar form.

It is distinctly declared as to the shape of the altar, standing east and west, that it “should be broader on the west side, contracted on the middle, and broad again on the east side; for thus shaped they praise a woman: ‘broad about the hips, somewhat narrower between the shoulders, and contracted in the middle [or about the waist].’” Again, it is said, in explanation, that “the altar (vedi, feminine) is female, and the fire (agni, masculine) is male.”[526] This identifying of the altar with the woman, of the offering with the man, and of their union with worship and covenanting, is repeatedly found in the Brahmanas.[527]

Even as far back as the Vedas themselves the term yoni, or doorway of physical life, is used as synonymous with altar.[528] And the production of sacred fire, for purposes of worship, by twisting a stick in softened wood, is described in the Rig-Vedas as a form of this covenant rite. These facts point to this origin of the threshold altar of covenant and sacrifice.

At present in India the most widely recognized visible aid in worship is the representation of the linga and the yoni combined. This symbol nominally stands for Siva; but that seems to be only because Saivism predominates in modern Hindooism. The idea of this symbolic combination long antedates this prominence of Siva worship.[529]

A form of Booddhist prayer in Tibet, said to be repeated more frequently than any other known among men, is “the six-syllabled sentence, ‘Om mani padme Hūm,’–‘Om! the Jewel in the Lotus! Hum!’” This prayer is simply a euphemism for the primitive Threshold Covenant, as here explained, with an ejaculatory invocation and ascription before and after it.[530] It seems to be a survival of the thought that here was the beginning of religious rites, and that all covenant worship must continue in its spirit and power.

Every repetition of that prayer, by speech or by mechanism, is supposed to affect the progress of a soul in its crossing the threshold of one of the stages of being in the universe. It is a help to a new birth for some soul somewhere.

There would thus appear to be no room for doubt in this matter in the language and customs of the primitive Aryan peoples, and there are also confirmations of the idea among the Semites. A legend that has a place among the Jews and the Muhammadans, tells of a visit of Abraham to the home of Hagar and Ishmael in Arabia.[531] An Amalekite wife of Ishmael refused hospitality to Abraham, and in consequence Abraham left a message to Ishmael to “change his threshold.” This message Ishmael understood to mean the putting away of his wife and the taking of another, and he acted accordingly. In the Arabic “a wife” is one of the meanings of the term “threshold.”[532]

And the term “gate,” or “door,” had among the rabbis a specific application to the altar of family covenanting. Thus Buxtorf, in his definings of “janua” and “ostium,” says plainly: “Apud rabbinos etiam est ‘ostium ventris muliebris.’” And he quotes the saying of a disappointed bridegroom : “Ostium apertum inveni.[533]

Among the early Babylonians and Egyptians, as among other primitive peoples, the twofold symbols of sex are counted the sacred emblem of life, and as such are borne by the gods of life, and by those who have the power of life and death from those gods. The circle and rod, or ring and bolt, conjoined, are in the right hand of the Babylonian sun-god Shamash;[534] as, in the ankh, or crux ansata, they are in the right hand of every principal deity of ancient Egypt.[535] It is much the same with the Phœnicians and others.[536]

In the innermost shrine of the most sacred Shinto temples of Japan, the circular mirror, and the straight dagger, with the same meaning as the circle and rod in Babylonia and Egypt and Phœnicia, are the only indications of the presence of deity; and the worshipers in those temples can come no farther than the threshold of the shrine containing these emblems.[537]

Wherever, among the primitive peoples in America, as elsewhere, the red hand is found as a symbol of covenant, and of life and strength through covenant, it would seem to point to this primal meaning of the hand stamp of blood at the doorway of life in a sacred covenant. There are indications in Central American sculptures of the sacredness attaching to the covenant rite between the first pair; and the combined symbols of sex are represented there as in the East.[538]

It is a well-known fact that the public exhibit of the primitive Threshold Covenant, as here explained, has been continued as a mode of reverent worship among primitive peoples in the South Sea Islands, down to modern times. The testimony of Captain Cook, the famous navigator, is specific on this point.[539] It is also to be noted that in these islands the two supports of the altar, or table of sacrifice, are seemingly symbols of the two sexes, similar to those used in the far East.[540]

All of the gathered facts concerning the Threshold Covenant in different lands and in different times, as presented in the foregoing pages, would seem to be in accordance with this view of the origin of the rite, as with no other that can be suggested. The main symbolism of both the Old and the New Testament also seem to indicate the same beginning.



How the significance of the Hebrew passover rite stands out in the light of this primitive custom! It is not that this rite had its origin in the days of the Hebrew exodus from Egypt, but that Jehovah then and there emphasized the meaning and sacredness of a rite already familiar to Orientals. In dealing with his chosen people, God did not invent a new rite or ceremonial at every stage of his progressive revelation to them; but he took a rite with which they were already familiar, and gave to it a new and deeper significance in its new use and relations.

Long before that day, a covenant welcome was given to a guest who was to become as one of the family, or to a bride or bridegroom in marriage, by the outpouring of blood on the threshold of the door, and by staining the doorway itself with the blood of the covenant. And now Jehovah announced that he was to visit Egypt on a designated night, and that those who would welcome him should prepare a threshold covenant, or a pass-over sacrifice, as a proof of that welcome; for where no such welcome was made ready for him by a family, he must count the household as his enemy.[541]

In announcing this desire for a welcoming sacrifice by the Hebrews, God spoke of it as “Jehovah’s passover,” as if the pass-over rite was a familiar one, which was now to be observed as a welcome to Jehovah.[542] Moses, in reporting the Lord’s message to the Hebrews, did not speak of the proposed sacrifice as something of which they knew nothing until now, but he first said to them, “Draw out, and take you lambs according to your families, and kill the passover”–or the threshold cross-over;[543] and then he added details of special instruction for this new use of the old rite.


A lamb was the chosen sacrifice in the welcome to Jehovah. Each household, or family, was to take one lamb for this offering. No directions were given as to the place or manner of its sacrifice; for that seems to have been understood by all, because of the very term “pass-over,” or threshold cross-over. This is implied, indeed, in the directions for the use of the blood when it was poured out: “Kill the passover,” in the usual place; “and ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is at the threshold [Hebrew, saph], and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is at the threshold.”[544]

In that welcome with blood there was covenant protection from Jehovah as he came into Egypt to execute judgment on his enemies. The Egyptians had already refused him allegiance, and put themselves in open defiance of his authority. They were now to be visited in judgment.[545] But in order to the distinguishing of the Lord’s people from his enemies, the Hebrews were to prepare a blood welcome at their doorway, and the Lord would honor this welcome by covenanting with those who proffered it.

“And Moses said, Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of cattle.... But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.”[546]

In furtherance of this purpose, the Lord asked for the sacrifice of the threshold cross-over by the Hebrews: “For the Lord will pass through [the land] to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts [of the Hebrew homes], the Lord will pass over [cross-over or through] the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.”[547] Obviously the figure here employed is of a sovereign accompanied by his executioner, a familiar figure in the ancient East. When he comes to a house marked by tokens of the welcoming covenant, the sovereign will covenant-cross that threshold, and enter the home as a guest, or as a member of the family; but where no such preparation has been made for him, his executioner will enter on his mission of judgment.[548]


It is strange that the Hebrew word for “threshold” (saph) in this narrative is translated “bason” in our English Bible. It is because of this that the identity of the passover sacrifice with the primitive Threshold Covenant is so generally lost sight of. This word saph occurs many times in the Old Testament text, and in nine cases out of ten it is translated “threshold,” or “door,” or “door-post,” or the like.[549] It would seem that it should be so translated in this instance.

In some cases where saph is translated “bason,” or “cup,” the term “threshold” would be more appropriate, as when included in an enumeration of the temple furniture.[550] Bronze and silver thresholds were often mentioned in the furniture of Babylonian and Assyrian temples;[551] and they might well have had mention among the Hebrews. It is possible, however, that there was a cavity, as a blood receptacle, in the threshold of houses or temples where sacrifices were so frequent; and this would account for the use of the word saph as “bason,” even where it referred to the threshold of the door.

The translators of the Septuagint, living in Egypt and familiar with the customs of that land, rendered saph by thyra, “doorway,”[552] in the story of the exodus. Jerome, with his understanding of Oriental life, gives limen, “threshold,” for saph, at this point.[553] Philo Judæus, out of his Egyptian Jewish experiences, describing the Jewish passover festival, speaks of it as “the feast diabateria, which the Jews called paskha.”[554]Diabateria” are “offerings before crossing a border,”[555] or threshold sacrifices. Rabbi Ishmael, a Talmudist, in explaining the passage descriptive of the institution of the passover in Egypt, says: “One dug a hole in the [earthen] threshold, and slaughtered into that,” “for saph signifies here nothing else than threshold.”[556]

A striking illustration of the error of translating saph “a bason” or “a cup,” is shown in the rendering of Zechariah 12 : 1–3 in our English Bible. The Lord is there promising to protect the borders of Jerusalem against all besiegers. “Thus saith the Lord, which ... layeth the foundation of the earth:... Behold, I will make Jerusalem a threshold [or, boundary stone, Hebrew, saph] of reeling unto all the peoples round about.... I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all the peoples.” The figure seems to be that of the besiegers staggering as they come against that foundation, or threshold stone, which the Lord has established. Yet saph is here translated “cup,” and the passage thereby rendered meaningless.

There would seem, indeed, to be little room for doubt that saph should be translated “threshold” in the description of the pass-over sacrifice. In Assyrian, the word sippu, from the same root as the Hebrew saph, means only threshold, not bason or cup.[557]


The common understanding of the term “passover,” in connection with the Hebrew exodus from Egypt, is that it was, on the Lord’s part, a passing by those homes where the doorways were blood-stained, without entering them. Yet this meaning is not justified by the term itself, nor by the significance of the primitive rite. Jehovah did not merely spare his people when he visited judgment on the Egyptians. He covenanted anew with them by passing over, or crossing over, the blood-stained threshold into their homes, while his messenger of death went into the houses of the Lord’s enemies and claimed the first-born as belonging to Jehovah.[558]

This word pesakh, translated “passover,” is a peculiar one. Its etymology and root meaning have been much in discussion. It is derived from the root pāsăkh “to cross over,” a meaning which is still preserved in the Hebrew word Tiphsakh, the name of a city on the banks of the Euphrates,[559] the Hebrew equivalent of the classical Thapsacus.[560] Tiphsakh means “crossing,” apparently so called from the ford of the Euphrates at that place.

Later Jewish traditions and customs point to the meaning of the original passover rite as a crossing over the threshold of the Hebrew homes by Jehovah, and not of his passing by his people in order to their sparing. A custom by which a Hebrew slave became one of the family in a Hebrew household, through having his ear bored with an awl at the door-post of the house, and thereby blood staining the doorway,[561] is connected with the passover rite by the rabbis. “The Deity said: The door and the side-posts were my witnesses in Egypt, in the hour when I passed-over the lintel and the two side-posts, and I said that to Me the children of Israel shall be slaves, and not slaves to slaves; I brought them out from bondage to freedom; and this man who goeth and taketh a lord to himself shall be bored through before these witnesses.”[562]

According to Jewish traditions, it was on a passover night when Jehovah entered into a cross-over covenant with Abraham on the boundary of his new possessions in Canaan.[563] It was on a passover night that Lot welcomed the angel visitors to his home in Sodom.[564] It was at the passover season that the Israelites crossed the threshold of their new home in Canaan, when the walls of Jericho fell down, and the blood-colored thread on the house of Rahab was a symbol of the covenant of the Hebrew spies with her and her household.[565] The protection of the Israelites against the Midianites,[566] and the Assyrians,[567] and the Medes and the Persians,[568] and again the final overthrow of Babylon,[569] all these events were said to have been at the passover season.[570] These traditions would seem to show that the pass-over covenant was deemed a cross-over covenant, and a covenant of welcome at the family and the national threshold.

In the passover rite as observed by modern Jews, at a certain stage of the feast the outer door is opened, and an extra cup and chair are arranged at the table, in the hope that God’s messenger will cross the threshold, and enter the home as a welcome guest.[571] All this points to the meaning of “cross-over,” and not of “pass-by.”

In some parts of northern and eastern Europe there is a custom still preserved among the Jews of jumping over a tub of water on passover night, which is said to be symbolic of crossing the Red Sea, but which shows that the passover feast was a feast of crossing over.[572]


It seems clear that the Egyptian passover rite was a rite of threshold covenanting, as ordered of God and as understood by the Israelites. Its sacrifice was on the threshold of the homes of the Hebrews on the threshold of a new year,[573] and on the threshold of a new nationality. Then Israel began anew in all things. Moreover, it was recognized as the rite of marriage between Jehovah and Israel; as the very Threshold Covenant had its origin in the rite of primitive marriage.

That first passover night was the night when Jehovah took to himself in covenant union the “Virgin of Israel,” and became a Husband unto her. From that time forward any recognition of, or affiliation with, another God, is called “whoredom,” “adultery,” or “fornication.”[574] In this light it is that the prophets always speak of idolatry.

Jeremiah recognizes the first passover night as the time of this marriage covenant, when he says:

“Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah,
That I will make a new covenant
With the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers
In the day that I took them by the hand
To bring them out of the land of Egypt;
Which my covenant they brake,
Although I was an husband unto them, saith Jehovah.”[575]

And Jehovah, speaking through Ezekiel of his loving choice of the Hebrew daughter of the Amorite and the Hittite, says: “Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.”[576]

It seems to be in recognition of the truth that the Egyptian passover was the rite of marriage between Jehovah and Israel, that the Song of Songs, the epithalamium of the Hebrew Scriptures, is always read in the synagogue at the passover service. This idea of the relation of Jehovah and Israel runs through the entire Old Testament, and shows itself in the Jewish ritual of to-day.

In the primitive marriage rite the stamp of the red hand of the bridegroom is the certification of the covenant union, at the doorway of the family. But in the Egyptian passover it was the virgin of Israel who certified to the marriage covenant by the bloody stamp on the doorway. Hence it was a feminine symbol, in a bush of hyssop, that was dipped in the blood and used for this stamping.[577] The tree, or bush, is a universal symbol of the feminine in nature. This is shown, for example, in the tree or brush-topped pole as the symbol of Ashtaroth, “wife,”[578] as over against the pillar or obelisk as the symbol of Baal, or “lord,” or “husband.”[579]



In the New Testament the rites and symbols of the Old Testament find recognition and explanation. This is peculiarly true of the passover service. It was a central fact in the gospel story. The sacrifice, or offering, of Jesus Christ as the Saviour, was made at that season;[580] and it was evident that he himself felt that it was essential that this be so. He held back from Jerusalem until the approach of the passover feast, when he knew that his death was at hand.[581] And his last passover meal was made the basis of the new memorial and symbolic covenant meal with his disciples.[582] The passover sacrifice is as prominent in the New Testament as in the Old.

Paul, familiar with Jewish customs by study and experience, writing to Corinthian Christians of their duty and privileges as members of the household of faith, urges them to make a new beginning in their lives, as the Israelites made a new beginning on the threshold of every year at the passover festival, with its accompanying feast of unleavened bread, when all the lay-over leaven from a former state was put away. “Purge out the old leaven,” he says, “that ye may be a new lump, even as ye are unleavened. For our passover also hath been sacrificed, even Christ.”[583]


The primitive passover sacrifice was an offering of blood by the head of the household on the threshold of his home, as a token of his welcome to the guest who would cross over that blood and thereby become one with the family within. It was not an outsider or a stranger who proffered a threshold sacrifice, but it was the house-father who thus extended a welcome to one who was yet outside. The welcoming love was measured by the preciousness of the sacrifice. The richer the offering, the heartier the welcome.[584]

In the Egyptian passover the threshold sacrifice was a proffer of welcome to Jehovah by the collective family in each Hebrew home. In the Christian passover it was the sacrifice of the Son of God on the threshold of the Father’s home, the home of the family of the redeemed, as a proffer of welcome to whoever outside would cross the outpoured blood, and become a member of the family within. Therefore it is written: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.”[585] And “for this cause,” says Paul, “I bow my knees unto the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.”[586]

Among primitive peoples, as among the Jews, no indignity could equal the refusal of a proffered guest-welcome, in a rude trampling on the blood of the threshold sacrifice, instead of crossing over it reverently as a mode of its acceptance. Hence the peculiar force of the words of the Jewish-Christian writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, concerning the mistreatment of God’s threshold sacrifice, in the Son of God offered as our passover: “A man that hath set at nought Moses’ law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified [separated from the outside world], an unholy [a common] thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”[587]


All through the New Testament, Jesus, the outpouring of whose blood is “our passover” welcome from the Father, is spoken of as the Bridegroom, and his church as the Bride. His coming to earth is referred to as the coming of the Bridegroom–as was the coming of Jehovah to the Virgin of Israel in Egypt. He likened himself to a bridegroom. And his coming again to his church is foretold as the meeting of the Bridegroom and the Bride.

John the Baptist, forerunner of Jesus, speaking of his mission as closing, and that of Jesus as opening out gloriously, says: “Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but, that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.”[588]

Jesus, referring to the charge against his disciples, that they did not fast, as did the disciples of John, said: “Can the sons of the bride-chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then will they fast.”[589]

Paul repeatedly refers to this relation between Christ and his church: “The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”[590] “The husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church.... Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it.... He that loveth his own wife loveth himself: for no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ also the church; because we are members of his body. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the twain shall become one flesh. This mystery is great: but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church.”[591]

In the Apocalypse, the inspired seer looking into the future, at the consummation of the present age, tells of the glorious vision before him, when Christ shall come to claim his own: “I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunders, saying, Hallelujah: for the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigneth. Let us rejoice and be exceeding glad, and let us give the glory unto him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And it was given unto her that she should array herself in fine linen, bright and pure: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are bidden to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”[592]

And again he says: “I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.... And there came one of the seven angels; ... and he spake with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and shewed me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: ... having a wall great and high; having twelve gates. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God the Almighty, and the Lamb, are the temple thereof.... And the gates thereof shall in no wise be shut by day (for there shall be no night there): and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it: and there shall in no wise enter into it anything unclean, or he that maketh an abomination and a lie: but only they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”[593]

A closing declaration of the seer is, that the church as the Bride, with the representative of the Bridegroom until his coming, waits and calls for his return: “The Spirit and the bride say, Come.... Come, Lord Jesus.”[594] And so, from the Pentateuch to the Apocalypse, the Scriptures, Hebrew and Christian, recognize and emphasize the primitive Threshold Covenant as the beginning of religious rites, and as symbolic of the spirit of all true covenant worship.


Survivals of the primitive Threshold Covenant are found in various customs among Oriental Christians, and Christians the world over. Thus Easter is still looked at in some regions as the continuance of Passover, and the blood on the threshold is an accompaniment of the feast. Among the modern Greeks, each family, as a rule, buys a lamb, kills it, and eats it on Easter Sunday. “In some country districts the blood [of the lamb] is sometimes smeared on the threshold of the house.”[595] Easter, like the Jewish Passover, is the threshold of the new ecclesiastical year.

At the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, in Jerusalem, a principal incident in the Easter festivities is the bringing down of fire from heaven at the opening of the new ecclesiastical year.[596] This ceremony seems to be a survival of the primitive custom of seeking new life, in its symbol of fire, at the threshold of the home and of the new year, in the East and in the West.[597]

In the sacredness of the rite of the primitive Threshold Covenant there is added emphasis to the thought which causes both the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Church to count marriage itself a sacrament. And thus again to the claim that a virgin who is devoted to a religious life is a “spouse of Christ,” and that her marriage to an earthly husband is adultery.[598] Many another religious custom points in the same direction.



Apart from the mooted question of the origin and development of man as man,–whether it be held that he came into being as an incident in the evolutionary progress of the ages, or that his creation was by a special fiat of the Author of all things,–it is obvious that there was a beginning, when man first appeared as a higher order of being than the lower animals then in existence. The distinguishing attribute of man, as distinct from the lower animals at their best, is the capacity to conceive of spiritual facts and forces. Even at his lowest estate man is never without an apprehension of immaterial and supernatural personalities, intangible yet real and potent. The lower animals at their highest, and under the most effective training, give no indication of the possibility of such a conception on their part.

Both the Bible record and the disclosed facts of science show man at the start in a primitive state, with only elemental beginnings of knowledge or thought or skill. No claim is made for him, by any advocate of his pre-eminence in creation, that he then had skill in the arts, or attainment in civilization, or that he was possessed of a religious theory or ritual of even the simplest character. It is a matter of interest and importance to trace the course of man’s progress from the first to the present time, and to see how the good and the evil showed themselves along the line, from the same germs of thought and conduct rightly used or misused. The primitive rite of the Threshold Covenant, here brought out as initial and germinative, seems to present a reasonable solution of the observed course in religious development and in religious perversions in the history of mankind from the beginning until now.

Before primitive man could have concerned himself seriously with the course of the heavenly bodies, or the changes of the seasons, or the points of compass and the correspondent shifting of the winds, he must have recognized the sacred mystery of life and its transmission. It would seem that a covenant involved in the union of twain made one over outpoured blood, with power from the Author of life for the transmission of life, must have been the primal religious rite that brought man’s personal action into the clear light of a covenant relation with his Creator. Every subsequent development of the religious idea, good and bad, pure and impure, would seem to be traceable as an outgrowth, or as a perversion, of this elemental religious rite.


It would seem clear that the primal idea of a covenant union between two persons, and between those persons and their God, was found in the initial and primitive rite of marriage, with its outpoured blood, or gift of life, on the threshold of being; and that this rite contained in itself the germs of covenanting and of sacrifice, and the idea of an altar and a sacrament, where, and by which, man and God were brought into loving communion and union. Thus the beginning of religious rites was found in the primal Threshold Covenant as here portrayed.

Out of this beginning came all that is best and holiest in the thought of sacrifice and sacrament and spiritual communion. The very highest development of religious truth, under the guidance of progressive revelation from God, and of man’s growth in thought and knowledge with the passing ages, is directly in the line of this simple and germinal idea. Both the Bible record and the record of outside history tend to confirm this view of religious rites in their beginning and progress.

New life as a consequence of blood, or life, surrendered in holy covenanting, is a natural inference or outgrowth of the truth of the primal Threshold Covenant. Thus the thought of life after death, in the resurrection or in metempsychosis, comes with the recognition of the simple fact of the results of covenant union in the sight, and with the blessing, of the Author of life, in the rite of the Threshold Covenant.[599]

The transference of the altar of threshold covenanting, from the persons of the primary pair in the family to the hearthstone or entrance threshold of the home or family doorway, with the accompaniment of fire as a means of giving and sustaining life to those who sat at the common table or altar, in the covenant meal or sacrament of hospitality, brought about the custom of sacramental communion feasts with guests human and divine. And so, also, there came the rites of worship, with the altar of burnt sacrifice or of incense, and the marriage torch, and the doorway fire, and the threshold or hearthstone covenant at a wedding. Out of this thought there came gradually and naturally the prominence of the altar and the altar fire in private and public worship, as it obtains both in the simpler and in the more gorgeous ecclesiastical rituals.[600]

In conjunction with the place of fire on the family altar in the Threshold Covenant, there came naturally the recognition of fire and warmth and light as gifts of God for the promotion and preservation of life to those who were dependent on him. Thus the sun as the life-giving fire of the universe came to be recognized as a manifestation of God’s power and love. Its agency in bringing new life after death, in the course of the changing seasons, led men to connect the movements of the heavenly bodies with God’s dealings with man in the line of his covenant love. The too common mistake has been of thinking of this view of celestial nature as the origin of man’s religious rites, instead of as an outgrowth of the primal religious rite, which antedated man’s study of, or wonder over, the workings of the elements and the course of the heavenly bodies.

In summing up the results of such a study as this, of primitive customs and their outgrowth, it is necessary only to suggest a few of the more prominent lines of progress from the elemental beginning, leaving it to the student and thinker to follow out these, and to find others, in his more careful and further consideration of the subject in its varied ramifications. It is sufficient now to affirm that the Old Testament and the New point to this primitive rite of the Threshold Covenant as a basis of their common religious ritual; and that gleams of the same germinal idea show themselves in the best features of all the sacred books of the ages. It would be easy, did time and space allow, to follow out in detail the indications that all modes of worship in sacrifice, in oblation, in praise, and prayer, in act and in word, are but natural expressions of desire for covenant union with Deity, and of joy in the thought of its possession, as based on the fact of such covenanting sought and found in the primal religious rite of the human race.


With the world as it is, and with man as he is, every possibility of good has a corresponding possibility of evil. Good perverted becomes evil. Truth which, rightly used, proves a savor of life, will, when misused, prove a savor of death.[601] And that which is a symbol of truth becomes a means of misleading when looked at as if it were in itself the truth.

The primitive Threshold Covenant as an elemental religious rite was holy and pure, and had possibilities of outgrowth in the direction of high spiritual attainment and aspiring. But the temptation to uplift the agencies in this rite into objects deemed of themselves worthy of worship resulted in impurity and deterioration, by causing the symbol to hide the truth instead of disclosing it.

Among the earliest forms of a temple as a place of worship was the ziggurat, or stepped pyramid, erected as a mighty altar, with its shrine, or holy of holies, at the summit, wherein a bride of the gods awaited the coming of the deity to solemnize the primal Threshold Covenant in expression of his readiness to enter into loving communion with the children of men.[602] From this custom the practice of Threshold Covenanting at the temple doorways became incumbent on women of all conditions of society at certain times, and under certain circumstances, in certain portions of the world, as a proof of their religious devotion,[603] and thus there grew up all the excesses of sacred prostitution in different portions of the world.[604]

The prominence given to the two factors in the primitive Threshold Covenant as a sacred religious act, led to the perversion of the original idea by making the factors themselves objects of reverence and worship; and separately, or together, they came to be worshiped with impure and degrading accompaniments.

Reverence for the phallus, or for phallic emblems, shows itself in the earliest historic remains of Babylonia, Assyria, India, China, Japan, Persia, Phrygia, Phoenicia, Egypt, Abyssinia, Greece, Rome, Germany, Scandinavia, France, Spain, Great Britain, North and South America, and the Islands of the Sea. It were needless to attempt detailed proof of this statement, in view of all that has been written on the subject by historians, archæologists, and students of comparative religions.[605] It is enough to suggest that the mistake has too often been made of supposing that this “phallic worship” was a primitive conception of a religious truth, instead of a perversion of the earlier and purer idea which is at the basis of the highest religious conceptions, from the beginning until now.

Quite as widely extended, in both time and space, as the worship of the phallus as the symbol of masculine potency, is the recognition of the tree of life as the symbol of feminine nature in its fruit-bearing capacity. A single tree, or a grove of trees, or the lotus flower, the fig, or the pomegranate, with the peculiar form of their seed capsules, appear in all the earlier religious symbolisms, over against the phallus in its realistic or its conventional forms, as representative of reproductive life.[606]

In ancient Assyrian sculpture the most familiar representation of spiritual blessing was of a winged deity with a basket and a palm cone, touching with the cone a sacred tree, or again the person of a sovereign, as if imparting thereby some special benefit or power. This representation was long a mystery to the archeologist, but a recent scholar has shown that it is an illustration of a practice common in the East to-day, of carrying a cone of the male palm to a female palm tree, in order to vitalize it by the pollen.[607] The cone is one of the conventional forms of the phallus, worshiped as a symbol in the temples of the goddesses of the East in earlier days and later.[608] Hence this ancient Assyrian representation is an illustration of the truth that the primitive threshold covenant was recognized as the type of divine power, and covenant blessing, imparted to God’s representative, under the figure of the phallus and the tree.

It would seem, indeed, that the pillar and the tree came to be the conventional symbols of the male and female elements erected in front of an altar of worship,[609] and that, in the deterioration of the ages, these symbols themselves were worshiped, and their symbolism was an incentive to varied forms of impurity, instead of to holy covenanting with God and in God’s service. Therefore these symbols were deemed by true worshipers a perversion of an originally sacred rite, and their destruction was a duty with those who would restore God’s worship to its pristine purity.

Thus the command to Jehovah’s people as to their treatment of the people of Canaan was: “Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: but ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars [or male symbols], and ye shall cut down their Asherim [or trees as a female symbol]: for thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord [Jehovah], whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods.”[610] Here is a distinct reference to the primitive Threshold Covenant in its purity and sacredness, and to its perversion in the misuse of the phallus and tree in their symbolism.

Again the command was explicit to the Israelites: “Thou shalt not plant thee an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the Lord thy God, which thou shalt make thee. Neither shalt thou set thee up a pillar; which the Lord thy God hateth.”[611]

From the earliest historic times the serpent seems to have been accepted as a symbol of the nexus of union between the two sexes, and to be associated, therefore, with the pillar and the tree, as suggestive of the desire that may be good or evil, according to its right or wrong direction and use. Its place as a symbol has been at the threshold of palace and temple and home, with limitless powers of evil in its misuse.[612]

“Mighty snakes standing upright,” together with “mighty bulls of bronze” were “on the threshold of the gates” in ancient Babylon.[613] A serpent wreathed the phallus boundary stone (as if suggestive of its being a thing of life) on the threshold of Babylonian domains.[614] As a symbol of life and life-giving power the serpent stood erect above the head of the mightiest kings of Egypt, who gave and took life at their pleasure,[615] and it even accompanied the winged sun-orb in its manifestation of light and warmth and life over the grandest temples of ancient Thebes.[616] The Egyptian goddess Ket, or Kadesh, “Mistress of Heaven,” a divinity borrowed from the Semites, was represented as standing on a lioness, with lotus flowers, their stems coiled in circular form, in her right hand, and two serpents in her left hand, as she came with her offering to Min, or Khem, the god of generative force.[617] A similar representation of a goddess of life is found in ancient Assyrian remains.

In the representation of Nergal, the lord of the under world, in the ancient Babylonian mythology, the phallus and the serpent were identical.[618] Beltis-Allat, consort of Nergal, and lady of the under world, brandished a serpent in either hand. She was guardian of the waters of life which were under the threshold of the entrance of her realm.[619]

That which was primarily a holy instinct became, in its perversion, a source of evil and a cause of dread; hence the serpent became a representative of evil itself, and the conflict with it was the conflict between good and evil, between light and darkness. This is shown in the religions of ancient Babylonia, Egypt, and India, and Phœnicia and Greece, and Mexico and Peru, and various other countries.[620]

Vishnoo and his wife Lakshmi, from whom, according to Hindoo teachings, the world was produced, and by whom it continues or must cease, are represented as seated on a serpent, as the basis of their life and power.[621] Siva, also, giver and destroyer of life, is crowned with a serpent, and a serpent is his necklace, while the symbol of his worship is the linga in yoni.[622] A mode of Hindoo worship includes the placing of a stone linga between two serpents, and under two trees, the one a male tree and the other a female tree.[623] And in various ways the serpent appears, in connection with different Hindoo deities, as the agent of life-giving or of life-destroying.[624] A suggestive representation of Booddha as the conqueror of desire shows him seated restfully on a coiled serpent, the hooded head of which is a screen or canopy above his head.[625]

Apollo, son of Zeus, was the slayer of the man-destroying serpent at Delphi; yet the serpent, when conquered, became a means of life and inspiration to others.[626] Æsculapius, the god of healing, a son of Apollo, was represented by the serpent because he gave new life to those who were dying. Serpents were everywhere connected with his worship as a means of healing.[627] The female oracle who represented Apollo at Delphi sat on a tripod formed of entwined serpents.[628] Serpents on the head of Medusa were a means of death to the beholder; and these serpents were given to Medusa instead of hair because of her faithlessness and sacrilege in the matter of the Threshold Covenant.[629] Thus the good and the evil in that which the serpent symbolized were shown in the religions of the nations of antiquity, and serpent worship became one of the grossest perversions of the idea of the primitive Threshold Covenant.

As in the matter of phallic worship and tree worship, so in this of the worship of the serpent, it would seem unnecessary to multiply illustrations of its prominence in various lands, when so many special treatises on the subject are already available.[630] It is only necessary to emphasize anew the fact that the evident thought of the symbol is an outgrowth or a perversion of the idea of the primitive Threshold Covenant.

The form of the Bible narrative, portraying the first temptation and the first sin, seems to show how early the symbolism of the tree and the serpent was accepted in popular speech. From that narrative as it stands it would appear that the first act of human disobedience was incontinence, in transgression of a specific command to abstain, at least for a time, from carnal intercourse. Desire, as indicated by the serpent, prompted to an untimely partaking of the fruit of the forbidden tree, and the consequences of sin followed. The results of this act of disobedience, as recorded in the sacred text,[631] make evident the correctness of this view of the case. When the Bible narrative was first written, whenever that was, the terms “tree,”[632] “fruit” of the tree,[633] “knowledge,”[634] “serpent,” were familiar figures of speech or euphemisms, and their use in the Bible narrative would not have been misunderstood by readers generally. Probably there was no question as to this for many centuries. It was not until the dull prosaic literalism of the Western mind obscured the meaning of Oriental figures of speech that there was any general doubt as to what was affirmed in the Bible story of the first temptation and disobedience.[635]

Philo Judæus at the beginning of the Christian era, seems to understand this as the meaning of the narrative in Genesis, and he applies the teachings of that narrative accordingly.[636] There are indications that the rabbis looked similarly at the meaning of the Bible text. There are traces of this traditional view in different Jewish writings.[637]

Evidently the original meaning was still familiar in the early Christian ages. But its becoming connected with false doctrines and heresies, as taught by the Ophites and other Gnostic sects, seems to have brought the truth itself into disrepute, and finally led to its repudiation in favor of a dead literalism.[638] The curse resting on the serpent, in consequence of the first sin of incontinence, was the degradation of the primitive impulse,[639] unless uplifted again by divine inspiration.[640] Because of their breach of the covenant of divine love our first parents were expelled from their home of happiness, and the guardians of the threshold forbade their return to it.[641]

In the closing chapters of the New Testament, as in the opening chapters of the Old, the symbolism of the tree and the serpent, and the covenant relations involved in crossing the threshold, appear as familiar and well-understood figures of speech. “The dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan,”[642] representing unholy desire, is shut out from the precincts of the New Jerusalem. Within the gates of that city is there the tree of life watered by the stream that flows from under the throne of power.[643] The city threshold is the dividing line between light and darkness, good and evil, life and death. “Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to come to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city. Without are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the fornicators, and the murderers, and the idolators, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie.”[644]

Thus it is in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, at their beginning and at their close. And there are traces of the same truth in the teachings of the various religions, and of the more primitive customs and symbolisms. The all-dividing threshold separates the within from the without; and a covenant welcome there gives one a right to enter in through the gates into the eternal home, to be a partaker of the tree of life, with its ever-renewing and revivifying fruits.




In Ægypto Superiori, quemadmodum in aliis regionibus, ubi mores prisci praeservati vigent, matrimonium eousque non consummatur, donec, examine instituto, sponsus sanguinem, ceu testimonium virginitatis sponsae elicuerit. Linteolum quoddam singulare, mucinii vel mappae speciem prae se ferens, a parentibus sponsae ad obryssam hanc praeparatur.

Quum sponsus vigilia nuptiarum sponsam convenit, linteolum istud digito circumvolvit, atque periculum virginitatis instituit. Sanguis linteolum maculis cruentans fit insigne ac testimonium sponsi autographum virginitatis sponsae intemeratae atque comprobatae, necnon tessera eius in uxorem accitae. Ipsum linteolum, manu sua cruenta quasi sigillo signatum, parentibus, qui illud, tamquam indubitatum castitatis filiae suae virginalis servatae testimonium, insimul et pignus sacri foederis sui connubii custodiant, thesauri instar recondendum redditur. Receptio pignoris evidentiaeque tarn castitatis illibatae quam matrimonii iuncti, inter amicos, qui prae foribus cubiculi nuptialis adventum linteoli praestolantur, causa exsistit gaudii laetitiaeque exsultantis.

Verumenimvero si nec manamen sanguinis, nec rubrum manus cruentatae vestigium occasione istiusmodi se prodiderint, turba amicorum in limine conclavis nuptialis praestolantium, loco exsultationis laetae moerore tristi luget atque plangorem eiulatumque saevum ciet; aut vero silentium, eloquens luctus indicium, inter eos regnat, nam dolor est illatus domui decore honoris orbatae, cuius parem ne mors ipsa quidem gignere possit. Si res sic se habent, sponsa libello repudii, absque vinculo connubii, a sponso dimittitur. Ast si digitus suus tactu cruore manante contaminetur, ab ipso eo momento sua fit uxor, etiamsi consummatio coniugii, ut moris est, ad usque triduum aut hebdomadem differatur.[646]

Id quod foedus inter se suamque sponsam figit atque sancit, est cruoris tactu sponsi eliciti profluvium. Meatum in penetralia suae essentiae incisione aperiens, sponsus “caedit foedus” cum ea in conspectu sui Creatoris, ad litteram.[647] Sponsus “nocte nuptiarum sanguinem virginalem offerens,” fit sponsus sanguineus, “khatan damim.”[648] In hoc rerum statu divulsio est quod coniungit, atque vestigium manus cruentum est quod instrumentum foederis subministrat.

Sponsus, loco proprii digiti ansa interdum clavis ianuae ligneae pristinae, specie digito simili, quae linteolo hoc obvolvitur, examen instituit, eo quod haec, aperiendo penetralia intemerata, quae penetrare[649] praeter se liceat nemini, actum reseratus imagine quadam symbolica significet. Signaculum tamen cruentum in linteolo utroque in casu eiusdem omnino est momenti.

Pari modo camisia sponsae communis, loco mucinii vel telae, soluit notam manus cruentae recipere, quae ut testimonium matrimonii identidem custodiri consuevit. Caeterum hae sunt moris vigentis variationes exiliores, nec quae referantur dignae, nisi ut declarent, quam sint testimonia variorum, qui haec perhibuerint, secum pugnantia.[650]


In Syria, veluti in Ægypto, tela cruenta, vel indusium sanguine maculatum loco probae castitatis testimoniique matrimonii habetur. In Sinis “linteolum” ferculo a famulo offertur sponso, ubi is cubiculum nuptiale primum intrat, quod his thalamo insternit, parentibus sponsae, sanguine inquinatum ad praeservandum traditurus.[651] Apud Dahomeanos thalamus, nocte nuptiarum gossypina nova impressa (vulgo “calico”) consternitur, postero autem die, si cuncta e sententia successerint, godo (ligatura, quae Anglis “T bandage” sonat) ad amicos sponsae cum triumpho deportatur ... dum sponsus lodiculam thalami exhibet.[652]

In Ægypto indumenta nuptialia, vestigiis manus cruentae notata, “erant post nuptias supra fores domus rustici suspensa.”[653] Alias sponsa poterat postridie nuptiarum amicis se sistere indusio sanguine maculato supra alias vestes induta, atque in responsum coram eis congratulantibus saltare rogata.[654] Soluit, porro, indusium hoc amicis visum venientibus exhiberi, aut vero ad examinandum a vicinis in domos circumferri.[655] Mores consimiles in quibusdam etiam Syriae partibus usuvenerunt.

Ubi mappa vel pannus specialis in Ægypto Superiori adhibetur, haec, quamprimum madere cruore contingat, a sponso mulieribus praestolantibus foras exporrigitur. Mater sponsae, eam obtentam marito tradit, hic autem tiarae (Turcis turban) suae apponit, seque primoribus senioribusque populi in aedibus suis ut hospites congregatis sistit. Hi, testimonium istud illibatae filiae suae castitatis servatae intelligentes, atque insimul eam nunc foedere matrimonii in uxorem accitam, inclinatione reverenter facta, ei apprecantes aiunt: “Fidem facio.”[656]

In oris Africae occiduis, apud populos magis primaevos, indumentum sanguine commaculatum vicinis exhiberi consuevit. Quinimo et apud humaniores Christianorum gentes mos viget vestem hanc die Solis post nuptias in fana, ut a cunctis cernatur, deferendi atque exhibendi.[657] Siquidem absque veste hac cruentata indicium matrimonii est nullum.

Ritus nuptiales apud veteres Aztec atque Nahuas, gentes Americae Centralis, a ritibus Ariorum priscorum haud fuerunt absimiles. Quum enim sponsa a suis amicis ad novum deduceretur domicilium, ibidem a sponso excipiebatur. Utrisque erat thuribulum thusque cremabant, in matta coram focum domesticum simul sedentes. Tum sacerdos accessit, atque eos ritu sacro in matrimonium coniugavit. Hinc se in fanum contulerunt, in limine cuius sacerdotes praestolantes eos exceperunt. In cubiculo proprio in fano morantes, triduum tresque noctes exercitiis pietatis dediti, secum ipsis transigere debebant, tribus vetulis custoditi atque invigilati. Nocte quarta, quum connubium consummandum erat, sacerdotes duo thalamum suum praepararunt, tumque relicti sunt secum ipsi soli. “Nonnullis in locis proba virginitatis iuvencae postridie nuptiarum postulabatur. In quibuslibet nuptiis moris erat ut sponsores cubiculum, ubi nupturientes pernoctassent, intrarent, atque camisiam sponsae tradi postularent; quam, si cruore infectam reperissent, foras proferrent, perticae appenderent, atque ceu testimonium, sponsam virginem fuisse, visui exhiberent; tum choreae institutae totaque loca peragrata saltando, debacchando summaque laetitia exsultando; quae omnia ‘camisiam saltare’ appellari consueverunt. Si quando camisiam sanguine non maculari contigerit, gaudia lacrymis ac plangori cesserunt locum, non secus ac maledicta, sugillationes dicteriaque soluerunt in sponsam iactari, insimul vero et marito ius erat eam libello repudii donare.”[658]

“Si Muhammadanus puellam in uxorem ducit, atque lege pacti connubialis eam virginem castam esse oportere stipulaverit, indicia eiusdem interdum exigere consuevit. Quandoquidem familia eam, casu quo indicio hoc caruerit, repudio remittendam exspectare debeat, pater sollicita cura cavebit ut habeat quo se, si forte filia sua iacturam indicii virginitatis fecisset, purgare possit. Halebii versanti mihi audire contigit Arabem quemdam a Cadi documentum impetrasse, atque a testibus subsignari curasse, quo ostenderetur filiam camelo delapsam detrimentum tulisse.

“Muhammadani, de foeminis suis interrogati, aegre invitique respondent. Attamen post longam diuturnamque cum iis consuetudinem, data occasione, contigit mihi hac de re cum quibusdam eorum disseruisse, ex quo intellexi Arabes humaniores linteaminibus sordidatis parum fidei praestare.... Viri interdum deliquium cruoris, velut testimonium debilitatis propriae, vulgo innotescere abnuunt.

“Muhammadanis in Iemen atque in India persuasum est aiuntque lintea infecta visui offerre viro perquam dedecere. Nec profecto, nisi curiositas muliebris atque agnati, res huiusmodi insectantur. A mente sana neminem tam alienum existimandum arbitrantur quam quibus haec praeservanda videantur. Proinde linteum hoc apud eos eluitur traditurque ut usui consueto inter linteamina domestica restituatur. Percontanti mihi Iudaeus quidam de Iudaeis et Muhammadanis Muscatensibus, Christianus vero aliquis de Christianis et Muhammadanis Halebitis idem significaverat. Busrae tamen audisse mihi licuit dari mulieres ordinis plebeii, quae tesseram hanc pristinae suae castitatis velut vindicias praeservare solitae sint, nequis ganeo protervus de eius post pubertatem moribus quasi ambiguis sermocinari sibi praesumpserit.”[659]


Quum in Arabia sponsa quaedam virginitatis orba sponso a parentibus imponitur, mater sponsae turturillam clam iugulat, eiusque sanguine camisiam sponsae, antequam illa amicis visui exhibeatur, tingit atque commaculat. Ad mores hos in fabulis “Noctium Mille et Unius” haud tam infrequenter referimur.[660] Burton haec interpretans ait: “Vetus ac venerabilis consuetudo linteum nuptiale visendi in plurimis Orientis regionibus pietate quadam religiosa adhuc praeservata viget; in familiis enim Muhammedanis, moribus priscis addictis, linteum hoc in gynaeceo, ut cernatur, expositum prostat, ut ... filiam marito illibatam se obtulisse ostendat testeturque.... Opinio popularis praevalet nullam sanguinem posse peritos, h. e. matronas iuratrices, fallere, praeterquam sanguis turturillae, utpote qui sanguini hymenaeo existimetur esse simillimus, nisi indages adminiculo microscopii instituatur. Fides haec apud Europae Australis populos bene universa est, tum etiam de re eadem in Anglia quoque me audisse memini.”[661] Burton porro subiungit: “Arabes atque Indi in diebus nostris linteum nuptiale indagare, quemadmodum apud Iudaeos Persasque usuvenit, raro sinunt. Sponsa mucinium candidum secum in lectum sumit, ut habeat quo cruorem manantem sopiat, postridie autem mane maculae in gynaeceo propalantur. In Darfuria vero, regione Africae, hoc ipsum a sponso perficitur.”[662]

Apud Morduinos, gentem Fennicam, accolas Rha, mores prisci vigent.[663] Consuetudinem testimonium virginitatis exhibendi, vel in eius locum sanguinem pulli gallinacei substituendi, velut in partibus Asiae atque Africae, in his Europae Septemtrione-Orientalis plagis ad usque modo reperiri licet. “In comitatu Crasnaslobodsceno, Provinciae Pensae, mulier neo-nupta e thalamo arcessitur, atque in camisia sua cruore commaculata (si opus sit, etiam sanguine pulli gallinacei) a duabus amicis labrum vacuum secum baiulantibus, vetulaque panem secum portante, ad fluvium proximum deducitur. In iis autem regionibus, ubi Morduini Russorum moribus sunt magis imbuti, hospites nuptiales, quamprimum virginitas sit comprobata, quidquid ipsis sub manus cadat, ut suum gaudium reverentiamque rite significent, confringunt atque comminuunt.[664]


Navarchus Cook, in Chronico sui primi circum orbem itineris de Fœdere Liminari, ceu modo cultus publici in Otaheita, seu Tahiti, sequentia refert:

“Die 14-mo (Maii), qui erat Solis, in castris cultum divinum celebrandum iussi; maximopere desiderabamus ut principes Indorum huic interessent, at hi, quum hora appropinquasset, domum discesserunt. Verumtamen Dñus Banks, traiecto flumine, Tuburai Tamaide suamque uxorem Tomio, secum reduxit, fore enim sperabat, ut cultus noster ab iis percontationes quasdam eliceret, non secus ac nobis instrui liceret: quum eos discumbere iussisset, ipse in medio eorum discubuit, qui durantibus ceremoniis suum agendi modum summa animadversione sunt prosecuti actionesque imitati; stantes, considentes, genua flectentes, prout eum facere videbant: haud erant nimirum ignari apud nos quiddam solemnis agi atque serii, ut hoc vel inde concludi potuerit, quod hi suos populares praeter castra tripudiantes clamando ad silentiam servandum cohortati fuissent; attamen cultu absoluto, neuter percontabatur quid rei gestum esset, nec ullis volebant tentaminibus res gestas explicandi aures praebere.

“Talia erant nostra officia matutina; Indi vero nostri vesperas toto coelo diversas iudicarunt esse offerendas. Vir quidam iuvenis, procerus, fere sex pedes, ritus Veneris cum pupula vix undenorum vel duodenorum annorum, pluribus nostrum magnoque popularium numero coram intuentibus, perfecit, quin actum dedecere, vel bonis adversari moribus senserit; verum, ut concludere licuit, moribus illius regionis omnino congruenter. Erant autem in turba inspectante non paucae mulieres ordinum superiorum, in specie autem Oberea (mulier principalis illius Insulae, quae primum regina esse reputabatur), quae ad ceremonias ministrasse iure dici potest; nam mulieres hae puellam monendo instituebant quemadmodum vidl. sibi sua parte muneris obeundum esset.”[665]

Quum apud Samoanos nuptiae cuiusdam optimatum in diebus primaevis celebrabantur, partes agnatique sponsae in maroe, seu foro publico congregabantur, ubi sponsus, cunctis intuentibus, primam virginitatis sponsae obryssam instituit. Si documentum virginitatis ab eo exhiberi potuerat, coetus omnis exsurrexit complosisque manibus sponsae gratulabundus acclamavit; at, si quo casu proba haec defuerit, eam probris scommatibusque lacessiverant. Apud plebem humilem ritus his in aedibus privatis, nec tanta pompa celebrabatur.[666]


A distinct reference to the proofs of chastity, in the blood-stamped cloth, is found in the Bible record of the ancient law of Israel. “If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, and lay shameful things to her charge, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came nigh to her, I found not in her the tokens of virginity: then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: and the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; and, lo, he hath laid shameful things to her charge, saying, I found not in thy daughter the tokens of virginity; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the garment [or cloth, Hebrew simlah] before the elders of the city.

“And the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him; and they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. But if this thing be true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the damsel: then they shall bring out the damsel to the doors of her father’s house, and the men of the city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the harlot in her father’s house.”[667]


In different languages and among various peoples there is, as already suggested,[668] an apparent connection between the terms, and the corresponding ideas, of “woman” and “door,” that would seem to be a confirmation of the fact that the earliest altar was at the threshold of the woman, and of the door.

Thus, in the Song of Songs 8 : 8, 9:–

“We have a little sister,
And she hath no breasts:
What shall we do for our sister
In the day when she shall be spoken for?
If she be a wall,
We will build upon her a turret of silver:
And if she be a door,
We will inclose her with boards of cedar.”

Job, cursing the day of his birth, says (Job 3 : 1–10):

“Let the day perish wherein I was born,
And the night which said, There is a man child conceived....
Neither let it behold the eyelids of the morning:
Because it shut not up the doors of my mother’s womb,
Nor hid trouble from mine eyes.”

Referring to this passage, the Babylonian Talmud (Treatise Bechoroth, 45 a) quotes Rabbi Eliezer as saying, “Just as a house has doors, so also a woman has doors.” Others say: “Just as a house has keys [miphteakh, literally ‘opener’], so the woman has a key; for it is said (Gen. 30 : 22) ‘God hearkened to her, and opened [a play upon patakh, ‘to open,’ and miphteakh, ‘key’] her womb.’” The famous Rabbi Akibah says: “Just as a house has hinges, so there are hinges to a wife; for it is written (1 Sam. 4 : 19), ‘She kneeled and gave birth, for her hinges had turned’ [translating ṣîrîm (or tseereem) as ‘hinges’ instead of ‘pains’; the word has the former meaning in Proverbs 26 : 14, ‘As the door turneth upon its hinges, so doth the sluggard upon his bed.’]”

The Talmudic treatise Middâ (Mishna § 2, 5) explains the different parts of the womb under the metaphors khĕdĕr, “interior chamber;” pʾrosdôr, “vestibule;” ʿalîyyâ, “upper story.”[669] Professor Dr. Morris Jastrow, Jr., in citing these metaphors, suggests that they coincide with the Arabic and Egyptian custom of using a key in the marriage rite, as described at page 244.

Critics have long puzzled over the seemingly contradictory uses of the Hebrew word pôth in two places in the Old Testament; and the connection of “woman” and “door” with the parts thereof, above suggested, may aid in resolving the difficulty. At 1 Kings 7 : 50, in a list of the holy vessels of the house of the Lord, there are mentioned “the hinges (Heb., pôthôth), both for the doors of the inner house, the most holy place, and for the doors of the house, to wit, of the temple, of gold.” At Isaiah 3 : 17 the same word poth is translated “their secret parts,” in a reference to the humiliation of “the daughters of Zion.” It has been suggested by some that there was a corruption of the text in Isaiah. (See Delitzsch and Dillmann, in their commentaries at this place.) Yet in view of the rabbinical uses of language, the text would seem to be trustworthy. Pôth is an “opening,” of a woman or of a door. Additional light is thrown on the use of the term pôth as “opening” and as “hinge,” or “socket,” when we bear in mind that the hinge of an Oriental door was a hole, or cavity, or door socket, on which the door turned, in order to give an opening or entrance. Often these door sockets were made of metal,–bronze, silver, or gold.[670] Sometimes the entire thresholds, in which were these sockets or “basons,” were of metal. If, however, the threshold was of stone or wood, the socket, or a plate with a depression in it, was of metal. The pôth, therefore, when referring to a door, was the metal plate or socket in the threshold on which the door turned as on a hinge.

It is, indeed, possible that the opening or cavity in the ancient stone or metal threshold was sometimes the bason, or vessel, into which the covenanting blood was poured.[671] In that case, the correspondence of the opening of the woman, and the socket of the threshold, would be more obvious. Important inscriptions are usually found at or around these so-called “door sockets,” in Babylonian relics; and there is still doubt in many minds whether these cavities were always hinge sockets.

The word “hinges,” or “hangers,” is at the best an inaccurate and misleading term, as applied to the pivots or knuckles on which an ancient door swung in its socket. Ancient doors were not hung on hinges, but they swung on pivots. Instead of a hinge, there was a knuckle or pintle, with a corresponding socket, or cavity, or opening, in the threshold or door-sill. Both Gesenius[672] and Stade[673] give “socket” as one of the meanings of pôth. The plural, pôthoth, of course, refers to the sockets of two leaves of a double door on one threshold.

When Samson was shut in at Gaza by the Philistines, the double leaves of the city gate were held together by a bar, without the lifting of which the doors could not be opened. “And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and laid hold of the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts [the upright stiles, at the bottom of which were the knuckles that turned in the threshold sockets], and plucked them up, bar [cross-bar or latch] and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is before Hebron.”[674]

I have in my possession a bronze door-socket and knuckle of an ancient gate or door, unearthed from a mound in the vicinity of Ghuzzeh, the site of ἡ τύχηancient Gaza, that meets this description.

In primitive symbolism, as shown in Babylonia, Egypt, and India, the circle or ring, like this socket, represents woman.

It would be interesting, in this connection, to follow out the meanings and uses of the Greek words πυθμήν (puthmēn), root φυ (phu); and φλιή (phliē), doorpost, root φλι (phli); compare φλέω (phleō), φίλος (philos). It is evident that the twofold idea of the threshold of life, and the threshold, or sockets, of the door, is in the uses of these terms and their derivatives in earlier and later Greek. But only this suggestion can be made here.

The correspondence of “woman” and “door,” or of “wife” and “threshold,” in the Arabic, has already been pointed out.[675] A similar suggestion is in Sanskrit terms.[676]

In Germany, even at the present time, a common term for “woman” is “woman chamber” (frauenzimmer), as in Arabic hareema is a woman, while hareem is the women’s apartment. A remark attributed to a prominent American clergyman, as showing the naturalness of the figure of woman as a door, is: “He who marries a wife opens a door, through which unborn generations shall troop.”

A Chinese character is the representation of “threshold,” of “door,” and also of “woman.”[677] It is suggested by the lexicographer that the origin of this character was a small door in a large gate, as the inner door to the hareem or women’s apartments; but it seems probable, from the correspondence of this twofold idea with the primitive thought of woman as the door of humanity, that the Chinese character must have had an origin prior to that degree of civilization which recognized such a classification in household apartments. The combination of “door” and “border” is another Chinese character[678] that stands for “threshold” or “door-sill.”[679] Confucius said that this

threshold “should not be trodden on when walking through” the door.


As showing the antiquity, as well as the universality, of the symbolism of the two sexes as the source of life, in connection with reverent worship, an illustration of the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead is noteworthy. In a vignette on Chapter CXXV, in the Papyrus Ani, a worshiper, is represented before the throne of Osiris, in the Hall of Righteousness, with uplifted hands, in token of covenant worship, while his offering is a lotus flower, the symbol of fecundity, laid on the conventional phallus, the symbol of virility.[680] This vignette is reproduced on the cover of this volume. The lotus flower has the same signification in Assyria and India as in Egypt.[681]

The pine cone, which, as the symbol of virility and vitalizing force, was prominent in the ancient Assyrian sculptures, as also in the Phenician and Grecian cults,[682] was likewise to be found in ancient Rome. An enormous bronze pine cone, eleven feet high, probably older than the Christian era, still ornaments a fountain in the gardens of the Vatican. Lanciani says: “Pope Symmachus, who did so much toward the embellishment of sacred edifices in Rome (between 498 and 514), removed the pine cone from its ancient place, most probably from Agrippa’s artificial lake in the Campus Martius, and used it for adorning the magnificent fountain which he had built in the center of the so-called ‘Paradise’ of S. Peter’s, viz., in the center of the square portico in front of the basilica.”[683]

Among the Pompeian relics in the Royal Museum at Naples is a representation of a woman making an offering to Priapus in order to be cured of sterility. She brings a pine cone, while her husband is near her.[684]

Evidences of the fact that boundary posts, landmarks, and milestones were intended to represent the phallus at the threshold in the Roman empire, as in the far East, abound among the same relics in the Neapolitan Museum.[685]


A striking confirmation of the view taken in this work of the symbolism of the serpent, as the nexus between the two sexes, the female being represented by the fig-tree, and the male by the upright stone, or pole,[686] is found in an ancient religious custom in Mysore, India. Captain J.S.F. Mackenzie contributed an interesting paper on this subject to the “Indian Antiquary.”[687] “Round about Bangalore, more especially towards the Lal Bagh and Petta,–as the native town is called,–three or more stones are to be found together, having representations of serpents carved upon them. These stones are erected always under the sacred fig-tree by some pious person, whose means and piety determine the care and finish with which they are executed. Judging from the number of the stones, the worship of the serpent appears to be more prevalent in the Bangalore district than in other parts of the province. No priest is ever in charge of them. There is no objection to men doing so, but from custom, or for some reason,–perhaps because the serpent is supposed to confer fertility on barren women,–the worshiping of the stones, which takes place during the Gauri feast, is confined to women of all Hindu classes and creeds. The stones, when properly erected, ought to be on a built-up stone platform facing the rising sun, and under the shade of two peepul (Ficus religiosa) trees,–a male and female growing together, and wedded by ceremonies, in every respect the same as in the case of human beings,–close by, and growing in the same platform a nimb (margosa) and bipatra (a kind of wood-apple), which are supposed to be living witnesses of the marriage. The expense of performing the marriage ceremony is too heavy for ordinary persons, and so we generally find only one peepul and a nimb on the platform. By the common people these two are supposed to represent man and wife.”


An American gentleman traveling among the Scandinavian immigrants in Wisconsin and Minnesota, was surprised to see their house doors quite generally standing open, as if they had no need of locks and bolts. He argued from this that they were an exceptionally honest people, and that they had no fear of thieves and robbers. A Scandinavian clergyman, being asked about this, said that they had thieves in that region, but that thieves would not cross a threshold, or enter a door, with evil intent, being held back by a superstitious fear of the consequences of such a violation of the covenant obligation incurred in passing over the threshold.

I asked a native Syrian woman, “If a thief wanted to get into your house to steal from you, would he come in at the door, if he saw that open?” “Oh, no!” she answered, “he would come in at the window, or would dig in from behind.” “Why wouldn’t he come in at the door?” I asked. “Because his reverence would keep him from that,” she said, in evident reference to the superstitious dread of crossing a threshold with evil intent,–a dread growing out of an inborn survival of reverence for the primitive altar, with the sacredness of a covenant entered into by its crossing.

The very term commonly employed in the New Testament for thieving indicates the “digging through” a building, instead of entering by the door. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust doth consume, and where thieves break through [literally, dig through; Greek, diorussō and steal.”[688] “If the master of the house had known in what hour the thief was coming, he would have watched, and not have left his house to be digged through.”[689]

Canon Tristram tells of an Adwan shaykh who was proud of being a “robber,” a “highwayman,” but who resented the idea that he was a “thief,”–a “sneak thief.” “I am not a thief,” he said; “I do not dig into the houses of fellaheen in the night. I would scorn it. I only take by force in the day time. And, if God gives me strength, shall I not use it?” Canon Tristram adds: “A ‘thief,’ as distinguished from a ‘robber,’ would never think of attempting to force the door, but would noiselessly dig through a wall in the rear,–a work of no great labor, as the walls are generally of earth, or sun-dried bricks, or, at best, of stone imbedded in turf instead of in mortar.”[690]

A former missionary in Palestine[691] says: “Digging through the wall is the common method pursued by housebreakers in Palestine, and, save in the cities, the operation is not one of great difficulty. Windows, in our sense, do not exist in the houses of the villagers; ... but the walls, built of roughly broken stones and mud, are easily, and by a skilled hand almost noiselessly, penetrated. One night, about midnight, I was driven from my resting-place under a stunted olive-tree in the plain of Sharon by a terrific thunderstorm, and took refuge in the miserable fellahy village of Kalansaweh. A good woman unbarred her door and admitted me to a single apartment, in which, on the ground level, were several sheep and cattle, with an ass, and on the higher level a pretty large family asleep, all dimly discerned by the light of a little oil lamp stuck in a crevice of the wall. The atmosphere was awful. I asked why they did not have a window or opening in the wall. The woman held up her hands in amazement. ‘What!’ she exclaimed, ‘and assist the robbers [“thieves”]?’... The robbers [‘thieves’], she explained, were the Arabs in the plain. Greater rascals do not exist. They were great experts, she explained, in ‘digging through’ the houses; to put a window in the wall would only tempt them, and facilitate their work.”

Now, as of old, among the more primitive pastoral people of Palestine, “He that entereth not by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.... The thief cometh not, but that he may steal, and kill, and destroy.”[692]

I remember now, what I did not realize the meaning of at the time, that while I was journeying in Arabia we did not set a watch before the entrance of our tents, when we were near a village; but the guards were at the rear of the tents, to watch against thieves, who would crawl underneath the canvas to steal what they might.

It seems to have been a custom in medieval times, and probably earlier, for the besiegers in war time to endeavor to enter a city which they would sack through a breach in the walls, or by scaling the walls, rather than by entering the gates. On the other hand, if a conqueror would protect the inhabitants of a captured city, he would pass in through the opened gates. To deliver up the keys of the city gates to a hostile commander was equivalent to capitulating or making formal terms of surrender. In the military museum at Berlin are preserved the keys of cities captured by the emperors of Germany at various times along the centuries.

There is a trace of this custom of besiegers, even in Old Testament times, in the injunctions to Israel with reference to its warfares: “When thou drawest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it [proffer quarter]. And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open [the gates] unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall become tributary unto thee, and shall serve thee. And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it: and when the Lord thy God delivereth it into thine hand, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword.”[693]

It has been suggested on a former page,[694] but perhaps not sufficiently explained, that this idea of subjecting one’s self to the covenant obligations of citizenship by passing through the city gates, over the threshold, had to do with the Grecian custom of welcoming back to his own city the victor in the Olympian games through a breach in the walls, instead of through the gate. The meaning of this Greek custom (continued in Rome) was not clear in the days of Plutarch, and he, in seeking to account for it, suggests that it may have been intended to show that a city having such men among its citizens needed no walls of defense.[695] But, as they rebuilt their walls after the entrance of the victor, this explanation is not satisfactory. The world-wide recognition of the covenant obligations of a passage through a gate over the threshold is a more satisfactory explanation. If the victor, on returning in triumph from the games, were to enter his city through the gates, like any other citizen, he would be subject to the laws of the city as a citizen or a guest; but if the city would recognize him as a conqueror, at home as well as at Olympia, they would let him come in through a breach in the walls. In this act the citizens nominally submitted themselves to him; and a city thus entered, and, as it were, captured, often felt that it received more honor from its victor than it could confer upon him.[696]


A “porter” and a “porter” are two very different persons, as the terms are employed in both Europe and America. We speak of a porter as a menial who carries burdens, such as parcels or baggage, a mere carrier for hire. Again, we speak of a porter as the attendant at, or the custodian of, the entrance gate of a mansion or public building. In the one case the porter is a very humble personage, in the other case he is a person of responsibility and importance. How it came about that the same term is applied to both these personages is worth considering, in view of its bearing on the importance of the door and the gate.

It is said to have been a custom of the ancient Etruscans and Romans, and perhaps of older peoples, in laying out the foundations of a city, to mark first the compass of the whole city with a plow. When they came to those places where they were to have the gates of the city, they took up the plow and carried it across the gateway, “transported” the plow at that space. It is said that from this custom the Latin word porta came to apply to “a gate,” “a portando aratrum,” “from carrying the plow,”–porta, in Latin, meaning “to carry.” Whether or not the traditional custom referred to had a historical basis, it will be seen that the mere fact of the tradition will account for the twofold use, in languages derived from the Latin, of the word “porter” as a carrier, and again as a doorkeeper, or a gate watcher, or a guardian of the threshold. Apart from the question of the origin of the terms, we find that the porter or carrier is one who goes through the gate as the place of entrance or exit in his carryings; or, again, the porter or guardian of the gate is one who watches the place of carryings, and of outgoing and incoming.

Among the stories told of the founding of Rome by Romulus, it is said that at the threshold of this enterprise the people kindled fires before their tents, and then leaped through or over the flames.[697] In connection with this ceremony sacrifices were offered, and offerings of the first-fruits of forest and field were made to the gods.[698] A heifer and a bull were yoked to the plow, as in symbol of marriage, and afterwards were offered in sacrifice, thus supplying the symbolic blood on the threshold of the new city.[699] Plutarch, it is true, thinks that, in consequence of this custom of laying out a city, the walls of a city, except the gates, were counted sacred; but in this, as in other matters relating to the threshold,[700] it is evident that Plutarch was not sure to be correct as to the meaning of archaic customs.

There seems to be force in the suggestion that the two Latin words, porta and porto, like the Greek poros, were derived from the common Aryan root par or por, “to go,” “to bring over,” “to pass through.”[701] However this may be, we have the common English use of the term “port” in words meaning a door or entrance, and again a carrying or a place of carriage, as “export,” “import,” “transport,” “portico,” “porthole,” “portfolio,” etc.

An illustration of the twofold use of the word is found in the word “a portage” or “a carry” as the designation of “a break in a chain of water communication over which goods, boats, etc., have to be carried, as from one lake or river to another.” It is not merely that this is a place where a canoe, or other luggage, must be carried, but it is the definite “carry” or “portage,” the bridge, or isthmus, or door, or threshold,[702] by which they enter another region. This is the common American use of the term in pioneer life.[703]


As these pages are going to press, Dr. Sailer calls my attention to the phrase לעבר בבריתlʾvr vvrt laʿabhor bibereeth, to enter, or pass over, into a covenant. This phrase, as Dr. Driver[704] points out, is found only in one place, at Deuteronomy 29 : 12. “That thou shouldest enter [or pass] into the covenant of the Lord thy God, and into his oath, which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day.”

It is evident that here is the idea of passing over a line or boundary, or threshold limit, into another region, or state or condition. Until that threshold is crossed, the person is outside of the covenant with its privileges and benefits; but when it is crossed, or passed, the person is a partaker of all that is within.

This word ʿabhar corresponds with, while it differs from, the word pasakh. The two words have, indeed, been counted by some lexicographers as practically equivalents. Thus Fürst[705] gives “pasakh=ʿabhar.” In the covenant which Jehovah makes with Abraham, for himself and his posterity (Gen. 15 : 1–21), when the heifer and the she goat and the ram had been slaughtered and divided, and the pieces laid over against each other as two walls, or sides of a door, with the blood probably poured out on the earth as a threshold between, “a smoking furnace and a flaming torch,”–representing the divine presence–“passed,” or covenant-crossed, the blood on the threshold “between these pieces,” between these fleshly walls or door-posts of the sacrifice.[706]

In Jeremiah 34 : 18, the word appears in its twofold signification, in conjunction with a similar double use of the word karath (“to cut”). Jehovah says, “I will give the men that have transgressed [ʿabhar, crossed or passed] my covenant, ... which they made [cut] before me when they cut the calf in twain and passed [over its blood] between the parts thereof.” Again, in Amos 7 : 8, Jehovah says of his reprobate people, “I will not again pass by [ʿabhar] them [covenant-cross them] any more.”

There seems to be a trace of this cross-over, or pass-over, covenant idea in the references to the passing through the fire in the worship of false gods, as at 2 Kings 16 : 3, where King Ahaz is said to have “walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through [ʿʿabhar] the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen.”[707] It is evident that this passing through the fire in honor of a false god was not the being thrown into the fire as a burnt offering; for such sacrifices are referred to by themselves, as at Deuteronomy 12 : 31, where it is said of the people of Jehovah that “even their sons and their daughters do they burn [saraph] in the fire to their gods.”[708] In the same chapter of 2 Kings (17 : 17, 31) the two phrases of causing children to “pass through” the fire, and of “burning” children in the fire, are separately referred to, in illustration of the fact that they are not one and the same thing.

It has already been shown[709] that jumping across, or being lifted over, a fire, at the threshold, is an ancient mode of covenanting, still surviving in many marriage or other customs; and that the blood of both human and substitute sacrifices has often been poured out at the same primitive altar.

Under the figure of a marriage covenant Jehovah speaks, in Ezekiel 16 : 8, of entering into a covenant, when he takes the virgin Israel as his bride: “Yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.” Here the more common word bo is used for the idea of entering; but its connection with the covenant of marriage would seem to connect it, like the other words, pasach and ʿabhar, with the thought of crossing over the threshold or barrier into a new state.


A notable survival of the primitive reverence for the one foundation, or the original threshold, as the earliest place of sacrifice and covenanting,[710] is shown in the famous “Coronation Stone” in Westminster Abbey. This stone is under the chair in which all the sovereigns of England from Edward I. to Victoria have been crowned. It was brought by Edward I. to England from Scone, the coronation seat of the kings of Scotland. The legend attached to it was that it was the stone pillar on which Jacob rested at Bethel,–the House of God where Abraham worshiped, and where Jacob covenanted with God for all his generations.[711]

“In it, or upon it, the Kings of Scotland were placed by the Earls of Fife. From it Scone became the sedis principalis of Scotland, and the kingdom of Scotland the kingdom of Scone.” Since the days of Edward I., it has never been removed from Westminster Abbey, except when Cromwell was installed as Lord Protector in Westminster Hall, on which occasion it was brought out in order that he might be placed on it.

As in ancient Babylonia, in Egypt, in Syria, in India, in China, in Arabia, in Greece, in Scandinavia, the one primitive foundation was deemed the only foundation on which to build securely with Divine approval, so in the very center of the highest modern civilization the reputed foundation stone of the kingdom of the “Father of the Faithful” is deemed the only secure coronation, or installation, seat of King, Queen, or Lord Protector. Is it not reasonable to suppose that this feeling has a basis in primitive religious convictions and customs?

Dean Stanley, referring to this Coronation Stone as “probably the chief object of attraction to the innumerable visitors to the Abbey,” says of it: “It is the one primeval monument which binds together the whole Empire. The iron rings, the battered surface, the crack which has all but rent its solid mass asunder, bear witness to its long migrations. It is thus embedded in the heart of the English monarchy–an element of poetic, patriarchal, heathen times, which, like Araunah’s rocky threshing-floor in the midst of the Temple of Solomon, carries back our thoughts to races and customs now almost extinct; a link which unites the Throne of England to the traditions of Tara and Iona, and connects the charm of our complex civilization with the forces of our mother earth,–the stocks and stones of savage nature.”[712]



Aaron and his sons consecrated at doorway, 119.
New Year’s custom in, 20 f.;
sacredness of threshold in, 34.
Abimelech and Abraham settling disputed boundary, 170.
Abiram, Jericho’s foundation laid in blood of, 47.
Aborigines of America, worship of, 148.
promise that his seed should possess gate of enemies, 65;
lifting up his hand to God, 82;
coming from Haran and Ur, 160;
his offering on Mt. Moriah, 161;
directed to rebuild holy house at Meccah, 163;
and Abimelech settling disputed boundary, 170;
the Lord’s covenant welcome to, 187;
his visit to home of Ishmael in Arabia, 200;
covenant with, 211.
Absalom in “way of the gate” to do judgment, 64.
Abyla and Calpë as boundary marks, 181.
bride carried to her new home in, 38;
prominence of door in, 107;
churches of, on hill or in grove, 130 f.;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230.
Acropolis, Propylæa built by Pericles on, 158.
Adam as builder of Holy House at Meccah, 163.
“Adam Khan and Durkhani,” poem of Afghans, 58.
Adonis of Greece, reference to, 115.
of guest in Egypt and Syria, 3;
of bride by stepping over blood at threshold, 26;
among Arabs accompanied by sacrifice at door, 59.
“Adultery,” affiliation with any but true God called, 213.
Æneas at court of Queen Dido, 130.
Æschylus, reference to, 134.
Æsculapius represented by serpent, 236.
Afghans, protection for all at threshold among, 58.
human sacrifice in Central, 8 f.;
fowl sacrificed for guest in West, 9;
sheep sacrificed for guest in Central, 9;
bloody grass on threshold in Equatorial, 15;
sacrifices at threshold among Somalis of, 27;
threshold customs in South, 28;
bride carried over threshold in West, 39;
bloody hand in North, 78 f.;
bloody hand in, 93;
primitive sacredness of doorway in, 132;
boundary lines in, 174;
trees as boundaries in Equatorial, 174;
exhibit of blood stains in western, 246.
Agade, Istar of, 153.
Agni, masculine, 198.
Ahab, reference to time of, 47.
Ainé’s Herc. at Pomp.: cited, 258.
Akibah, Rabbi: cited, 253.
dead not carried over threshold in, 24;
human sacrifices at foundation of houses in, 50 f.
Albanians, crossing threshold right foot foremost, 37 f.
Alcinoüs, temple palace of, 132, 135.
Alee, kissing threshold of tomb of, 124.
Alexandri, poem by, regarding foundation sacrifice, 52.
Algiers, walls of, laid in blood of Christian captive, 48.
Algonquins, prominence of hand among, 84.
ʿAlîyyâ, symbolic meaning of, 253.
Allat, sovereign of Hades, life restored at threshold of, 113 f.
Altamash, emperor of India, building mosk, 157.
primitive family, 3;
reverence for threshold, 10-25;
offering of life on threshold, 16;
near door in Mexico, 21;
sanctity of threshold as primitive, 22;
reference to souls under, 25;
saint or ecclesiastic buried under, in Europe, 25;
threshold, in Russia, 31 f.;
offerings at threshold, in Holland, 33;
before door at marriage in Borneo, 34;
sacredness of threshold in Scotland, 34;
fire taken over threshold among Hindoos, 40 f.;
lamb buried under, in Swedish tradition, 56;
before Greek houses, 72;
at or before threshold, 102, 136;
in doorway of temple at Nippur, 111;
of burnt offering, blood poured out at, 119;
at doorway, in Jerusalem, Phenicia, Phrygia, Aphrodisias, 121;
at threshold in Egyptian temple, 126;
at Yeha, 131;
lélé, name for, 150 f.
connecting link between nuptial torch and, 41;
crossing, in Russia, 42;
references to, 39 f., 99-102, 226.
Amara Deva, temple builder, 156.
Amara Sinha, temple builder, 156.
Amenophis IV. before Aten-ra, 81.
America, Central:
bridal couple carried over threshold in, 45;
blood of sacrificial offerings smeared on doorways in, 73;
earliest form of temple in, 144;
boys sacrificed in, 145;
temples of, 145, 148;
nuptial customs of, 196;
sculptures indicating covenant rite between first pair in, 202;
marriage ceremonies in, 246.
America, North:
survival of sacrifice in, 8;
treading on threshold in, 13;
coffin passed out window of house in, 25;
window opened and door closed at death in, 25;
nailing horseshoes on side-posts of doorway in, 73 f.;
symbol of open hands in museums of, 79;
red hand among aborigines of, 83 f., 93;
laying of corner-stones in, 147;
survival of primitive sacredness of threshold in, 147;
aborigines of, religious worship of, 148;
boundary lines in, 174;
symbol of covenant among primitive peoples in, 201;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230.
America, South:
blood smeared on doorway in, 73;
earliest form of temple in, 144;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230;
serpent as religious symbol in, 235.
America, United States of:
vice-consul of, in Egypt, reference to, 7 f.;
boundary marks in, 126, 182 f.
American Architect, reference to the, 175.
American Indians, red-hand symbolism among, 85-93.
Amon, temple of, reference to, 185.
Amorite, daughter of, 213.
ʾAnazeh Bed´ween, sacrifice at threshold among, 26.
Andersson, Charles John: cited, 28.
Ani before throne of Osiris, 257.
images of, on Mordvin door-posts, 42 f.;
substituted for human beings in sacrifice, 46;
lower, as distinguished from man, 223.
Animals sacrificed. See Sacrifice.
Ankh, or crux ansata, 201.
Anointing door-posts among Latins, 29 f.
Antariksha invoked on door-sill, 15.
Antelii presiding over entrance, 97.
Antiquary, The, reference to, 50.
Anu, gate of, reference to, 95
prominence of red hand among, 87;
reference to, 88.
Aphrodisias, altar on threshold in ancient, 121.
temple of, at Delphi, 134;
represented by female oracle, 236;
slayer of serpent, 236.
Apollo Agyieus, altar of, placed before house among Greeks, 72.
Apollo Thyræus, at entrance, 97.
crossing threshold in, 10;
blood at door-post to secure protection in, 59 f.;
kissing threshold in, 129;
Eve settling in, 164;
Abraham’s visit to Ishmael in, 200;
use of pigeon poult’s blood in, 248.
Arabic term for woman, 256.
of Central Africa, blood welcome among, 9;
sacrifice at threshold among, 26;
“house of hair” of, 57;
of Syrian Desert, doorway sacrifice in joining another tribe, 58 f.;
red hand on houses of, in Jerusalem, 76;
wely common as place of worship for, in Egypt, 129;
exhibit of evidences among, 249.
Arafat near Meccah, 163 f.
Arapahoes, red hand among, 87.
Arch, memorial, meaning of, 103.
Archangel, foundation sacrifice in, 54.
influence of Assyria, Babylonia, and Egypt in doorway, 60;
of temples in China and Japan, 101;
sacredness of threshold recognized in, 102.
Arcot, Nabob of, banners with painted hands carried before, 78.
Areca-nut eaten in marriage covenant in Borneo, 34.
Arickarees, red hand among, 87.
Ark of Hebrews in house of Dagon, 116.
Armenian Christians, blood on threshold among, 26.
Armenians, sacred inscriptions above doorway of, 71.
Arta, bridge of, story of burying women alive to secure, 52.
Artemis Propylæa at Eleusis, 134.
Aryan origin of red hand, 75.
Aryan races:
reference to, 197;
language and customs of, 199.
Asherah, command to Israelites concerning, 233.
Ashtaroth, symbol of, 214.
Ashurnâsirapli, references to, 178, 184.
bloody hand in marriage in, 93;
traces of primitive sacredness of doorway found in, 132;
boundary lines in, 174.
See, also, China, India, Japan.
Asia Minor:
human sacrifice in, 47 f.;
references to, 93, 132, 174;
altar on threshold in early Christian remains in, 121.
Askuppu, word for threshold, 110.
Asshur and his worshipers represented with uplifted hands, 80.
threshold sacrifice at, 7 f.;
General Grant at border line of, 186.
images buried under threshold in, 14;
crossing threshold in marriage in ancient, 39;
influence of, shown in architecture of doorways, 60;
uplifted hand in representing deities of, 79;
inscriptions at doorway in, 108 f.;
guardians of threshold in, 111;
Zephaniah’s curse on, 115;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230.
word nish–lifting up hand, 83;
city gates named after special god, 95;
god Nergal beneath threshold, 95;
gods Ea and Merodach at gate of house, 95;
monuments on doorway shrine, 105;
king, sculptured image of, with arms uplifted, 115;
kings and boundary lines, 177;
kings offering sacrifices at boundaries of empire, 184;
temples, furniture of, 207;
sculpture, testimony of, 231, 257.
Assyro-Babylonians and boundary lines, 185.
Athaliah, priests assigned to service at threshold in days of, 120.
Athenian generals offering sacrifices to Mercury, 172.
Atlas upholding heaven, 132.
Attica and Peloponnesus, boundary between, 180.
Aubrey, John: cited, 74.
Avaika, or under world, 152.
Avatea, part man and part fish, 152.
Azila, reference to, 62.
Aztecs, marriage ceremonies among, 246.
Baal, symbol of, 214.
“Bab,” or Door, spiritual head of Babists, 103.
Babel, tower of, or door of God, 103.
Babelon, Ernest, reference to, 60.
Bâb-ilu, Bâbi-ilu, Bab-el, Door of God, 103.
Babist sect in Persia, 103 f.
Daniel as judge in, 64;
reference to, 75;
king of, recognized by uplifted hand, 80;
building of walls of, 109 f.;
gates dedicated to gods in, 110;
temples with altars outside in, 111 f.;
kings of, 154;
final overthrow of, 211;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230;
ancient, in religious symbolism, 234.
inscriptions placed at threshold in, 22;
influence shown in architecture of doorways, 60;
red hand on houses and animals in, 75;
uplifted hand in representing deities of, 79;
swinging doors in religious symbolism of, 105;
sanctity of doorway in, 108 f.;
guardians of threshold in, 111;
crossing threshold in death in literature and legends of, 112 f.;
sacredness of doorway above threshold in, 126 f.;
temple building in, 153;
boundaries in, 177;
indications of presence of deity in, 201;
ancient, religions of, and serpent as symbol, 235.
tablet of Nebuchadrezzar on gate as place of justice, 60;
character for house, palace, and temple identical, 99 f.;
monuments on doorway shrine, 105;
literature, reference to, 109;
Hades surrounded by seven walls with seven gates, 113;
idea of future life, 128;
king, reference to last, 153;
sun-god Shamash, 201;
temples, furniture of, 207.
Babylonian and Oriental Record, reference to, 231.
Babylonian Talmud, reference to, 253.
Babylonians, twofold symbols among, 200.
Bagdad, khaleefs of, threshold custom of, 10.
Baker, Sir Samuel W., quotation from, 9.
Balawat gates, gods and kings at, 105.
Baldensperger, P.J.: cited, 29.
meaning of word, 15;
placed on door-sill among Hindoos, 15;
offering demanded at all doors, 15.
Ballads, popular, on human sacrifice in foundation building, 52.
Baltimore, Lord, boundary lines reported to, 182.
Bancroft, H.H.:
cited, 34 f., 45, 56, 144, 146, 202, 247;
reference to, 108.
Bangalore, serpent worship in, 258 f.
Banks of lakes as boundaries, 178.
Banners inscribed with open hand in Turkey and Persia, 78.
Baptism, place of, in early churches, 137.
Baptismal custom with reference to threshold, 18 f.
Baptismal font, location of, in Protestant Episcopal churches, 147.
Baptist, John the, mission of, 218.
Baring-Gould, Rev. S.: quotation from, 138 f.
Barker, W.B., reference to, 257.
Barnabas and Paul at Lystra, 135.
“Bason” word for saph in English Bible, 206.
under threshold in Roumania, 20;
superstitions among primitive peoples regarding, 20.
Baveddeen, famous threshold stone at, 124.
Bay and laurel in doorway at marriage among Romans, 73.
Bayt-el-Walli, rock grotto of, 180.
Beans under threshold, among Magyars, 19 f.
“Beating the bounds:”
in England, 174;
in New England, 176.
Beccah. See Meccah.
Becker, W.A.: cited, 37, 41, 72 f.
Beer-sheba, well at, in dispute, 170.
Beginning of religious rites, 199, 225.
Beirut. See Beyroot.
Bektashi derwishes of Syria, threshold custom of, 10.
Bel, gate of, reference to, 95.
Bel-Merodach, new king of ancient Babylon adopted by, 80.
Belford, marriage customs at, 142.
Beltis, gate of, reference to, 95.
“lady of the great hand,” 113;
brandishing serpent in either hand, 235.
Benjamin, S.G.W.: cited, 71.
Bent, J. Theodore: cited, 107, 131.
Bergeron, Pierre: cited, 13.
Berlin, keys of captured cities in museum of, 262.
Beth-el: Jacob at, 160; meaning of, 160.
ceremony in Russia, 32;
threshold custom in Central America, 34.
Beyroot, boundary marks near, 178.
Biaz, B.: cited, 21.
carried into new home in Pennsylvania, 21;
references to lifting up hands unto God, 82 f.;
references to leaping over threshold, 117;
reference to temple threshold as fitting place of worship, 117;
its record of man, 224.
Bingham, Joseph:
cited, 136;
quotation from, 136 f.
Bird, Isabella: cited, 20, 72, 96, 101, 104 f., 126, 151.
custom in Bombay, 17;
new, help to, 199.
Birthday, striking child on his, 176.
Bishop, Isabella Bird. See Isabella Bird.
Bishop of Paris, reference to, 139.
“Bismillah,” use of word, on passing threshold, 10.
Black hand:
among Pecos, 87 f.,
Jicarilla Apaches, 89 f.;
in Korea, 93 f.
Black stone of Meccah, reference to, 10.
Blessing, spiritual, represented in Assyrian sculpture, 231.
Bliss, Dr. Frederick J.: cited, 58.
welcome at door in Syria and Egypt, 3-10;
stepping over, in East, 4 f., 7 f., 26;
coffee as substitute for, 5;
salt as substitute for, 5, 9, 20;
in threshold in Central Africa, 8 f.;
poured out on threshold in covenanting, 14 f.;
threshold sprinkled with, in Ireland, 21;
hospitality in outpoured, among Arabs, 23;
at threshold in marriage ceremony in desert of Sinai, in Egypt, in Turkey, 26;
stepping over, in marriage in Cyprus, 27;
wedding-party to step over, among Armenians, 27;
stepping over in Central Africa, 28;
and fire, significance of, 40;
world-wide custom of laying foundations in, 46;
foundation-laying in, in Hindostan, Burmah, Tennasserin, Borneo, Japan, Galam, Yarriba, Polynesia, 51 f.;
on foundation-stone in Greece, 53;
of thousands of captives at consecration of altar in Mexico, 56;
on threshold deemed essential factor in covenant with deity, 57;
voice of, among Arabs, 59;
poured across road to secure help in necessity in Morocco, 63;
hand dipped in, struck upon door-posts in Stamboul, 66 f.;
on lintel and door-posts, 66;
of wedding sacrifice placed on door-posts, 67 f.;
sentences in, on door-posts as protection from disease in China, 71;
on bow, or threshold, of Chinese junk, 72;
affixed to post or walls of new house in Palestine, 76 f.;
of Christians, hand dipped in, stamped on wall to seal victory over them, 77;
or ink used in hand or finger stamp, 93 f.;
of sacrifice sprinkled on door in Guatemala, 98;
of sacrifice at base of altar at Yeha, 131;
proffer of, foundation of family, 194;
stains exhibited in Western Africa, 246.
“Blood of the grape,” in covenant, 5, 8.
Blood-color, doorways painted, 104.
Bloody grass representing dignity and power, 15.
Bloody hand:
stamped in dough placed on lintel, 28 f.;
on lintel of temple at Jerusalem, 67;
on walls among Jews in Tunis, 78 f.;
red seal on modern documents probably survival of, 94;
in testimony to covenant, 244 f.
See, also, Red hand.
Bloody sacrifices at temple thresholds in India, 122.
Blue hands on houses in Palestine, 76.
Blunt, J.H.: cited, 137.
Boaz meeting elders at gate in justice to Ruth and Naomi, 64.
“Bodhi-Gaya,” reference to, 156.
Body, not to cross threshold, 23-25.
Bombay Anthropological Society, reference to, 17.
Bombay, birth custom at, 17.
Bomoi pronaioi, 134.
Bonavia, Dr., reference to, 231.
Bonomi, Joseph: his suggestion regarding word “teraphim,” 109.
commanding temple to be built, 156;
and serpent, 236.
Booddha-drum, reference to, 156.
Booddha-hood, Sakya Sinha attaining to, 156.
“Booddha’s foot,” 156.
Booddhism concerning temple, 156.
Gog and Magog of, 96;
temples, doorways apart from, 104;
temples, pilgrims at threshold of, 125;
prayer in Tibet, 199.
Book of Records, Chinese, reference to, 158.
“Book of the Dead,” Egyptian, references to, 128 f., 257.
Border landmarks, form of, 170 f.
Border lines referred to, 183.
pig’s blood sprinkled at door in, 20;
marriage custom in, 34;
survival of foundation-laying in blood in, 51 f.
sanctity of doorway in, 108 f.;
temple of, threshold plated with zarîru, 111.
Bothnia, East, iron bar on threshold for cows to cross, 17.
Botta, P.E.: cited, 109.
references to, 13, 17, 154, 165-192, 234;
as place of worship and sacrifice, 166;
stones, importance of, 167;
Nebo protector of, 177.
Bourke, Capt. J.G.: cited, 87.
to gate on leaving bride’s home in Russia, 44;
before threshold, 126.
Boys sacrificed in Central America, 145.
Brahmanas, reference to, 197.
Brahmanic religion concerning temples, 155 f.
Brahmanical Mahâdeva, commanding temple to be built, 156.
Brandy offered to threshold gods in Russia, 32 f., 43 f.
placed under threshold as “gods’” portion, 32;
thrown over bride at door in Scotland, 34, 44;
and honey placed on bride’s gate-post in Russia, 42 f.
Bread and salt:
at threshold in Russia, 9;
in hospitality among Arabs, 22;
as factors in sacred covenant, 32.
“Breaking the stick” at threshold in Skarpanto, 31.
Bremen, skeleton of child found in walls of Bridge Gate of, 50.
Bridal couple carried across threshold in Central America, 45.
made to step over blood of sacrifice in Syria, 26;
in Central Africa, 27 f.;
called “princess” at wedding in Russia, 32;
bread thrown over, at door in Scotland, 34, 44;
carried over threshold among Towkas, 35,
in Abyssinia, Egypt, and Upper Syria, 38,
in West Africa, 39,
in Russia, 44;
to step over threshold among Hindoos, 36 f.;
not lifted over threshold in India, 38;
borne in sedan-chair to new home, 39 f.;
carried over fire in China, 40;
worshiping at altar-fire of new home in India, China, Greece, and Rome, 41;
inducted into household office at hearth, 44;
represented by the Church, 218, 221.
to step over blood at threshold in Central Africa, 27 f.;
bread thrown over, at door, 34;
Jesus called, 218;
of blood, 244.
British envoy welcomed at threshold of Kauzeroon, 189.
Bronze bulls on gates of Babylon, 109 f.
“Bronze threshold,” reference to, 132.
Broom laid across door-sill in Pennsylvania, 21.
Browne, Edward G., reference to, 104.
Bruce, James:
quotation from, 9;
cited, 38, 130.
Brugsch Bey: references to, 103, 127, 161, 179 f., 184 f.
Brush-topped pole as symbol, 214.
“Buddha-Gaya,” reference to, 156.
“Buddha-pad,” reference to, 156.
Buffaloes sacrificed in Egypt, 7.
Bühler, G.: cited, 169.
Bukohōla temple in Sandwich Islands, 150.
Bulgarian foundation custom, 53.
sacrificed at door for guest, 4;
sacrifice of, 7 f.
winged, with human heads to guard entrance way, 95;
of bronze on gates of Babylon, 109 f.;
as guardians of threshold in Babylonia, 110 f.;
of bronze, in Babylon, 234.
Bunsen, Chevalier, reference to, 111.
Burckhardt, John Lewis: cited, 26, 38, 191, 244-246.
Burder, Samuel: cited, 13.
Burials made under threshold in East and West, 25.
Buried images, symbols and treasures under temple doorways, 109.
Burmah, survival of foundation laying in blood in, 51 f.
Burton, Richard F.:
cited, 164;
quotation from, 248 f.
Burying women and children in foundation, 18, 50.
Bush as symbol of feminine in nature, 214.
Bush, George, reference to, 112.
Busrah, women exhibiting evidences at, 248.
Butter or honey smeared on door-posts among Wallachians, 29.
Buxtorf, John: cited, 200, 253.
“By door,” entering house, 6.
Byzantine age, sarcophagi of, showing altar at threshold, 121.
Arab sitting in judgment at gate of, 60;
protecting genius of different quarters of, 96 f.
Calling on name of God at threshold, 29.
Calpë and Abyla as boundary marks, 181.
Cam, Diego, discoverer of Congo River, 182.
Campbell, John: cited, 39.
gateway between Egypt and, 105;
Israelites entering into, 211;
people of, treatment of, 232.
Candle on threshold in Russia, 41-44.
Candlestick, five branched, similar to sign of hand, 77.
Cão, Diego, reference to, 182.
Cardea, Hinge-goddess of Romans, 97.
Carlyle, Thomas: cited, 183.
Carpathos. See Skarpanto.
uplifted hand above door in, 78;
prominence of door in, 107;
prominence of temple threshold in, 130.
Cassotis spring, reference to, 135.
Catholic Church, Roman:
holy water in, 147;
on marriage, 222.
Catlin, George: quotation from, and reference to, 86.
Cave, fire at entrance of, 23.
Central America:
threshold custom in, 34;
blood smeared on doorways in, 72;
red hand stamped on doorways and walls in, 81 f.;
“the god of houses” in, 98;
sacrifice of boys in, 145.
wedding threshold in North Germany, 18;
of laying threshold in India, 95.
Ceylon, Adam settling in, 164.
Chahalka, “the god of houses,” in Central America, 98.
Chamberlain, Basil Hall: cited, 101, 104.
Chambers’s Journal, reference to, 175.
Charans, appeal at threshold for justice among, 61.
Chardin, Sir John: cited, 124.
on threshold and door in Uganda, 15;
under door-step in Russia, 19;
fastened above door in China, 71;
on doors and door-posts in China, 71, 95;
worn in Jerusalem, 75 f.
Chase, W.G., quotation from, 51.
Chateaubraud, Viscount de: cited, 147.
Chaucer, Geoffrey, quotation from, 139.
Cheetham, Samuel. See Smith and Cheetham.
Chelly canyon, red-hand symbol in, 87.
Cheyennes, red hand among, 87.
Chicago, Columbian Exposition at, reference to, 57.
Chief rabbi, in Jerusalem, sacrifice at threshold in installing, 67.
held over threshold after baptism, 18 f.;
buried in ramparts of Copenhagen, 49;
buried under citadel of Dyetinets, 50;
adopted into family by clasping hands in Babylonia, 80;
striking, on birthday, 176.
custom of, relative to boundary lines, 13;
buried under threshold in Russia, 18;
buried in foundations, 49 f.;
sacrifice of, in Central America, 145.
body to be removed over wall, 23;
fire on threshold in marriage in, 39;
bride worshiping at altar-fire in, 41;
human sacrifice to make sure foundations in, 48;
coins and charms under door-sill in, 71;
sacred inscriptions on side-posts and lintel in, 71;
tutelar gods of threshold in, 95 f.;
temple and house in architecture, 101;
doorways apart from temples in, 104;
sacredness of temple in, 158;
nuptial customs of, 196;
phallic emblems in, 230;
marriage customs in, 245.
custom of avoiding threshold, 23 f.;
native clergyman, testimony of, 48;
year, festival of fifth month of, 71;
junk, sacrifice on bow of, 71 f.;
honorary portals and ancestral tablets, 108;
classics, most ancient of, 185;
emperor passing boundary line of empire, 185;
characters for threshold, door, border, and woman, 256.
“Chinese gods of the threshold,” 96.
Chipiez, Charles. See Perrot and Chipiez.
“Christ, spouse of,” 222.
“Christening” ship, custom of, 8.
lands, niches for heroes in, survival primitive doorway in tomb in, 108;
passover, reference to, 216.
Christian churches:
of Europe, burials under altar of, 25;
tradition of burial of lamb under altar of, 56;
symbol of horseshoe at threshold of, 74.
Christian Fathers, reference to, 97.
inscribed gates of, in East, 70;
in Syria, sign of hand among, 76 f.;
warned not to dishonor their gates with laurel crowns, 97;
admonished not to make their gates heathen temples, 98;
kissing threshold of church in Persia, 124.
Church House in Philadelphia, reference to, 55.
Church of England bishops replying to Presbyterians on position of baptismal font, 137.
Churches always on hill or in grove in Abyssinia, 130 f.
Cicero, hearth-fire and Penates in time of, 41.
Cimon, gate of, in Propylæa, 159.
Circumcision as practiced in Madagascar, 149.
Cities of refuge:
Hebrew law as to, 151;
in Hawaii, 151.
Clapping of hands at threshold in Japan, 126.
Classic writers: their explanation of threshold custom, 39.
“Cleansing the threshold” at wedding in Russia, 32.
Clement of Alexandria, reference to, 239.
Clothing stamped with red hand, 87.
Coal under threshold among Magyars, 19 f.
Cock sacrificed:
in Ireland, 21;
at foundation in Russia, 54 f.
Cockle, Montague, reference to, 233.
Coffee as Muhammadan substitute for blood, 5.
Columbian Exposition, reference to, 57.
Com, tomb of kings of Persia at, 124.
prominence of red hand among, 87;
reference to, 88.
Communion feasts, origin of, 226.
Concord, beating bounds in, 176.
Conder, Maj. C.R.:
quotation from, 10, 28 f.:
cited, 123.
Confucius, reference to, 256 f.
Confucian temple, doorways apart from, 104.
Congo River, boundary pillar erected in mouth of, 182.
Constantinople, red hand stamp in, 77.
Contemporary Review, reference to, 229.
Convent, trace of foundation sacrifice in rebuilding, 56.
Cook, Capt. James:
cited, 202;
quotation from, 250 f.
Coote, H.C.: cited, 50, 55 f.
Copenhagen, immuring of child in ramparts of, 49.
Copts, sacrifice of sheep at threshold among, 26, 45.
Coral hand as talisman among Jews at Tunis, 79.
Cord stretched across door to prevent bridal couple entering, 33 f.
and water used in threshold ceremony, 16 f.;
mixed with milk and sugar as offering, 17;
thrown on bride at threshold in Rhodes, 31.
laying as survival of primitive sacredness, 22;
recognized as beginning or limit of threshold of Babylonian buildings, 22;
ceremonies in civilized lands, 55;
laying of, in America, 55, 147.
Cornhill Magazine, reference to, 48-50, 56.
Corinthian Christians, Paul to, 216.
not to cross threshold in India, China, and Italy, 23 f.,
in Alaska, 24;
passed out under threshold in Russia, 24.
Correspondences of legends of Babylonia, Syria, Egypt and Greece as to door and threshold, 115.
Cossacks, disputes over boundary lines among, 175.
Cotton seeds thrown on bride at threshold in Rhodes, 31.
Coulanges, Numa D.F. de: cited, 41, 99, 156.
through blood in Egypt, 3;
Syria, 3-5;
symbolized by uplifted hand, 81;
sacrifice at threshold with God of life, 94;
worship place of, 165.
by crossing threshold, 5-10;
by stepping over blood on door-sill, 9.
gift from sacred, in India, 16;
driven over iron bar on threshold, 17;
sacrifice of, in Ireland, 21.
Cowdung cake at seed-time in India, 16.
Cranch, C.P., quotation from, 130.
Croix, de la, J.F., reference to, 124.
sign of, in curing disorder, 18;
drawn on threshold to keep off hags, 18;
under threshold of new house in Lithuania, 18.
Crowbar at threshold, 17.
Crux ansata or ankh, 201.
Cunningham, Alexander: reference to, 156 f.
for removing threshold altar, 169 f.;
for removal of neighbor’s landmark, 170.
Curtea de Argest, superstition regarding sacrifice at building of, 52.
Curtin, Jeremiah: cited, 142 f.
Cushing, Frank H., communication from, 86-93.
fowl sacrificed at door in, 27;
prominence of door in, 107.
Cyrus, reference to, 154.
Dacotahs, symbol of hand among, 84.
Dagon, his overthrow, 116 f.
Dahabiyeh, threshold custom on purchasing, 8.
Dahomey, nuptial customs of, 245.
Dalmatia, kissing threshold in, 31.
Damascus, Hajj procession approaching, 186.
Dances of American Indians, prominence of hand in, 83 f.
Dancing custom in Central America, 247.
immuring of girl in city walls among, 49;
lamb buried under every altar of, 56.
Daniel in gate of king, 64.
Darfour, marriage ceremonies in, 249.
Darmesteter, James:
cited, 58;
reference to, 99.
sitting in gate, 64;
erecting altar to Lord, 161.
De Amicis, Edmondo: cited, 77.
De Coulanges, Numa D.F. de:
cited, 41, 156;
reference to, 99.
De Hesse-Wartegg, Chevalier: cited, 79.
not to cross threshold in India, China, 23 f.,
Korea, Russia, Italy, Alaska, 24;
taken over wall in China, 23 f.;
taken under threshold in Russia, 24;
prayers for, inscribed on false door of tombs of Egypt, 106.
“Dead, Book of the,” references to, 128 f., 257.
“Dead, Gate of the,” in Korea, 24.
Death following building of new house, 54.
“Death Week” among Slavonic peoples, 19.
Dedications on doorways by primitive peoples, 69.
Deer carried over threshold in betrothal in Central America, 34.
appeal to, in East, 3 f.;
of ancient Egypt with uplifted hands, 81;
of threshold, reference to, 109;
of gates of Hades, 113.
Delhi and serpent, 236.
Delitzsch, Franz, reference to, 254.
Delitzsch, Friedrich, reference to, 100.
treasures of, described, 133;
Neoptolemus attacking Orestes in, 134;
temple of Apollo at, 134 f.;
Apollo at, represented by female oracle, 236.
reference to, 103;
destruction of Holy House in, 163.
Detinetz, burial in foundations in, 50.
Development and origin of man, 223.
D’Herbelot, quotation from, 10 f.
Diabateria, meaning of, 208.
Dido, Queen, Æneas at court of, 130.
Dieulafoy, M.: cited, 60.
“Digging through” in New Testament, 260.
Dillmann, Christian F.A., reference to, 254.
Ditya, reference to, 50.
Dives, Lazarus at gate of, 64.
Divination and exorcism in Italy, 17.
Documents signed in blood or ink, 94.
Domestic divinities, protection from, in Lithuania, 18 f.
household deity of Russia, sacrifice for, 19;
invoked at threshold, 23.
Donaldson, T., reference to, 86.
Donaldson, T.L., references to, 121, 134, 231.
Donatus: cited, 29 f.
Doolittle, Rev. Justus: cited, 71.
animal sacrifices at house-door in Egypt, 3, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15,
among Pythagoreans, 12 f.,
among Slavonic peoples, 19,
among Dyaks of Borneo, 20,
in Ireland, 21,
among Arabs, 22 f.,
in Syria, 26, 45,
in Turkey, Cyprus, and Central Africa, 27,
in Egypt, 45,
all over world, 46,
in Greece, 53,
in Russia, 54,
in Arabia, 58-60,
in Morocco, 63, 67,
in Turkey, 66 f.,
in Jerusalem, 67,
in China, 72,
in Palestine, 76,
in tabernacle in Wilderness, 118 f.,
in South Sea Islands, 148;
blood welcome at, in Syria and Egypt, 3-10,
Central Africa, 8 f.,
West Africa, 9,
Egypt, 7, 205;
charms placed at, in Uganda, 15,
in Russia, 19,
in China, 71,
in Jerusalem, 75 f.;
dead not to pass out of, 23-25;
human sacrifice at, in Central Africa, 8 f.,
references to, 46-48, 51 f., 144 f.,
in China and Algiers, 48,
in Denmark and Thuringia, 49,
on Danube and in Alaska, 49 f.,
in Bremen, Scotland, and Ireland, 50,
in Arta, Tricha, and Wallachia, 52,
in Turkey, 52 f.,
in India, 61, 122 f.,
in Tibet, 125,
in Central America, 145 f.;
kissing right hand at, 69 f., 144,
serpent at, in Yezidis temple, 116,
of holy places, 116,
at mosk in Persia, 123 f.,
at tomb of Alee, 124;
sacredness of, 10-25, 102, 174, 260,
in Persia, 12, 123 f.,
references to, 25-36,
among Nestorians, 124,
among Scandinavians in America, 259 f.,
in Bible times, 261;
stepping over blood at, in Syria and Egypt, 4 f., 7 f., 26, 45 f.,
in West Africa, 9,
in marriage in Cyprus, 27,
among Armenians, 27,
in Central Africa, 28;
reference to, 254, 256.
Door-key, finger-shaped, symbolic use of, 244.
Dörpfeld, Dr., reference to, 159.
on door-lintel in Upper Syria, 28 f.;
under threshold among Moksha, 42.
Douglas, Robert K.:
cited, 40;
reference to, 105.
Dozy, Reinhart, reference to, 200.
Dragon representing unholy desire, 240.
Du Bois, Abbé J.A.: cited, 23.
Dumuzi and Ishtar, legend of, 113, 115.
Dwelling-place, man’s first, 165.
Dyaks of Borneo:
blood sprinkled at door among, 20;
marriage custom among, 34.
Dyetina, reference to, 50.
Dyetinets, burial in foundations in, 50.
Dying person passed through hole in wall in Alaska, 24.
Ea, god of right side of gate, 95.
Early churches, position of altar in, 136.
continuance of Passover, 221;
festivities in Jerusalem, 221;
threshold of new Ecclesiastical Year, 221.
Ebed-melech: his appeal in behalf of Jeremiah, 64.
Edersheim, Dr. Alfred, references to, 120, 211 f.
Edward I., marriage of, at door, 140.
Eggs under threshold in Russia, 19.
blood welcome at door in, 3;
sacrifice of buffaloes in, 7;
threshold sacrifice of sheep in, 7 f.;
sacrifice at threshold in, 26;
bride met at gate of husband’s residence in, 38;
door at one side of dwelling in, 55;
its influence shown in architecture of doorways, 60;
inscribed doors in, 68, 96;
uplifted hand in representing deities of, 79, 81, 85;
God bringing out of, with strong hand, 83;
and Canaan, gateway between, 105;
prominence of doorway shrine in, 106;
false door as gift in, 107;
literature of, 109;
oldest temple in, 126;
sacredness of doorway in, 126;
saints’ tomb as place of worship in, 129;
temples of, 145;
concerning temple foundations of, 155;
boundary customs among, 178;
ancient stone thresholds in, 179;
Lower, boundary of, 180;
southern boundary of, 184;
nuptial customs of, 196;
ancient deities of, 201;
presence of deity in, 201;
Virgin of Israel in, 218;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230;
kings of, and serpent, 234;
and serpent as symbol, 235;
bloody cloth in marriage in Upper, 243;
marriage customs in, 243, 245.
sacrifice before door, 14;
king, power imparted to, by touch, 85;
hieroglyph for house or temple identical, 100;
temple, oldest form of, 100,
monumental temple gateway, 127,
history of, 155;
priest, prostrations of, at threshold of shrine, 127 f.;
idea of future life, 128;
“Book of the Dead,” 128 f., 257;
empire and Heh, boundary marks between, 179;
sacrifices at boundaries of empire, 184;
twofold sex symbols, 200;
attitude towards Jehovah, 205;
passover rite, 212, 214, 216.
Eki as boundary mark, 178.
El Gisr or threshold, 180.
Eleusis, temple of Artemis Propylæa at, 134.
Eliezer, Rabbi, references to, 200, 253.
Elisha and Naaman, Syrian, 161.
Elliot, Sir Henry M.: cited, 16 f.
Ellis, Rev. William: cited, 83, 111, 148, 150 f., 202.
Embatikon, gift of in-going, 31.
Embleton, wedding custom at, 142.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo: cited, 176.
Enemy, appeal of, for protection among Arabs, 59.
Entering “not by door,” 6.
Entrance-way, importance of, 3.
Episcopal, Protestant, churches, location of baptismal font in, 147.
Epithalamium of Hebrew Scriptures, 214.
Erman, Adolf:
cited, 55, 100, 103, 106, 127, 234;
quotation from, 106 f., 155;
reference to, 128.
marriage custom of, 41;
earth from under threshold for bride, 43.
Esarhaddon, his search for boundary lines, 154, 177.
Eskimos, importance of threshold among, 39.
Eulmash, ancient Babylonian temple, 153.
Eulbar, ancient Babylonian temple, 153.
Euphrates, boundary marks at, 178.
Euripides: cited, 134 f.
treading on threshold in, 13;
burials under altar in Christian churches in, 25;
coffin passed out window of house in, 25;
window opened and door closed at death in, 25;
horseshoes on side-posts in, 73 f.;
symbols of open hand found in museums and Jewish cemeteries of, 79;
hand-print in marriage in, 93;
traces of primitive sacredness of doorway found in, 122;
ancient shrines in, 150;
boundary lines in, 174;
great divisions of landmarks along borders of, 182;
nuptial customs of, 196;
Jews of, observing passover, 212.
Evil eye:
references to, 19, 67;
averted by bloody hand, 67 f.;
by five fingers held up to, 76;
image of hand as talisman against, 79.
Evil spirits in Pennsylvania, guard against, 21.
Ewing, Rev. William:
testimony of, 45, 261;
cited, 77.
“Exalted Gateway,” high court of Turkey called, 65, 103.
Exalted House, Gate, or Door, meaning of Pharaoh, 103.
Exorcism and divination in Italy, 17 f.
Eye, evil. See Evil eye.
his reference to waters from under threshold of temple, 114;
his prophecy that Prince of Israel should worship at threshold of gate, 118;
his vision of glory of Lord over threshold, 118;
Jehovah speaking through, 213.
Ezida (Nebo) shrine of, 110.
“Fahazza” in Madagascar, 149.
False door:
of tombs in ancient Egypt, 106 f.;
as gift from sovereign to subject in Egypt, 107.
altar and sacrifices for, in primitive times, 3;
offering itself for sacrifice in Central Africa, 8 f.;
life, beginning of, in threshold rite, 194.
Fathers, Christian, reference to, 93.
Feast after sacrifice: 4, 7;
at beginning of spring among Slavonic peoples, 19;
of “hand-striking” at betrothal, 32 f.
Fecundity, lotus flower symbol of, 257.
Fellaheen threshold custom in Palestine, 29.
Fellows, Sir Charles: cited, 121.
Feminine in nature, symbol of, 214, 230, 258.
Fergusson, Dr. James: references to, 103-105, 107, 231, 235-237.
“Festival, Harvest,” among Indians of lower Mississippi, 147.
“Festival of New Fire,” 147.
Ficus religiosa, reference to, 259.
Fielde, Adele M.: cited, 40, 71.
in religious symbolisms, 230;
tree representing female, 258.
Figures of speech, Oriental, obscured by literalism of Western mind, 238.
Finger-shaped door-key used in wedding ceremony, 244.
shaking hands across threshold in, 12;
high thresholds in, 12;
threshold as altar in, 32;
clergyman to step over threshold in, 143.
Finmac-Coole, print of hand of, 81.
Finn, James: cited, 67.
and salt on threshold, 21;
at entrance to cave or tent, in primitive times, 22 f.;
on threshold altar in China, 39;
and blood, significance of, 40;
reference to, 41 f.;
references to, 54-56, 158;
masculine symbol, 198;
production of sacred, 198;
doorway, origin of, 226;
as gift of God, 227.
center of public worship, 99;
in Persia, 100,
in India, 102;
of family developed into that of community, 101;
origin of, 226.
First-fruits of grain-field offered at threshold, 16 f.
fingers held before evil eye, 76,
extended on receiving praise, 79;
pronouncing word, in response to praise, 79.
Flaming torch in Roman marriage ceremonies, 41.
of sacrificed animal distributed, 4;
and blood symbolized by bread and salt, 9.
“Floor of the door” held sacred in Abyssinia, 131.
Folk-Lore, London, references to, 8, 40, 42-44.
Folk-Lore Journal, reference to, 221.
Folk-Lore Journal, London, references to, 21, 27 f., 34, 50, 56, 196.
Folk-Lore Record, London, reference to, 38.
against threshold, “unlucky” to strike, 12 f.;
importance placed on use of right, 36-38.
Forculus, door-god of Romans, 97.
Forlong, Gen. J.G.R.: references to, 230, 237.
“Fornication,” idolatry called, 213.
and “threshold” interchangeable terms, 21 f.;
references to, 47, 50, 53, 158;
laying in blood in Galam, 51 f.;
sacrifice in Algiers, 48,
among Vlachs in Turkey, 52 f.;
in Archangel, 54;
in inscriptions of Nebuchadrezzar II., 109 f.;
or Papa, 152.
Foundation-stone as threshold of building, 46.
Fountain of life sought for, 148.
sacrificed at door, 4, 9, 21, 27, 45, 54 f.;
sacrificed at foundation-laying in Greece, 53,
in Bulgaria, 54;
sacrificed on Chinese junk starting on long voyage, 71 f.
Foxes, tribe of, red hand among, 87.
marriages in ancient times in, 139;
Marguerite of, married to Edward I. at door in, 140;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230.
Frazer, J.G.:
references to, 5, 93, 209, 230;
cited, 147, 221.
Freytag, G.W., reference to, 244.
Friend of bridegroom:
gifts made at threshold by, in Russia, 32;
among Albanians, 37 f.
Frog under threshold among Magyars, 19 f.
Frothingham, Prof. A.L., Jr., testimony of, 24.
presented to bride at threshold in Dalmatia, 31;
in Bible narrative, 238.
Fuerst, Julius: cited, 244.
salt on threshold in Japan after, 20;
coffin passed out window at, in Europe and America, 25.
Gabriel kissing threshold of gate, 124.
Galam, survival of foundation-laying in blood in, 51 f.
“Galeed,” memorial of covenant between Jacob and Laban, 171.
Galilee, Sea of, reference to, 11.
Gardner, Dr. Percy:
cited, 7;
reference to, 263.
Garlic placed under threshold among Magyars, 19 f.
Garnett, L.M.J.:
cited, 27, 30;
quotation from, 53.
justice at palace, in Persepolis, 60;
of camp of Israel, Moses at, 63;
inscribed, among Muhammadans, 70;
dishonoring, among Greeks, 97;
image as gate in New Zealand, 107 f.;
gods of, 95, 110, 113, 127-129;
of Beltis, 95,
at Medina, at Ghuznee, of mosk at Meccah, images trodden upon at, 123;
keys of captured cities preserved in Germany, 262.
“Gate of the Dead” in Korea, 24.
Gate-god of Romans, 97.
“Gate of heaven” in Jacob’s dream at Bethel, 112.
sacredness of, among Greeks, 7;
of city, images buried under, 14.
Gauri feast, worship of serpent at, 259.
Gaza, gates of, carried off by Samson, 255.
Genesis, the temptation in narrative of:
as understood by Philo Judæus, 238;
teaching of Gnostic sects on, 239.
Genii, winged, and winged bulls at entrance, 95.
Gentleman’s Magazine, reference to, 74.
threshold cure in North, 18;
pottery broken on threshold on marriage eve in North, 33;
South, Scripture inscriptions above entrance of houses in, 73;
marriage rites of, 138;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230;
term for women in, 256;
emperors of, preserving keys of captured cities, 262.
Geronimo sacrificed in building walls of Algiers, 48.
Gesenius, Wilhelm:
cited, 83;
references to, 103, 210, 255.
Ghuzzeh, ancient site of Gaza, 255.
“Gift of in-going” for bridegroom in Skarpanto, 31.
Gifts at threshold:
at wedding in Russia, 32;
at marriage among Towkas, 35.
Gilead, Jacob and Laban in, 171.
Gill, Rev. W.W.: cited, 152.
Gingiro, bloody threshold offering in, 8 f.
Ginsburg, Dr. Christian D.:
cited, #69.f190# f.;
references to, 120, 212.
Gnostic sects, teaching of, on narrative in Genesis, 239.
Goat sacrificed:
at threshold for guest, 4;
in Central Africa, 27 f.;
among Copts in Egypt, 45;
on Arab joining new tribe, 59.
Gobineau, Count de: reference to, 104.
of household party to marriage covenant, 32;
of life and fertility, 79;
of threshold in China, 71, 95 f.,
in India, 95,
in Japan, 96,
in Egypt, 96 f.,
in Greece and Rome, 97,
in Guatemala, 98;
of doorways in China, Japan, Korea, Siam, India, 104;
Asshur and his worshipers with uplifted hands, 89;
doorway shrine as standing-place for, 105;
of under-world, false door of tomb for, 106;
of gates in Babylonia, 113;
Ea in legend of Ishtar and Dumuzi, 114;
Isis, guardian of gateway, 127;
Nephthys, guardian of gateway, 127;
Osiris–judge of living and dead, at door of gateway, 127-129.
“Goddess of the homestead,” prayer to, in betrothal in Russia, 32.
“Goddess of the dwelling-house,” reference to, 32.
Goddess Ishtar, descent of, into Allat’s realm, 113 f.
Godo preserved from wedding night in Dahomey, 245.
“Gods of entrances” among Romans, 97.
“Gods’ portion:”
salted bread under threshold in betrothal in Russia, 32;
of brandy spilt under threshold in Russia, 33.
Godwyn, Thomas: cited, 39.
“Going out and coming in,” reference to threshold and deities, 109.
under threshold in Roumania, 20;
threshold plated with, 110.
Goldsmith struck dead at threshold, 122.
Gomme, George L., 50.
“Good Abode, The,” inscribed on door-posts of dwelling, 68.
“Good luck” from horseshoes on side-posts of doorway, 73 f.
Goodwin, William W.: cited, 39, 41.
Goose sacrificed in Ireland, 21.
“Graf,” meaning of, 183.
Grain, nuts, and fruit presented to bride at threshold in Dalmatia, 31.
Grant, General:
threshold sacrifice in honor of, 7 f.;
at border line of Assioot, 186.
Grant-Bey, Dr. J.A.S., reference to, 124.
“Grape, blood of the,” among Muhammadans, 5.
Grass dipped in blood representing dignity and power, 15.
Graves, symbol of open hand above, 79.
Gray, Archdeacon:
cited, 40, 72;
references to, 104, 108, 245.
Great Britain, reverence for phallic emblems in, 230.
lifting bride over threshold in, 39;
bride worshiping at altar-fire in, 41;
flaming torch to accompany foundation sacrifice in, 53;
reference to religion of, 97;
palace and temple often identical in, 100;
position of altar in temples of, 134;
ancient ruins on sacred foundations of, 158;
trees marking border lines in, 176;
boundaries in ancient, 180;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230;
religions of, and serpent as symbol, 235;
prominence of pine-cone in ancient, 257.
Greek Church, marriage sacrament in, 222.
sacredness of city gates among, 7;
in Turkey, wedding custom among, 30;
altars before houses among, 72;
doorway ornamented for bride among, 72 f.;
appealing to guardian deity at gateway among, 73;
smearing side-posts of gateway with magic herbs among, 73;
deities of doors and gates among, 97;
temple of, developed from dwelling-house, 100;
earliest literature of, in reference to threshold, 132;
modern Easter observance among, 221.
Gregor, Walter, quotation from, 34.
Griffis, William Elliot:
cited, 20;
references to, 101, 104, 230.
Grove of trees:
sacred landmark of boundary in primitive times, 173 f.;
in religious symbolisms, 230.
Guardian deity’s protection secured by stepping over threshold, 12.
“Guardian of the dwellings of Israel, the,” 69.
Guardian of threshold as post of honor, 119 f.
Guarding dwelling by placing sacrifices on threshold, 14.
blood smeared on doorway in, 73;
“the god of houses” in, 98.
adopted by bloody sacrifice at door in Syria and Egypt, 3;
welcomed by stepping over blood at door of host, 4;
by blood among Arabs of Central Africa, 9;
by sacrifice of fowl in Liberia, 9;
refusal of welcome to, 217.
Guhl and Koner: cited, 40 f., 72, 100.
Guzelder, reference to, 190.
Gwilt, Joseph: cited, 36.
Hades, Babylonian conception of, 113.
and Holy House, tradition of, 163;
Abraham’s visit to home of, 200.
Hags kept off by cross drawn on threshold, 18.
Hajj procession returning from Meccah, 186.
Hakham Bâshi, welcome to, 67.
reference to, 247;
marriage customs among Christians at, 248.
Hall of the Two Truths, deceased challenged at entrance to, 129.
Hall of Two-fold Maat, place of final judgment, 129.
Hammaqâm or place of worship, 160.
stamped on door-lintel in Upper Syria, 28 f.;
wrought in silver placed on children’s necks, 76;
figure of, similar to five-branched candlestick, 77;
as symbol on banner and prayer-rug in Turkey and Persia, 78;
as symbol of Siva, the destroyer, 78;
as emblem of power in East Indies, 78;
inscribed on or above door in ancient Carthage, 78;
carved in coral or ivory carried by Jewess, 79;
open, made in stone, metal, enamel, or bone, common in ancient Egypt, 79;
symbol of open, found above graves near Tunis, 79;
symbol of uplifted, in Babylonia, 79 f.,
Assyria and Phenicia, 80,
Egypt, 81, 85,
Polynesia, 83, 148,
Central America, 148;
clasping in covenant in Babylonia, 80;
print of, giant Finmac-Coole as signature, 81;
of clay impressed on human body among American Indians, 84;
print of, as symbol on naked body, 84;
of bride traced in ink in covenant in Korea, 93 f.;
print of, as signature, 93 f.;
of Muhammad signed to certificate of protection, 94.
“Hand of might,” red hand as, 75.
“Hand of Moses,” red hand called, 77.
“Hand-striking” feast at betrothal, 32 f.
Haran, reference to, 160.
Hareema, Arabic term for woman, 256.
Harper’s Magazine, reference to, 96.
Harrison and Verrall, reference to, 159.
Harvest threshold ceremony in India, 16 f.
“Harvest Festival” among Indians of lower Mississippi, 147.
Hasselquist, F., reference to, 222.
Hathor, Queen, reference to, 184.
ancient gods of, 150;
cities of refuge in, 151.
Hayes, Isaac I.: cited, 39.
as primitive altar, 22;
Penates of Romans at, 23;
bride taken to, in Scotland, 44.
of Arab shaykh’s tent, 22;
as first threshold altar, 40.
Hearn, Lafcadio:
cited, 72, 201;
quotation from, 125 f.
word nasa–to lift up or to swear, 83;
word for tent and tabernacle, 101;
literature, reference to, 109;
law as to cities of refuge, 151,
as to local landmarks, 169;
new year, 212.
commanded to dedicate doorways to living God, 69;
sacred ark of, in house of god Dagon, 116 f.
Hebrews, Epistle to, on threshold sacrifice, 217.
Hebron, reference to, 255.
Heh and Egyptian empire, boundary marks between, 179.
Heifer sacrificed at door for guest, 4.
sacrificed in Ireland, 21;
sacrificed at new houses among Metâwileh, 45;
buried alive under house, 56.
Henderson, William: cited, 142, 160.
Herald in India responsible with life for repayment of debt, 61 f.
Herbs, juice of magic, smeared on door-posts among Greeks, 73.
“Hercules, Pillars of,” 181.
Hermann, K.F.: cited, 172.
Hermes, reference to, concerning boundary lines, 171 f.
Hermes Propylaios, reference to, 159.
quotation from, 14;
cited, 111;
references to, 229, 236.
Herrick, R.: his poem on marriage, 139 f.
Hesiod, reference to, 132 f.
Hesperides, shores of, 135.
Heuzey, Léon: cited, 29 f.
Hiel, Jericho’s foundation laid in blood of son of, 47.
Hieroglyphics placed on door-posts and lintels in Egypt, 68 f.
High thresholds in houses of Finland and United States, and in Teutonic houses, 12.
Highway, king’s, reference to, 176.
Hilkiah, duties of guardians of threshold in days of, 120.
Hillah, red hand over doors of large khan of, 75.
Hilprecht, Dr. H.V.:
cited, 22, 78, 109, 155, 209;
testimony of, 33 f.;
on use of red hand over doors in Babylonia, 75;
quotation from, 167-169.
Hindooism, modern, Saivism predominating in, 198.
sacredness of threshold among, 11;
law regarding door-sill, 15;
belief that evil spirits keep aloof from iron, 17;
rules requiring right foot to cross threshold first, 36 f.;
sacredness of fire recognized by, 40;
sacredness of oath taken at threshold of temple among, 121 f.;
prejudice against shedding blood, sacrifices in spite of, 122 f.;
worship of, 236;
exhibit of evidence among, 249.
Hindoostan, survivals of foundation-laying in blood, 50.
Hinge-goddess of Romans, 97.
Hinges, reference to, 254.
Hittite, reference to, 213.
Hofstad, temple in, 160.
Hog sacrificed before door in Egypt, 14.
Holland, strewing of threshold in, 33.
Holy water at doorway of Roman Catholic churches in America, 147.
Holy Sepulcher, Church of, 221.
Homer: cited, 100;f267#, #132 f., 135.
Hommel, Prof. Fritz: cited, 201.
smeared on door-posts among Wallachians, 29;
and water for bride at threshold in Morea, 30;
and bread placed on bride’s gate-post, 42 f.
Hooke, N., reference to, 265.
Hopkins, Prof. Dr. E.W.:
cited, 6, 62, 198, 231;
quotation from, 15.
Hormuz, son of Nurshivan, reference to, 11.
“Horns of the altar,” meaning of, 58.
Horus, image of, over temple door to drive away unclean spirits, 127;
reference to, 179.
sacrificed at threshold in Syria, 4 f.;
passing through blood of sacrifice, 7;
laid in churchyard before burial in Sweden, 56;
stamped with red hand in Babylonia, 75;
covered with red hands buried with Indian chief, 85 f.
nailed to door-sills in Bombay, 17,
on door-step in Pennsylvania, 21,
to side-posts for “good luck” in Europe and America, 73 f.;
often found on ship’s mast, 74.
law of, in India, 5 f.;
among Arabs, 22.
Hossein, banners with open hand at commemoration of death of, 78.
preceding temple, 3;
corners of, sprinkled with blood, in Ireland, 21;
wall broken for removal of body, in India, 23;
earliest form of Egyptian temple, 100;
of king both palace and temple, 101 f.;
to temple, gradual transition from, 101 f.
as earliest priest, 3;
among Hindoos, 15.
House of the Bronze Threshold, 132.
Household “teraphim,” 109.
Hovel earliest form of Egyptian temple, 100.
Huc, Abbé: cited, 125.
Hughes, Thomas P.:
cited, 37, 123;
reference to, 164.
Human nature and sacredness of threshold, 152.
Human sacrifice:
in Zindero and Central Africa, 8 f.,
in China, 48,
in Alaska, 50 f.,
in Mexico, 56,
at pagoda door in India, 122 f.,
on altar at temple gate in Tibet, 125;
in modern times, 47;
various substitutes for, 53 f.;
reference to, 144.
Human skeletons found under towers of ancient Irish, 50 f.
Hut earliest form of Japanese temple, 101.
Hwen Thsang, reference to, 156.
“Hymen’s torch” in marriage ceremony, 41.
Hyssop, significance of, 214.
Iceland, Thorolf of Norway in, 160.
Idolaters, threshold and door-post of, beside Lord’s, 118.
at door-altar in Mexico, 21;
destroyed at gate in Meccah, Medina, and Ghuznee, 123.
Image as gateway of village or cemetery in New Zealand, 107 f.
buried under threshold of houses, temples, and city gates, 14;
in sacred “upper corner” of building in Russia, 55;
under foundations in ancient Rome, 55 f.;
of gods of threshold in China, 96.
Imbiʾa, reference to, 60.
Imgur-Bêl gate in walls of Babylon, 110.
“Imposition of the Sa, the,” touch of uplifted hand of deity, 85.
mantra used in, 15;
on paper placed in door-sill in Pennsylvania, 21.
placed on threshold, 18;
exorcism with, 18;
burned on threshold in Tuscany, 42;
origin of, 226.
law of threshold in, 5 f.;
sacredness of threshold in, 16;
body not to cross threshold, 23;
body removed through wall, 23;
crossing threshold by bride in, 38;
bride at altar-fire in, 41;
appeals in blood at household altar in, 61;
refusal to move from threshold until claim is heeded in, 61;
offering to threshold god Vāttu in, 95;
fire-altar center of worship in, 99;
no temples in early, 100;
fire-altar on threshold as place of worship in, 102;
doorways apart from temples in, 104;
judgments at temple threshold in, 122;
bloody sacrifices at temple threshold in, 122;
holy trees in Upper, 156;
habit of building sanctuary in, 157;
landmarks in, 169;
laws of, regarding disputed boundaries, 169;
visible aid of worship in, 198;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230;
serpent as religious symbol in, 235;
marriage ceremonies in, 248;
lotus symbol in, 257;
religious custom in, 258.
Indian Antiquary, reference to, 258.
of Mexico, reference to, 21;
of Yucatan, reference to, 82;
red hand among American, 85-93;
Natchez, religious ceremonies among, 147.
Indies, East, hand as emblem of power in, 78.
Indo-Aryans and boundary lines, 185.
and invocation placed at corner of building in Babylonia, 22;
on gates and houses deemed protection against evil spirits, 70;
at doorway in China, 71;
among Greeks, 72;
on tomb of kings of Persia, 124;
showing sanctity of temple doorways in Asia, 109.
Instructress in matrimony in China, 40.
on images buried under threshold, 14;
and deposits at threshold in Babylonia, 22.
Iona cathedral built in human blood, 50.
Ionia, pillar as threshold stone in, 180.
Ioways, red hand among, 87.
sacrifice in, 21;
lifting bride over threshold in, 44;
human skeletons in round towers in, 50;
print of five fingers on “druidical altar” in, 81;
mode of marriage in, 142 f.
Irenæus: cited, 239.
Iron as guard against evil spirits, 17.
temples of, modeled on primeval hut, 101;
great shrines of, chief Meccah of Shintō faith, 126.
and Holy House, tradition of, 163;
and Hagar, Abraham’s visit to home of, 200.
Ishmael, Rabbi: cited, 208.
gate of, 95;
legend of, 113.
Isis, guardian of Egyptian temple, 127.
Islands, South Sea, temples of, 148.
executing judgment against Benjamites for disregard of appeal at door, 63 f.;
called to “establish judgment at the gate,” 64.
protected against Medes, Persians, Midianites, and Assyrians, 211;
reference to, 216;
command to, concerning Asherah and pillar, 233;
exhibiting evidences among, 249.
Istar of Agade, 153. See, also, Ishtar.
prominence of threshold in folk customs of, 17 f.;
corpse not to pass main door of house in, 24.
Ivory hand as talisman among Jews at Tunis, 79.
at Bethel, 160;
and Laban agreeing on landmark, 171;
his pillar, 268 f.
“Jacob’s ladder” probably stepped-temple structure, 112.
Jaffa, sacrifices of sheep at beginning of railroad at, 56.
Janua,” reference to, 200.
Janus, Gate-god of Romans, 97.
salt sprinkled on threshold in, 20;
survival of foundation-laying in blood in, 51 f.;
shimenawa suspended above door in, 72;
gods of Ni-o guarding threshold in, 96;
temples of, on model of primeval huts, 101;
doorways apart from temples in, 104;
pilgrims at threshold of sacred shrines of, 125;
Shinto temples of, 201;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230.
Jastrow, Prof. Dr. Morris, Jr.: cited, 79, 144, 253.
Jastrow, Rev. Dr. Marcus, testimony of, 212.
Jehoash, altar at threshold in days of, 121.
chest for offerings placed at temple door and altar, 121;
his assignment of priests to threshold, 120.
Jennings, Hargrave: cited, 230.
Jeremiah, references to, 64, 213.
curse of Joshua on rebuilder of walls of, 46 f.;
walls of, falling down, 211.
Jerome: his translation of saph, 207.
and Jaffa railroad, sacrifice at beginning of, 57;
blood placed on lintel of temple at, 67;
red hand in Jews’ quarter of, 75;
waters issuing from under threshold of temple at, 114;
altar of burnt offering at threshold of temple at, 120;
temple site at, 161;
presence of Christ at, 215;
Church of Holy Sepulcher at, 221.
reference of, to door, 6,
to gates of Hades, 65;
the Door, 104.
red hand on houses of, in Jerusalem, 76,
on houses at Safed, 77;
open hand found over graves of, in Europe, 79;
in Morocco, bloody hand on door-posts among, 67 f.;
sign of hand found in houses of, 76;
sacrifice of lamb at door of new house of, 76 f.;
in Tunis, bloody hand among, 78 f.;
hand as talisman against evil eye among, 79;
rubbing fingers on synagogue door-posts among, 144;
modern, observing passover, 211 f.
Jicarilla Apaches:
prominence of red hand among, 87;
celebration of attainment to puberty among, 88-92.
John the Baptist, reference to, 218 f.
Jones and Kropf:
cited, 12, 18, 20 f., 143;
quotation from, 17.
Jordan, source of, at threshold of grotto of Pan, 115.
his curse on rebuilder of Jericho, 46 f.;
guardians of threshold in days of, 120.
Journal of American Folk-Lore, references to, 5, 21.
Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, reference to, 236.
Judicial oath, uplifted hand in, 83.
Julien, Stanislas: cited, 156.
“Jumping the broomstick,” 143.
Juno, Virgil’s reference to brazen threshold in temple of, 130.
priest of, at Lystra, 134 f.;
reference to boundary lines, 171;
image of, as boundary mark, 172.
Justice sought at gate:
among Arabs, 57-59;
in Arabia, 59 f.;
in Babylonia and Elam, 60;
in Egypt, 60 f.;
in India, 61;
in Morocco, 62 f.;
among Israelites, 63 f.;
in Turkey, 65.
Justinian, Emperor: cited, 181.
Ka, or soul, of dead, offerings to, 106.
Kaʿbah in mosk at Meccah, 163.
Kadesh, Egyptian goddess, 234.
Kadi, reference to, 247.
Kamehameha, king of Sandwich Islands, 150.
Kami, gods of doorways, 104.
Kardas Sarks, god of house, prayer to, 44.
Kathiawar, human sacrifice at threshold at, 61.
Kauzeroon, British envoy approaching, 189.
Keeper of gate, honorable position, 119 f.
Kef Miryam, name of sign of hand, 77.
Keightley, Thomas, references to, 172, 236.
Keoroeva, ancient gods of Maui, 150.
Ket, uses of the Egyptian goddess, 234.
Key, uses of the Hebrew word for, 253.
Khaleefs of Bagdad, threshold custom of, 10.
Khedive, threshold sacrifice to welcome new, 7.
Khem, god of generative force, 234.
Khonds of Orissa, crossing threshold in wedding among, 39.
Khorsabad, sanctity of doorway in, 108 f.
outpoured blood of, in hospitality among Arabs, 23;
sacrificed on threshold in Syria, 26.
King, Capt. J.S.:
quotations from, #27f72# f.;
cited, 196.
human sacrifice to welcome, 8 f.;
and priest, offices claimed by same person, 101 f.
Kings of Scotland crowned on Coronation Stone, 268.
King’s highway, 176.
threshold in Persia, 12;
doors among Pythagoreans, 13;
threshold among Morlacchi in Dalmatia, 31;
doorway serpent in Yezidis’ temple, 116;
threshold of mosk in Persia, 123 f.;
threshold of gate of tomb of Alee, 124;
threshold of wely, 129;
threshold and door-posts of church in Abyssinia, 130 f.
“Kissing the church” in Abyssinia, 131.
Kitto, John, references to, 120, 212.
Kitzuki, sacredness of threshold among pilgrims at, 125 f.
Kiva temples, hand on walls of, 92.
Knight, Richard Payne: cited, 230.
“Knowledge, Tree of,” reference to, 156.
“Knowledge,” in Bible narrative, 238.
Kohala, temple in, 150.
Koner. See Guhl and Koner.
Koran, See Quran.
dead taken through hole in city wall in, 24;
marriage covenant made by tracing woman’s hand on contract, 93;
doorways apart from temples in, 104;
pilgrims at threshold in sacred shrines of, 125.
Kowalewsky, M.: cited, 42.
Krasnoslobodsk, marriage customs in, 249.
Kropf, Lewis L.:
cited, 12, 18, 20.
See, also, Jones and Kropf.
Kurigalzu II., king of Babylon, 154.
Kuru-Kshetra, holy ground, 156.
Kuza bemuchsaz Kuzu”–name of God, 70.
Laban and Jacob agreeing about landmark, 171.
Lachish, Tell el-Hesy, site of ancient, 58.
Lacouperie, Terrien de: cited, 185, 231.
Ladder, Jacob’s, probably stepped-temple structure, 112.
“Lady of the great land,”–Beltis Allat, 113.
Lakshmi, wife of Vishnoo, represented as seated on serpent, 235.
sacrificed at door for guest, in Egypt, 4,
in Syria, 4, 26;
outpoured blood of, in hospitality among Arabs, 23;
sacrificed at foundation-laying in Greece, 53;
buried under altar in first Christian churches in Swedish tradition, 56;
sacrificed on Arab joining another tribe, 58 f.;
sacrificed at door of new house of Jew or Muhammadan in Palestine, 76 f.
Lamberton, Prof. W.A.: cited, 132, 134.
Lamps and laurels on gates in Tertullian’s time, 97 f.
Lanciani, Dr. Rodolfo: cited, 56, 257 f.
sacred boundary of private, 166;
local, in form of phallus, 166;
in Babylonia, 166;
in laws of Hebrews, 169;
in India, 169;
fixing and honoring of, origin of, 175.
Landor, A. Henry Savage-: cited, 24, 94.
Lane, Edward William:
cited, 26, 37, 129, 245;
references to, 123, 244.
Lane-Poole, Stanley: cited, 129, 200.
Lantevit Major Church, wedding customs at, 141.
Lapland, significance of stepping over threshold in, 12.
Lares and Penates in Cicero’s time, 41.
Latins, marriage custom among, 29.
Launching custom of “christening” in England and America, 8.
wreaths hung in doorway at marriage among Romans, 73;
Christians warned against placing, on their gates, 97.
Laurie, Dr. Thomas: cited, 124.
Law of doorway, 5-10.
Laws of Manu, reference to, 6.
Layard, Sir Austen H.:
cited, 68, 109, 111, 190, 201, 234 f.;
his discovery of sculptured image of Assyrian king, 115 f.
“Laying on of hands, the,” as symbol of imparting power, 85.
Lazarus at gate of Dives, 64.
Leaping over threshold, 117.
Lebanon, Mt., region receiving European prince, 191.
Legend and fact as contributors to proof of custom among Orientals, 77.
of Dumuzi, Tammuz, Osiris, and Adonis, correspondences in, 115;
and symbols employed concerning boundary lines, 171 f.
Leland, Charles Godfrey: cited, 17 f., 233.
Lèlè, name for altar, 150 f.
Lemm, Oscar von: cited, 128.
Lenormant, François: cited, 109.
Levites and priests assigned to threshold and foundation, 120.
Levitical laws concerning sacrifice not made at “door of tent of meeting,” 118 f.
Levy, Rabbi Jacob: cited, 208.
Libation of water offered on threshold, 16 f., 29.
fowl sacrificed to welcome guest in, 9;
nuptial customs of, 196.
Liberian clergyman’s testimony regarding threshold custom, 39.
Liddell and Scott: cited, 208.
Liebenstein, castle of, made fast by burying child, 49.
new, outgrowth of truth of primal threshold covenant, 226;
tree of, symbol of feminine nature, 230;
goddess of, in Egypt and Assyria, 234.
Lifting bride over threshold:
among Towkas, 35;
in Abyssinia, Egypt, Syria, 38;
in Greece, Rome, and West Africa. 39;
in Russia, England, Scotland, Ireland, and United States, 44;
in Central America, 45.
Limen, Jerome’s word for saph, 207.
Limentinus, threshold god of Romans, 97.
Lindisfarne Abbey, marriage customs at, 141.
Linga in yoni, symbol of Siva’s worship, 198, 236.
hand in dough impressed on, in Upper Syria, 28 f.;
smeared with honey and water, 30;
blood on, 66, 68;
inscriptions as to sacredness of, 66, 68;
blood stains above, 67;
symbolic figures on, 70;
sentences written on, in China, 71;
Romans affixing spoils of battle on, 73;
red hand on, 74;
red hand on, in Babylonia, 75;
ornamentation of, in ancient Egypt, 100;
image of Horus on, 127;
kissed by pious in Abyssinia, 131;
decorations on, and above, 146;
blood on, as protection for house, 206;
and two side-posts, God passing over, 210.
Lithuania, wooden cross placed under threshold in, 18.
Littleton, Sir Thomas: cited, 140.
London, horseshoes on threshold of houses in ancient, 74.
Loong-moo, sacrifice of fowl in honor of divinity, among Chinese, 71 f.
“Lord of the great city,” god Nergal as, 113.
Lot welcoming angels, 211.
Lotus flower:
in religious symbolisms, 230;
reference to, 234;
symbol of fecundity, 257.
“Louping stone,” 142.
Lowell, Percival: cited, 104, 126, 201.
Lubare, offering to, in Uganda, 15.
Lubbock, Sir John: cited, 39.
Luncz, A.M., quotations from, 67, 76.
Lund’s Every-day Life in Scandinavia: reference to, 7, 12.
Lystra, temple of Jupiter at, reference to, 135.
McDowell, Henry B.: cited, 96.
McLennan, Dr. John F.: cited, 39.
Mackay, Alexander: cited, 15.
Mackenzie, Capt. J.S.F., quotation from, 258 f.
Maçoudi’s Les Prairies d’Or, reference to, 200.
Madaa, place of prayer, 164.
Madagascar, importance of right foot in, 38;
circumcision in, 149.
Mafkat, land of, 184.
Magharah, Wady, boundary marks in, 179.
stepping over threshold among, 12;
custom to win love, 19 f.
cited, 6;
on responsibility of heralds, 62;
Hindoo epic, 157.
Mal occhis, or evil eye, 79.
Male represented by stone or pole, 258.
Man, origin and development of, 223.
Manoli in “Monastery of Argis,” story of, 52 f.
Mantra, meaning of word, 15.
Manu, Laws of, reference to, 6.
Maras kept off by cross on threshold, 18.
“Marches,” reference to, 183.
Marduk, reference to, 235.
Margosa, reference to, 259.
Margrave, origin of, 183.
Mariette Bey, references to, 111, 126, 128.
Market-places as boundaries, 178.
“Markgraf,” meaning of, 183.
“Marks,” reference to, 183.
Marquardt, Joachim: cited, 30, 39, 41.
“Marque, Letters of,” meaning of, 183.
“Marquee,” meaning of, 183.
Marquises, origin of, 183.
threshold covenanting in, 25-35;
by outpoured blood at threshold, 26;
customs among Somalis in Central Africa, 27,
among Wallachians, 29,
in Egypt, 243, 245,
in China, Dahomey, 245,
in Syria, 246,
in Asia and Africa, in Krasnoslobodsk, among Mordvins, in Pensa, 249,
in Samoa, 251;
not “by capture,” 36;
celebrated at church door in Abyssinia, 131;
where solemnized, 138;
Pre-Reformation rule of, 139;
services in Protestant Episcopal churches, 148;
covenant, primitive certificate of, 196;
primitive rite of, 214, 225;
sacrament of, in Roman Catholic Church, 222;
torch, origin of, 226;
certificate in Syria, 245,
in Upper Egypt, 245;
ceremonies among Muhammedans, 247;
ceremonies among Christians at Haleb, 248;
ceremonies in Darfour, 249.
See, also, Wedding ceremonies.
“Mary’s Hand, Virgin,” among Christians of Syria, 77.
bridegroom’s visit to, in Central Africa, 27;
place of prostration, 163.
Mask marked with hand among Jicarilla Apaches, 89.
Mason, William Shaw: cited, 21, 81.
“Mason and Dixon’s line,” 182.
Maspero, Prof. G.:
cited, 14, 39, 85;
references to, 95, 102, 105 f., 113 f., 126, 169, 201, 235.
Massachusetts, beating bounds in, 176.
Mastabahs, false doors in ancient Egypt, 106 f.
Matthews, Washington, reference to, 87.
Maundrell, Henry, reference to, 222.
Maui, Island of, ancient god of, 150.
Maurice, Thomas:
cited, 122;
references to, 123, 236 f.
Maya people, sacrifices among, 145.
black stone of, reference to, 10;
prayer niche toward, 108;
mosk of, image thrown down at gate of, 123;
mosk at, reference to, 163;
Hajj procession from, 186.
Medals showing altar at threshold, 121.
Medicine taken on threshold in Tuscany, 17 f.
Medina, mosk of, pieces of idol thrown down at gate of, 123.
Mediterranean, boundary marks on shores of, 178.
Medusa and serpents, 237.
Memorials in door form, in various lands, 107.
reference to, concerning boundary lines, 171;
image of, as boundary landmark, 172.
god of left side of gate, 95;
temple of, threshold plated with gold, 110.
Metâwileh, hen sacrificed at building of house among, 45.
Metempsychosis connected with threshold covenant, 226.
Indians of ancient, reference to, 21;
sacrificial stone of temple of, 56;
ancient, altar in doorway, 108;
earliest form of temple in, 144;
religions of, and serpent as symbol, 235.
Meydoom, stepped pyramid of, in Egypt, 126.
“Mezuza,” covenant record at door-way, 69 f.
Middle Empire of Egypt:
disappearance of door form in, 106;
temples of, 155.
“Midsummer Day” festival in Russia, 42.
“Mihrab,” or prayer niche, probable origin of its form, 108.
Mile-posts as landmarks, 176.
Min, Egyptian god of generative force, 234.
Mineptah I., memorial stone of, 180.
Minnesota, threshold custom among Scandinavians in, 259.
Mississippi, lower, religious ceremonies among Indians along, 147.
“Mizpah,” memorial of covenant, 171.
Mnesikles, architect, plan of, 158.
Moksha, wooing custom among, 42.
“Monastery of Argis,” foundation sacrifice in, 52 f.
Monier-Williams, Sir Monier: cited, 156, 198 f., 230, 236.
Monoliths in front of door of temple at Yeha, 131.
Montezuma: his consecration of altar by blood of captives, 56.
Moon-god Sin:
Ur-Gur with uplifted hands before, 80;
reference to, 161.
Mordevins. See Mordvins.
threshold as altar among, 32;
marriage customs of, 41, 249.
Morea, threshold custom in, 30.
Morier, James:
cited, 11 f., 78, 123;
quotation from, 189 f.
Morlacchi custom of kissing threshold, 31.
Morocco, survival of sacrificing at door-way in, 62.
Mosaic law, appeal to altar in covenant in, 65.
at gate of camp, 63;
meeting Jehovah at doorway, 119;
in wilderness of Sinai, 160 f.
“Moses, Hand of,” red hand called, 77.
Mosk of St. Sophia, stamp of red hand in, 77.
Mostur, temple of Thor in, 160.
Mt. Lebanon region, European prince received in, 191.
Mt. Moriah:
temple on, reference to, 161;
and Abraham’s offering, 161.
Mt. Sinai, reference to, 94.
Mountain peaks as boundaries, 178.
certificate of protection signed with impression of open hand of, 94;
throne of, reached only by kissing threshold, 124.
Muhammad II.: his victory over Christians sealed by bloody hand, 77.
Muhammad Issoof, letter from king of Mysore to, 94.
substitute for “blood of the grape,” 5;
conquest of India, reference to, 123.
to place right foot first in crossing threshold, 36;
inscribe gates, fountains, bridges, and houses, 70;
sacred inscriptions placed above doorways by, 71;
sign of hand among, 76;
lamb sacrificed at door of new house of, 76 f.;
“Hand of the Prophet” on houses of, 77;
sultan as father of faithful, 103;
prayer niche among, 108;
treading on idol at gate, 123;
threshold of mosks counted sacred among, 123;
their estimate of first foundations, 162;
marriage customs of, 247;
reticent on matters concerning women, 247 f.
Muir, Sir William, reference to, 164.
Mülhau and Volck, reference to, 255.
Müller, Ivan V., reference to, 172.
Müller, Prof. W. Max: cited, 127, 234.
Muslims. See Muhammadans.
Mussulmans. See Muhammadans.
king of, hand-print on back of letter written by, 94;
ancient religious custom at, 258.
Mysoreans, hand-print equivalent to oath among, 94.
Naaman, reference to, 161.
Nabob of Arcot, banners of, inscribed with hand, 78.
Nabonidus, king of Babylon, 153.
Nabunaʾid, king of Babylon, 154.
as gateway of nations, 105;
boundary marks at, 178.
Nahuas, marriage ceremonies of, 246.
Nakishbend, tomb of, threshold stone at, 124 f.
Naomi, reference to, 64.
Napier, James: cited, 44.
Naples, pine cone among Pompeian relics at, 257.
Narâm-Sin, reference to, 154.
Nasa, meaning of Hebrew word, 83.
Natchez Indians, religious ceremonies among, 147.
Nations or states, boundaries of, 177.
Neapolitan Museum, information concerning threshold at, 258.
shrine of, 110;
references to, 177, 188.
Nebuchadrezzar I.:
meaning of name, 177;
his empire boundary, 188.
Nebuchadrezzar II.:
inscriptions of, 109;
his description of building walls of Babylon, 109-111;
reference to, 154.
reference to, 160;
boundary dispute on borders of, 170.
Neoptolemus and Orestes in temple at Delphi, 134.
Nephthys, guardian of gateway of Egyptian temple, 127.
Nergal, threshold god among Assyrians, 95, 113, 235.
Nestorians kissing threshold on entering church, 124.
Nevius, Rev. J.W.: cited, 24.
New Empire of Egypt:
religious pictures on stele in tombs of, 107;
buildings of, 155.
New England:
door at corner of house in, 55;
“beating the bounds” in, 176.
“New Fire, Festival of,” 147.
New Testament, symbols of Old Testament explained in, 215.
New Year:
threshold custom in Aberdeenshire, 20 f.;
of Hebrews, 212;
Easter beginning new Ecclesiastical, 221.
New Zealand, sacred image as gateway in, 107 f.
as shrine in Egypt, 106;
survival of tomb doorways, 108;
prominence of, in Egypt, 106 f.,
in New Zealand, 107 f.,
in Muhammadan and Christian lands and in China, 108.
Niebuhr, C.: cited, 248.
Nikkō, shrines of, 126.
Nile, Gen Grant on Upper, 7 f.
Nimb tree, reference to, 259.
Nimitti-Bel, gate of, in walls of Babylon, 110.
Nimroud, blood-stained slabs at entrance to palace of, 68.
sanctity of doorway in, 108 f.;
sculpture of Assyrian king with uplifted arm found at, 115.
Ni-o, prints of gods placed over doors in Japan, 95.
sanctity of doorway in, 108 f.;
altar found between temples in, 111.
Nish, Assyrian word for swearing, 83.
Noetling, Dr., reference to, 77.
Northly, Hen., reference to, 140.
Norway, Thorolf of, removing to Iceland, 160.
“Not by door,” entering house, 6.
Notre Dame, marriage at door of church of, 130.
November 11 as sacrifice day in Ireland, 21.
ancient map of gold districts in, 180;
reference to, 185.
Numa, directions of, concerning boundaries, 173.
Nuptial torch in marriage ceremony, 41.
Nurshivan and Hormuz, reference to, 11.
Nuts presented to bride at threshold in Dalmatia, 31.
Oath, uplifted hand in judicial, 83.
Obelisk, symbol of Baal, 214.
Oberea, queen of Otaheite, 250 f.
at threshold, 28, 118 f.;
to local divinity at threshold-laying, 95;
for dead pictured on stele of Middle Empire of Egypt, 106.
Ohel, applied to private tent and to sacred tabernacle, 101.
Ohnefalach-Richter, reference to, 231.
Old Empire of Egypt:
false door in early tombs of, 106;
temples of, 155.
Old Testament and New:
waters of life in, 115;
rites and symbols of, 215.
Oldest member of household first to enter new house, 54.
Olympian games, references to, 7, 263.
Olympus, House of Zeus, 132.
Om mani padme Hūm, 199.
Omaha chief, burial of, 85 f.
Ophites, teaching of, 239.
Oracle at Delphi, 236.
Oran buried alive in foundation of cathedral in Iona, 50.
Orestes and Neoptolemus at Delphi, 134.
sovereigns and boundaries, 177;
Christians, covenanting at threshold among, 221;
figures of speech obscured by literalism of Western mind, 238.
Orissa, importance of threshold in marriage in, 39.
Orme, R.: cited, 94.
annual feast in honor of, 14 f.;
references to, 106, 115, 128 f., 179;
door of gateway, 127.
Ostium” defined, 200.
Otaheite, primitive threshold in, 250.
Ovid: cited, 172 f.
Owens, J.G.: cited, 21.
Oxford, Penn., stone landmark at, 183.
spilling water on threshold in, 29;
sacrifice at beginning railroad in, 57;
blood on lintel, 67;
red hand in, 75;
hand printed in blue in houses of, 76.
Palgrave, William G.: cited, 10.
Palm cone, symbolism of, 231.
Palmer, Prof. E.H., quotation from, 26.
Pan, threshold of grotto of, 115.
Pan-kăng, emperor of China, reference to, 157.
Paper sprinkled with blood in China, 72.
“Parting-stool,” reference to, 142.
Pāsăkha, meaning of, 208, 210, 266.
with Barnabas at Lystra, 135;
his reference to foundations, 162;
to Corinthian Christians, 215;
on Christian passover, 217;
on relation between Christ and his church, 219.
Pausanias: cited, 135.
Pecos, red-hand symbol in ancient Pueblos of, 87 f.
Peepul tree, in Upper India, 156, 259.
Peloponnesus and Attica, boundary between, 180.
reference to, 19;
of Romans at threshold, 23;
appeased by bread and salt, 32;
and Lares in Cicero’s time, 41.
threshold custom in, 21;
corner-stone at door in, 55;
horseshoes as doorway guards in, 74;
stone landmark in, 183.
Pennsylvania Magazine of History, reference to, 183.
Pensa, marriage customs in, 249.
Per-ao” (Pharaoh), meaning of, 103.
Pericles building new Propylæa, 158.
Perrot and Chipiez:
cited, 71, 78, 80, 85, 100, 103, 105, 111, 201, 231, 235;
quotation from, 106 f.
Persea, reference to, 180.
Persepolis, justice at palace gate of, 60.
sacredness of threshold in, 11 f.;
sacred passages inscribed over doorways in, 71;
banners and prayer-rugs inscribed with open hand in, 78;
no temples in ancient, 100;
fire-altar on uplifted threshold as place of worship in, 100, 102;
veneration for threshold of mosks in, 123 f.;
border sacrifices in, 188;
shah of, entering Teheran, 189;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230;
marriage customs in, 249;
phallus represented by boundary posts, 258.
blood smeared on doorway in, 73;
stepped pyramid temples in, 111;
religions of, and serpent as symbol, 235.
Pesakh. See Pāsăkh.
Petrie, Dr. W.M. Flinders:
his discovery of ornamental door-jams, 58;
reference to, 126.
“Petting stone,” at Lindisfarne Abbey, 141.
Phallus, reverence for, in Babylonia, Assyria, India, China, Japan, Persia, Phrygia, Phenicia, Egypt, Abyssinia, Greece, Rome, Germany, Scandinavia, France, Spain, Great Britain, North and South America, Islands of the Sea, 230.
“Pharaoh,” meaning of, 103.
uplifted hand of deities of, 79 f.;
prominence of door in, 107;
altar at threshold in, 121;
indications of presence of deity in, 201;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230;
religions of, and serpent as symbol, 235;
pine cone symbol in, 257.
Philip II. of Spain, reference to, 139.
Philistines, sacredness of threshold among, 11 f.
Philo Judæus:
cited, 208, 238;
reference to, 239.
Philos, Phleō, and Phliē, meanings and uses of, 255 f.
Phœbus Apollo, reference to, 133.
threshold altar in, 121;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230.
sacrifice of black, in Russia, 19;
blood of, sprinkled at door in Borneo, 20;
buried alive under houses, 56;
as sacrifice, 148.
Pigeon-poult’s blood in Arabia, 248.
Pigeons sacrificed at door, 4.
Pilgrims at threshold in Japan, in Korea, in Shinto and Booddhist temple, 125.
of cloud at doorway of tent of meeting, 119;
of Baal, 214;
and tree in religious symbolism, 232;
command to Israelites concerning, 233.
“Pillars of Herculus,” 181.
Pine cone: in ancient Assyrian sculptures, in Grecian and Phenician cults, and in ancient Rome, 257.
Pinkerton, John: cited, 39.
Pipal tree. See Peepul tree.
Pipiles, sacrifices among, 146.
“Plain of Kuru,” 156.
Pliny, reference to, 93.
Ploss, H., reference to, 93.
Plutarch: cited, 25, 39, 41, 180 f., 263, 265.
Pole, brush-topped, symbolism of, 214, 258.
survival of foundation-laying in blood in, 51 f.;
uplifted hand found in stepped-pyramid temples of, 83;
boundary lines in, 174.
on threshold in Morea, 30, in Rhodes, 30 f.;
in religious symbolisms, 230.
Pompeian relics at Naples, 257.
Ponce de Leon and fountain of life, 148.
Poole. See Lane-Poole.
Poros, derivation of, 265.
Porta and Porto, derivation of, 265.
Porta di morti in Italian houses for corpse, 24.
Porter, Sir Robert Kerr: cited, 9, 71.
Porter, twofold use of word, 263-265.
Portuguese navigators and boundary pillars, 180 f.
Postliminium, a recrossing of threshold, 181.
uses of Hebrew word, 253;
as hinge or socket, 254.
Prabhus of Bombay, birth custom among, 17.
Prague, open hand above graves in, 79.
on burying articles under threshold, 20;
offered to “goddess of the homestead” in betrothal in Russia, 32;
for dead at door of Egyptian tombs, 106;
Booddhist in Tibet, 199;
meaning of, 228.
Prayer-rug in Turkey and Persia, 78.
house-father as earliest, 3;
among Jicarilla Apaches, 89;
as ruler, 165;
of Dagon not to tread on threshold, 117.
altar of family, 3;
threshold customs, 35;
temple as rude door-way, 102;
man and his knowledge, 224.
Prisse’s Monuments of Egypt, reference to, 234.
Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archæology, references to, 201, 231, 257.
of Egyptian temple, 127;
of Greek temple on Acropolis, 158.
Pʾrosdôr, rabbinical meaning of, 253.
Prostitution, sacred, origin of, 229.
at gate of palace in Bagdad, 10;
at threshold of shrines of Egypt, 127 f.
for enemy at home sanctuary, 57;
at threshold among Afghans, 58.
Protestant Episcopal churches:
baptismal font in, 147;
marriage ceremonies in, 148.
his reference to lifting up hand, 82;
to honorable position of doorkeeper, 120.
Puberty celebrated among Jicarilla Apaches, 88-91.
prominence of red hand among, 87;
references to, 88, 92.
Puhonuas, cities of refuge in Hawaii, 151.
Purity of primitive threshold covenant, 233.
“Put your right foot first,” 37 f.
Puthmēn, meanings and uses of, 255.
Pylon. See Propylon.
Pyramid, stepped:
many early temples in form of, 83, 111;
of Meydoom, 126;
references to, 144, 148, 229.
Pythagoras: cited, 37.
Pythagoreans, reverence for threshold among, 12 f.
Quarrels as result of shaking hands over threshold in Finland, 12.
Quarterly Statement of Palestine Exploration Fund, reference to, 29.
Queen of Heaven, statue of, in Carthage, 130.
Qurân, sentences from:
on gates, fountains, bridges, and houses, 70;
on houses of worship, 163.
Rahab, blood-colored thread on house of, 211.
Raja Pasupati, reference to, 157.
Ralston, W.R.S.:
cited, 12, 19, 24, 32, 54 f.;
quotation from, 23.
Rameses II., reference to, 180.
Ram’s horn on door-post in Tell-el-Hesy, 58.
Ramsay, Prof. W.M.: cited, 229.
Rawlinson, George: cited, 14, 105, 111 f.
Rawlinson, Sir Henry C.:
cited, 110, 153, 178, 184, 234;
quotation from, 167-169.
Recognition, Mount of, reference to, 164.
Records, Book of, or Shoo King, reference to, 158.
Red cloth on altar at marriage, 34.
Red hand:
as sign of covenant, 74 f.;
in Morocco, 74;
in Palestine, 74-76;
in Turkey, 74, 77;
in Babylonia, 75;
on lintel, 75;
Aryan origin of, 75;
among Sephardeem, 76;
in Mosk of St. Sophia, 77;
in Central America, 81 f.;
among aborigines of America, 83;
among Dacotahs, Winnebagoes, 84;
among Omahas, 85;
among Ioways, Sauks, Foxes, Sioux, Arickarees, Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Comanches, Apaches, Jicarillas, and Pueblos, 87;
among Pecos, 87 f.;
among cliff-dwellers of Chelly Canyon, 87.
See, also, Bloody hand.
Red seal on documents, probable meaning of, 94.
Redwan, village of, 190.
Refuge, cities of, 151.
Remondino, Dr. P.C.: cited, 196.
Renouf, Le Page: cited, 128 f., 257.
Rere, name for altar, 150 f.
Réville, Albert: cited, 73, 111, 144 f., 235.
Rhodes, doorway marked with honey in, 30.
as offering among Hindoos, 15;
on heads of bridal couple among Hindoos, 36;
presented to bride in China, 40;
as offering at threshold in Japan, 125 f.
Richon’s Dic. of Bib. Antiq., reference to, 103.
Rig Veda:
reference to, 157;
on production of sacred fire, 198.
Right foot first to cross threshold of mosk, 123.
Rio de Padrāo, or Pillar River, 182.
religious, beginning of, 36, 199, 225;
and symbols of New Testament, 215.
Ritual of Old and New Testament, basis of, 228.
Rituals, ecclesiastical, origin of, 226.
River of Threshold, 182.
Roberts, Joseph: cited, 95, 122.
Robes stamped with red hand among American Indians, 83.
Rocky Pytho, reference to, 133.
Rod at door, stepping over, 123.
Rodd, Rennell:
cited, 27, 30 f., 38;
quotation from, 52 f.
Penates at threshold or hearth, 23;
architect on proportions of temple, 36;
custom of placing statues under foundations, 55 f.;
custom of affixing spoils and trophies of war to lintels, 73;
temples, position of altar in, 134;
empire, mile-posts in, 176;
empire, threshold of, 258.
Roman Catholic Church on marriage, 222.
Roman Catholic churches, holy water in, in America, 147.
lifting bride over threshold in, 39;
bride worshiping at altar-fire in, 41;
images under foundations in, 55 f.;
“gods of entrances” in, 97;
reference to religion of, 97;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230;
pine cone found in, 257;
ceremonies at founding of, 264 f.
Romulus, founder of Rome, 264 f.
Rongo, first-born son of Vatea and Papa, reference to, 152.
Roscommon, county of, Druidical altar in, 81.
Rosenmüller, Ernst F.K.: cited, 78.
Roumania, bat and coin under threshold in, 20.
Rous’s Archæologia Attica, reference to, 39.
Rubbing foreheads on “stone of desire” at Baveddeen, 125.
welcoming guest with bread and salt in, 9;
reverence for threshold in, 12;
threshold observances in, 18, 31 f.;
stillborn children buried under threshold in, 18;
sacrifice to “Vodyaour” in, 19;
household deity abiding behind stove in, 23;
concerning dead and threshold in, 24;
marriage custom among Mordvins in, 41;
crossing altar-fire in, 42;
death following building of new house in, 54;
“upper corner” of house sacred in, 54 f.;
disputed boundary lines in, 175.
Ruth, reference to, 64.
Ruthennu, land of the, reference to, 180.
Sa, the imposition of the,” representations on monuments of, 85.
Sacrament of marriage in Greek and Roman Catholic churches, 222.
Sacramental communion feasts, 226.
Sacred corner of building in Russia, 54 f.
of threshold among Scandinavians, 6 f.;
of city gates among Greeks, 7;
among Hindoos, 11;
of boundary landmark in classic literature, 17;
of threshold recognized in architecture and ceremonial, 22, 102;
among Muhammadans, 123;
in Persia, 123 f.;
in Japan, 124 f.;
in Babylonia and in Egypt, 126 f.;
of doorway above threshold in Babylonia and Egypt, 126 f.
for family first made in home, 3 f.;
in Syria, 3-5;
at threshold in Egypt, 3, 7 f.;
in Africa, 9, 27 f.;
among Arabs, 9, 26, 59;
among Pipiles, 144;
in Mexico and Ireland, 21;
in Morocco, 63;
at door, of heifer, 4,
pigeons, 4,
horse, 4 f.,
bullock, 4, 7 f.,
sheep, 4, 7-9, 11, 21, 23, 26 f., 45, 53, 58 f., 63, 76 f.,
fowl, 4, 9, 21, 27, 45, 53-56, 71 f.,
goat, 4, 27 f., 45, 59,
buffaloes, 7,
human, 8 f., 46-48, 50-54, 56, 122 f., 125, 144 f.,
pig, 14, 19, 148,
cow, goose, 21;
of salt in Japan, 26;
at threshold to reconcile enemies, 59;
altar of, location of, 134;
offered at boundary of empire, 183;
origin of, 228.
Sacrificial rules of ancient Hindoos on stepping over threshold, 36 f.
Safed, sign of hand in houses at, 77.
Sailer, Dr. T.H.P.: cited, 266.
St. Catharine, convent of, reference to, 94.
St. Columba, human sacrifice in walls of cathedral of, 50.
St. Eric, tomb of, reference to, 140.
St. John, Spencer: cited, 20, 34.
St. John’s College, reference to, 48.
St. Sophia, mosk of, stamp of red hand in, 77.
Saint’s tomb as place of worship in Egypt, 129.
Saivism, or Sivaism, predominating in modern Hindooism, 198.
Sakya Sinha, attaining to Booddha-hood, 156.
Sale, G.: cited, 164.
as substitute for blood, 5, 20;
on threshold in Syria, 5, in Japan, 20;
stepping over, 5;
and bread to welcome guest in Russia, 9,
among Arabs, 22,
among Erza, 43 f.;
and fire in Scotland, 21;
carried into new home in Pennsylvania, 21;
under threshold in Russia, 32 f.
spilling water on doorstep in, 12;
nuptial customs of, 196, 251;
boundary lines in, 174;
father as primitive priest in, 101.
Samson carrying off gates of Gaza, 255.
Sandwich Islands, temples in, 150.
Saph, meaning of, 205, 207 f.
Sarcophagi of Byzantine age showing altar on threshold, 121.
Sardinia, prominence of door in, 107.
Sargon I., reference to, 154.
Sauks, red hand among, 87.
Savage-Landor, A. Henry. See Landor.
Sayce, Prof. A.H.: cited, 8, 80, 111, 113, 169, 201, 235.
sacredness of door in, 6 f.;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230.
Scandinavians in America, importance of threshold among, 259.
Schoolcraft, Dr. Henry R.:
quotation from, 83 f.;
reference to, 87.
Schrader, Dr. Eberhard: cited, 103, 177 f., 234.
treading upon boundary lines in, 13;
New Year’s threshold custom in, 20 f.;
sacredness of threshold in, 34;
lifting bride over threshold in, 44;
crowning of kings of, 268.
Scott, Robert. See Liddell and Scott.
Scottish legend of burying of human being in walls of cathedral, 50.
on lintel in Palestine, 70;
palm cone in Assyrian, 231;
pine cone in Assyrian, 257.
Scutari, woman immured in walls of, 47 f.
Sea Dyaks, marriage custom among, 34.
Sea, Islands of:
spring of life-giving waters in, 151;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230.
Seashore as boundary, 178.
Seaweed laid on threshold in Aberdeenshire, 20 f.
Sedan-chair to convey bride to her husband’s home in China, 39 f.
Seed-sowing, blood sprinkled at door at festival of, 20.
Seed-time ceremony at threshold, 16.
Segub, Jericho’s foundation laid in blood of, 47.
Selden, John: cited, 140.
Senghi murad, “stone of desire,” at Baveddeen, 125.
Sentiment as origin of persistent popular customs, 36.
Sephardeem, red hand among, 76.
Septuagint, references to, 117, 207.
Sepulcher, Holy, Church of, 221.
as guardian of thresholds in Babylon, 110 f.;
on temple doorway kissed by worshipers, 116;
as symbol of life, 233 f., 236;
on boundary stone in Babylonian domains, 234;
and phallus in Babylonian mythology, 235;
representative of evil, 235;
and Æsculapius, 236;
with Hindoo deities, 236;
and Medusa, 237;
worship perversion of threshold covenant, 237;
indicating desire, 238;
curse resting on, 239;
worship in Bangalore, 258 f.
Servius, Maurus H.: cited, 29 f.
Seti I., memorial stone of, 180.
Shagarakti-Buriash, inscription of, 154.
Shah of Persia entering Teheran, 189.
Shaking hands across threshold cause of quarrel, 12.
Shamash, sun-god:
and his worshipers with uplifted hands, 80;
gates open for his daily circuit, 105;
reference to, 201.
Shanghai, human sacrifice in, 48.
Shaykhs kissing temple threshold near Nineveh, 116.
Sheep, sacrifice of:
on threshold for guest, in Syria, 3 f.;
in Egypt, 3 f., 8;
in Central Africa, 9, 27;
east of Sea of Galilee, 11;
in Ireland, 21;
among Copts, 26, 45;
among Armenian Christians, 27;
at beginning of railroad at Jaffa, 57;
to reconcile enemies in Arabia, 60.
Sherrin, R.R.A.: cited, 107 f.
Shields painted with red hand among American Indians, 87.
Shih King, Chinese, on border sacrifices, 185.
Shimenawa suspended above doors in Japan, 72
Shintō temples:
modeled on primitive Japanese hut, 101;
doorways apart from, 104;
pilgrims at threshold of, 125;
reference to, 201.
Shintōism, sacred symbol of, suspended above door, 72.
Shintu, tutelar gods of threshold in China, 95 f.
Ship, horseshoe on mast of, 74.
Shoes removed at threshold:
of mosks, 123;
of churches in Abyssinia, 130.
Shoo King, Chinese, reference to, 158.
Shooter, Joseph: cited, 28.
Shores of sea as boundaries, 178.
Shortland, Edward, quotation from, 93.
sacred doorways in front of, in China, Japan, Korea, 104;
in Siam, India, 105;
at doorway in Babylonia, in Assyria, 105;
in Egypt, 106;
of Kitzuki, of Isé, of Kikkō, threshold customs at, 125 f.
Siam, doorways near temples in, 104.
Sibree, James: cited, 38.
Sicily, prominence of door in, 107.
Sidon, consul at, reference to, 70.
Sign of red hand. See Red hand.
Silvanus, god of boundaries, 171, 173.
Silver hand worn by children, 76.
“Silver Threshold,” temple of, in Thebes, 127.
Sin, Moon-god, references to, 80, 154.
Moses in wilderness of, 160 f.;
peninsula of, boundary marks in, 179, 184.
Sioux, red hand among, 87.
Sippara, sanctity of doorway in, 108 f.
Sippu, Assyrian word for threshold, 110 f., 209.
Sirim, Hebrew for hinges, 253.
Sitting on threshold not allowed in Russia, 12.
hand as symbol of, 78, 198;
temple of, at Thâvesar, 157;
crowned with serpent, 236.
Skarpanto, threshold custom in, 31.
Skeat, Rev. Walter W.: cited, 265.
Skertchley, J.A.: cited, 245.
Skins stamped with red hand among American Indians, 83.
Slave, Hebrew, adoption of, as member of family, 210.
custom of covenanting, 42;
citadel made firm by immuring child in walls, 50;
peoples, “Death Week” among, 19.
Smith, Dr. William:
cited, 7, 73, 134, 172 f., 236 f., 263.
See, also, Smith and Cheetham.
Smith, W. Robertson:
quotation from, 59 f.;
cited, 209, 214, 231 f.
Smith, George: cited, 109.
Smith and Cheetham: cited, 222.
Snakes. See Serpents.
Sneezing on threshold unpropitious, 11.
Sneferu in Sinaitic Peninsula, 178 f.
Snell, Rev. A., reference to, 140.
reference to king of, 82;
angels welcomed in, 211.
Soko at Tangier, reference to, 52.
Somali tribes, sacrifice at threshold among, 27.
Somnauth, idol in temple of, shattered and placed under threshold, 123.
Sophocles: cited, 133.
Sorcery, prominence of threshold in, 17 f.
Sources of rivers as boundaries, 178.
South America:
doorways smeared with blood in, 73;
earliest form of temple in, 144;
reverence for phallic emblems in, 230;
serpent as religious symbol in, 235.
South Sea Islands, temples of, 148.
Sovereigns in ancient East represented by uplifted hand, 79 f.
Spain, reverence for phallic emblems in, 230.
Spanish Jews, significance of red hand among, 76.
Spectator, The, reference to, 19.
Spencer, Herbert, references to, 21, 98.
Spiritual forces, conception of, characteristic of man, 223.
Spitting on threshold unpropitious, 11.
Spivak, Dr.: cited, 93.
Sprenger, A: cited, 164, 200.
Squier, Hon. E.G.: cited, 230, 235.
Stade, Dr. Bernard: cited, 214, 255.
Stamboul, sacrifice on threshold of house spared in great fire in, 66 f.
Stanitsas, or land divisions among Cossacks, 175 f.
Stanley, Henry M.: cited, 86, 174, 182.
Stanley, Dean: cited, 222, 268 f.
States or nations, boundaries of, 177.
Statues in foundations in Rome, 55 f.
memorial of dead inscribed on, 106;
monumental, origin of, 107;
containing sculptured image of Assyrian king, 115;
set up on boundary line, 177;
as doorways, 178.
Stengel’s Die griech. Sac., reference to, 172.
Stenin, P. von: cited, 249.
Stephens, John L.: cited, 82-84, 146.
Stepped pyramid:
temples with altar or shrine at summit, 111;
in Jacob’s dream at Bethel, 112;
of Meydoom in Egypt, 126 f.;
reference to, 144;
as place of worship, 148.
Stepping over:
blood on threshold, 4 f., 26, 45 f.;
salt on threshold, 5;
threshold to insure protection of guardian deity, 12;
girdle in marriage among Greeks, 30;
threshold, a bride having care to, 36;
threshold to prove innocence from crime among Hindoos, 121 f.
Stillborn children buried under threshold in Russia, 18.
Stoicheionein, Greek term for foundation ceremony, 53 f.
sacrificial, laid on summit of Mexican temple, 56;
posts most ancient remains of primitive man’s handiwork, 102;
pillars marking boundaries of states or nations, 177;
upright, significance of, 258.
“Stone, Coronation,” in Westminster Abbey, 268.
“Stone of desire” at Baveddeen, 125.
Stove, Russian household deity located near, 23.
Strack, Dr. H.L.: cited, 20, 46, 93.
Straw cure for disorder in North Germany, 18.
Strean, Dr., quotation from, 21.
Stuart, Villiers: cited, 179.
“Sublime Porte:”
high court of Turkey called, 65;
meaning of, 103.
Suez Canal, reference to, 180.
justice administered at gate by, 65;
as spiritual father of faithful Muhammadans, 103.
Sultan Muhammad II., bloody hand of, stamped on mosk, 77.
Sun disk, winged, over doors of temples in Egypt, 127.
Sun-god Shamash:
and his worshipers with uplifted hands, 80 f.;
gates open to allow of daily circuits of, 105.
Sun-orb, winged, with serpent, 234.
Sunday School Times, The, references to, 260 f.
Survivals of threshold covenant in America and Europe, 3, 8, 13, 221.
Susa, king rendering justice at palace gate of, 60.
Swedish tradition of burial of lamb under altar, 56.
of feminine in nature, tree or bush, 214;
misusing, results of, 229;
of evil in religions of Babylonia, Egypt, India, Phenicia, Greece, Mexico, and Peru, 235;
of virginity, 243 f.
buried under foundation-stone, 109;
and legends concerning boundary lines, 171 f.
sacrifices on threshold in, 3-5;
treading on threshold in, 10;
reference to, 11;
stepping over sacrifice at threshold in, 26;
bride carried across threshold in, 38, 45;
name for sign of hand among Christians in, 77;
kissing threshold in, 129;
nuptial customs of, 196, 246;
marriage certificate in, 245;
sacredness of threshold, 259 f.
derwishes, threshold custom of, 10;
officer’s welcome at threshold, 11;
testimony of native, 59.
Tablets, ancestral, of China, 108.
Tahiti, primitive threshold in, 250.
Tai Shan, reference to, 158.
Talisman, open hand as, in Europe, Africa, and America, 79.
Tallquist’s rendering of Assyrian word, 83.
Jewish, references to, 93, 200, 208, 210 f., 239;
Babylonian, references to, 211, 253.
Tammuz of Syria, reference to, 115.
Tangier, reference to, 62.
Tañoans, reference to, 88.
Targum, reference to, 117.
treading on threshold among, 13;
importance of threshold among, 39.
Teheran, Shah of Persia entering, 189.
Tell el-Hesy, ram’s horn on doorway in, 58.
Tello, sanctity of doorway in, 108 f.
waters of life flowing from under threshold of, 114;
doorway oldest form of, in Egypt, 126;
at Carthage, prominence of threshold in, 130;
in Greece, 134;
earliest form of, in Mexico, Central and South America, 144;
building in Babylonia, 153;
of Thor, in Iceland, 160;
at Jerusalem, site of, 161;
earliest forms of, 229.
preceded by houses, 3;
images under threshold of, 14;
as dwelling for deity, 99;
called “great house of the village” in Samoa, 101;
in form of stepped pyramid in Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Mexico, Central America, Peru, and South Sea Islands, 111;
in Jacob’s dream, 112;
in Carthage, 130;
Egyptian, history of, 155;
as boundaries, 178.
Temptation, first, and symbol of tree and serpent, 237.
Tennasserin, survival of foundation-laying in blood in, 51 f.
fire at entrance of, 22 f.;
laying hold of, as appeal for hospitality in East, 57;
stamped with red hand among American Indians, 83.
“Teraphim” connected with threshold, 109.
Terence: cited, 30.
Terminalia, festival of, 173.
Terminus: god, represented by pillar, 171-173.
Tertullian: his warning against deities at doors and gates, 97 f.
Teutonic thresholds made high, 12.
Thang, emperor of China, 157.
Thapsacus, equivalent of Tiphsakh, 210.
Thâvesar, temple of Siva at, 157.
Theban rite, kissing ground at threshold of shrine in, 128.
temple of “Silver Threshold” at, 127;
symbols on temples of ancient, 234.
Theocritus: cited, 73.
Theseus setting up pillar, 180 f.
Thief and robber, reference to word, 260.
Thieving goldsmith struck dead at threshold, 122.
Thomson, Dr. W.M.: cited, 70, 222.
Thompson, President Robert Ellis: cited, 176.
Thor, temple of, in Iceland, 160.
Thorolf, reference to, 160.
Thousand and One Nights, reference to, 248.
Thuringian legend of burying child in foundation, 49.
Thyra, a translation of saph, 207.
Tiamat, reference to, 235.
Tiba, female god of Maui, 150.
disemboweling of devotee in, 125;
Booddhist prayer in, 199.
Tiglath-Pileser I. and boundary lines, 177.
Tigris, sources of, boundary marks at, 178.
Tiki, descendant of Rongo, 152.
Times, The, London, reference to, 61 f.
Timsah, Lake, reference to, 180.
Tiphsakh, meaning of, 210.
covenant, 66-74;
of virginity, 243 f.
false door of, in Old Empire of Egypt, 106 f.;
of kings of Persia, inscription relating to sacredness of gate in, 124;
of Alee, kissing threshold of, 124;
of Baha-ed-deen Nakishbend, threshold stone of, 124 f.;
closed door in, representing deceased going to Osiris, 128.
Torch, marriage, origin of, 226.
Touching name of God with finger by Jews, 69 f.
Towkas, marriage custom at threshold among, 35.
Treading on threshold forbidden:
in Persia, Russia, Finland, United States, and among Teutons, 11 f.;
in Europe and America, 13;
tabooed by Tatars, 13.
human sacrifices at foot of, 8 f.;
pipal, in Upper India, 156;
a boundary landmark in primitive times, 173 f.;
symbol of feminine in nature, 214, 230, 238;
and pillar, symbolism of, 232;
references to, 237, 259.
“Tree of Knowledge,” reference to, 156.
Trees, sacred:
near doorways in China, Japan, Korea, Siam, and India, 104, 156;
grove of, in religious symbolisms, 230.
Tricha, bridge of, story of sacrifice in building of, 52.
Tristram, H.B.: cited, 260.
Trumbull, H. Clay: cited, 3-5, 57, 123, 180, 226, 244.
Tseereem, Hebrew word for hinges, 253.
bloody hand on walls in, 78 f.;
symbol of open hand on graves near, 79;
Jewish custom in, on receiving praise, 79.
Turkestan, threshold stone at tomb of national saint of, 125.
Turkey, sacrifice of, in Ireland, 21.
blood on threshold in marriage in, 26;
marriage custom among Greeks in, 30;
high court of, at palace door, 65;
banners and prayer-rugs inscribed with open hand in, 78.
Turkish building at Columbian Exposition, sacrifices at foundation of, 57.
Turner, Dr. George: cited, 13, 20, 101, 174, 251 f.
threshold in folk customs in, 17 f.;
exorcism with incense in, 18;
burning incense on threshold in, 42.
Tutelary deity, every building in Egypt placed under protection of, 96 f.
Tylor, Dr. E.B.: cited, 46, 49, 51 f., 231.
Uganda, charms on threshold and door in, 15.
Unchastity atoned for by sprinkling blood on threshold among Dyaks, 20.
Ungere, Latin for “to anoint,29 #$2#.
United States:
“Christening” a ship in, 8;
high thresholds in houses of, 12;
stepping over cracks in pavements in, 13;
Bible and salt carried over threshold in, 21;
lifting bride over threshold in, 44;
situation of front door in, 55;
foundation sacrifice in, 57;
horseshoes on door-posts in, 73 f.;
survivals of primal sacredness of threshold in, 147 f.;
boundary marks in, 182;
sacredness of threshold among Scandinavians of, 259.
Unleavened bread, feast of, 216.
Unxor, meaning of Latin word, 29.
Uplifted hand:
in Carthage, 78;
in Tunis, 78 f.;
represented among deities of Babylonia, Assyria, Phenicia, and Egypt, 79 f.;
in seal of Ur-Gur, earliest ruler of “Ur of the Chaldees,” 80;
gods Sin, Shamash, and Asshur, with, 80;
Babylonian king recognized by, 80;
Amenophis IV. before Aten-ra with, 81;
Abraham with, 82;
Psalmist’s reference to, 82;
Isaiah’s reference to God’s, 82;
Assyrian and Hebrew words for swearing by, 83;
in judicial oath, 83;
found on stepped pyramid temples of Polynesia, 83;
power imparted to Egyptian king by touch of, 85;
in South Sea Islands, 148.
Uplifted threshold, 144.
Upsal, wedding customs in old temple of, 140.
“Ur of the Chaldees:”
uplifted hand in seal of earliest ruler of, 80;
temple at, 153;
Abraham at, 160.
Ur-Gur, with uplifted hands before moon-god Sin, 80.
Usurtasen III., King: cited, 179.
Uxor, meaning of Latin word, 29.
Vairorongo, sacred stream of under-world, in Islands of Sea, 152.
Vambéry, Arminius: cited, 125.
Vari, or “The-very-beginning,” in Islands of Sea, 151.
Vātea, part man and part fish, in Islands of Sea, 152.
Vatican, bronze pine cone in gardens of, 257.
Vāttu, god of threshold in India, 75.
Vāttuma, god of threshold in India, 95.
Vāttuma Santhe, tribute to, god of threshold in India, 95.
Vaux, J. Edward: cited, 140.
Vedas, references to, 99, 197.
Vedi, feminine in Sanskrit, 197.
law of door-sill, 15;
Sutras on stepping over threshold, 36 f.;
teachings concerning temples, 155 f.
Vermilion paint for sign of red hand among Omahas, 85.
Verrall, Margaret de G. See Harrison and Verrall.
Victor in Olympian games avoiding city gates, 7.
cited, 29 f.;
his description of arrival of Æneas at court of Queen Dido, 130.
“Virgin Mary’s Hand” among Christians in Syria, 77.
“Virgin of Israel,” 213, 218.
tokens of, 243 f.;
Bible testimony of tokens of, 251.
Vishnoo, god:
reference to, 95;
pagoda of, reference to, 121;
foot of, 156;
seated on serpent, 235.
Vishnooism, concerning temples, 156.
“Vishnu-pad,” reference to, 156.
Vitruvius: his description of temple, 36.
Vlachs, indication of foundation sacrifice in ballad of, 52.
Vlam, name for “friend of the bridegroom” among Albanians, 37 f.
“Vodyaoni,” sacrifice to, in Russia, 19.
Volck. See Mülhau and Volck.
Volga, altar as threshold among people on, 32.
Voltaire: cited, 202.
Von Löher and Joyner: reference to, 231.
Vulgate: reference to, 207.
Wake, C. Staniland. See Westropp and Wake.
Wallace, Donald M.: reference to, 176.
Wallachia, story of foundation sacrifice in, 52.
Wallachians, marriage rite among, 29.
Washburn, President, of Robert College: cited, 66 f.
and corn offered on threshold, 16 f.;
and honey for bride at threshold, 30;
poured out in pathway of bridegroom among Greeks of Turkey, 30;
of life underneath threshold, in legend of Ishtar, 114;
in temple at Jerusalem, 114;
holy, at doorway of Roman Catholic churches, 147.
Water-spirit, appeasing, in Russia, 19.
Weber’s Die Lehren d. Talmud, reference to, 239.
Wedding ceremonies:
among ʾAnazeh Bed´ween, and Armenians in Turkey, 26;
in Syria, 26, 28 f., 38, 196;
in Egypt, 26, 38, 196;
in Cyprus, 27;
among Somalis in Central Africa, 27 f.;
in South Africa, 28;
among fellaheen of Palestine, and Wallachians, 29;
among Greeks of Turkey, and in Morea, 30;
in Rhodes, 30 f.;
in island of Skarpanto and among Morlacchi, in Dalmatia, 31;
in portions of Russia, 31 f.;
among Mordvins of Russia, 32 f., 41-44;
in Holland, 33;
in Germany, 33 f., 138 f.;
among Sea Dyaks of Borneo, 34;
in Central America, 34 f., 45;
in Scotland, 34, 44;
among Towkas, 35;
among Hindoos, 36-38, 40 f.;
among Albanians, 37 f.;
in India, 38, 40 f.;
in Madagascar, 38;
in Abyssinia, 38 f., 131;
among tribes of West Africa, in ancient Assyria, among Khonds of Orissa, among Tatars, and among Eskimos, 39;
in ancient Rome, 39-41;
in China, 39-41, 196;
in ancient Greece, 39, 41;
in England, 44, 139-142;
in Ireland, 44, 142;
in United States, 44, 147 f.;
in France, 139;
in Sweden, 140 f.;
in Dahomey, Liberia, in various parts of Europe, and in Samoa, 196;
among Muhammadans, 247;
among Christians at Haleb, 248;
in Darfour, 249;
in Samoa, 251.
sacrifice in Cyprus, 27;
threshold custom in Skarpanto, 31;
in Russia, 31 f.;
threshold or hearthstone covenant at, 226.
Weeping worship of Tammuz, 115.
Wely, a saint’s tomb, as place of worship in Egypt, 129.
Westropp and Wake: cited, 230.
White hand among American Indians, 90.
word for, among Latins, 29;
and threshold in Arabic, 200, 256;
brush-topped pole, symbol of, 214.
Wilkins, W.J.G.: cited, 198, 235 f.
Wilkinson, Sir J.G.:
quotation from, 68 f.;
cited, 81, 96 f., 100, 106, 127 f., 201, 234 f.
Williams, S. Wells: cited, 40, 71, 96, 108, 158.
Williams, Talcott, quotation from, 62 f.
coffin passed out of, to avoid threshold, in Europe and America, 25;
opened and door closed at death in Europe and America, 25.
Winged sun disk:
over doors of temples in Egypt, 127;
and serpent in Egypt, 234.
Winnebagoes, prominence of hand among, 84.
Winter, feast at close of, among Slavonic peoples, 19.
Wisconsin, sacredness of threshold among Scandinavians in, 259.
Witham in Essex, marriage custom at, 140.
“Witness Heap” of covenant between Jacob and Laban, 171.
buried in foundation of bridge of Arta, 52;
four ages of, symbolized among American Indians, 89 f.;
recognized as primitive altar, 197;
form of, pattern of altar form, 197;
and door in Hebrew Scriptures, 253;
in Arabic and German, 256.
Wood, Edward J.:
cited, 31, 44, 131, 138, 140-142;
quotation from, 139.
Wood-apple as witness of marriage, 259.
Woolwas, betrothal custom at threshold among, 34.
Worms, door of synagogue in, 144.
at door in Egypt, 127 f.;
covenant, spirit of all true, 221;
origin of rites of, 226;
phallic, perversion of purer idea, 230;
Hindoo, mode of, 236;
of serpent in Bangalore, 258 f.
Wright, Julia McNair: cited, 24.
Ximenez, Francisco, missionary: cited, 73, 98.
Yama as first man and first priest in India, 99.
Yarriba, survival of foundation-laying in blood in, 51 f.
Yawning on threshold unpropitious, 11.
Yeha, monoliths in front of temple at, 131.
Yemen, marriage ceremonies in, 248.
kissing doorway of temple among, 116;
reference to, 190.
Yoni, doorway of physical life, 198.
Yü, Chinese for threshold, 256.
Yucatan, doorways inscribed with red hand in, 81 f.
Yuhlui, tutelar god of threshold in China, 95 f.
Zabû, King, reference to, 154.
Zamzam, sacred spring at Meccah, 163.
Zariru, Babylonian gate plated with metal called, 111.
Zedekiah, king of Judah, sitting in gate of Benjamin, 64.
his curse on Assyria, and his reference to “drought in thresholds,” 115;
foretelling punishment on those that leap over threshold, 117.
House of, on Olympus, 132;
reference to, concerning boundary lines, 171;
image of, as boundary landmark, 172.
Ziggurat, early form of temple, 229.
Zindero, bloody threshold offering in, 8 f.
Zinga, boundaries in, 174.
Zion, laying foundation stone in, 162.
Zuñi Indians, red hand among, 91.


2 : 8–10 115
2 : 25 239
3 : 1–13, 16 238
3 : 14, 15, 22–24 239
4 : 1, 17, 25 238
11 : 1–9 103
11 : 28 153
11 : 31 80
12 : 1–8 160
13 : 1–3 160
14 : 22 82
15 : 1–6 187, 211, 266
15 : 8–16, 20, 21 187, 211, 266
15 : 7 80, 187, 211, 266
15 : 17–19 187, 211, 244, 266
18 : 1–9 101
19 : 1–25 211
21 : 22–24 170, 244
21 : 25–33 170
22 : 1–13 161
22 : 17 65
25 : 17–19 244
28 : 10–22 112, 160
28 : 36 238
30 : 2 238
30 : 22 253
31 : 43–53 171
49 : 8–17 85
2 : 23–25 205
3 : 1–6, 11, 12 161
3 : 7–10 161, 205
3 : 19 83
4 : 25, 26 244
5 : 1, 2 205
6 : 1–7 205
6 : 8 82
10 : 21, 29 205
11 : 4–7 206
12 : 1, 2 204, 212
12 : 3–21, 27 204
12 : 22 205, 214
12 : 23 206
13 : 3, 14, 16 83
21 : 2–4 210
21 : 5, 6 65, 210
22 : 2 260
23 : 8–10 119
26 : 1–14 101
29 : 4, 10–12 119
32 : 11 83
32 : 26 63
34 : 12–15 213, 214, 233
34 : 16 213, 214
39 : 32 101
40 : 6, 29 119
1 : 3, 5 119
3 : 2 119
4 : 4, 7 119
8 : 1–36 119
9 : 1, 2 212
12 : 6 119
14 : 11, 23 119
15 : 14, 29 119
16 : 7 119
17 : 2–6, 8, 9 119
17 : 7 119, 213
19 : 21 119
20 : 5–8 213
23 : 5 212
6 : 10–18 119
12 : 5 119
14 : 30 82
15 : 39, 40 213
20 : 6 119
21 : 4–9 239
27 : 22, 23 85
35 : 6, 32 151
3 : 24 83
4 : 34 83
4 : 41–43 151
5 : 15 83
6 : 4–9 69
6 : 9 69
6 : 21 83
7 : 5 214, 233
7 : 8, 19 83
7 : 13 238
9 : 26 83
11 : 2 83
11 : 13–21 96
12 : 3 214
12 : 31 267
14 : 17 65
16 : 21, 22 233
19 : 1–13 151
19 : 14 170
20 : 5 69
20 : 10–13 262
22 : 13–21 252
25 : 1–9 229
27 : 17 170
28 : 4, 18, 53 238
29 : 12 266
30 : 9 238
31 : 15 119
31 : 16 213
2 : 1–20 206, 211
2 : 21 206
5 : 10–12 211
6 : 12–15 211
6 : 16, 17 206, 211
6 : 18–25 206
6 : 26 47
10 : 3–35 58
12 : 11 58
15 : 39 58
20 : 1–9 151
2 : 17 213
3 : 7 214
7 : 1–25 211
8 : 27, 33 213
11 : 39 238
16 : 3 255
19 : 25 64, 238
19 : 26, 28–30 64
19 : 27 64, 207
4 : 1–10 64
1 : 19 238
4 : 19 253
5 : 1–5 117
29 : 6 109
3 : 25 109
6 : 1–19 161
15 : 2–4 64
19 : 8 64
24 : 15–25 161
1 : 4 238
2 : 28 58
4 : 24 210
7 : 50 253
14 : 17 207
16 : 34 47
5 : 17 161
9 : 22, 23 213
12 : 9 121, 207
12 : 13 207
14 : 19 58
16 : 3 267
17 : 17, 31 267
18 : 4 239
18 : 14–19 58
19 : 20–26, 28–36 211
19 : 27 109, 211
21 : 6 267
22 : 4 121, 207
23 : 10 267
23 : 4 121, 207, 214
25 : 18 121, 207
5 : 25 213
9 : 19, 22 207
15 : 23, 24 120
3 : 7 207
6 : 32 83
21 : 11 213
23 : 4 120, 207
23 : 5 120
32 : 1–22 211
33 : 3 214
33 : 6 267
33 : 8 120
34 : 9 120, 207
9 : 7 153
9 : 15 82
2 : 21 207
6 : 2 207
9 : 12–19 211
1 : 21 114
3 : 1–10 252
24 : 2 170
24 : 2 181
63 : 4 82
73 : 27 213
84 : 10 120
121 : 7 109
121 : 8 70, 109
127 : 3 238
128 : 3 238
132 : 11 238
136 : 38, 39 213
3 : 18 238
8 : 34 64
11 : 30 238
22 : 28 170
23 : 10 170
26 : 14 253
5 : 15 144
4 : 16 238
8 : 8, 9 252
3 : 17 253
6 : 4 207
13 : 18 238
24 : 12 66
28 : 16 162
29 : 21 64
37 : 28 109
49 : 22 82
57 : 3 213
57 : 14 112
58 : 12 162
62 : 10 112
3 : 1–15, 20 213
7 : 31 267
13 : 27 213
19 : 5 267
31 : 31, 32 213
34 : 18 266
35 : 4 120, 207
38 : 7–9 64
50 : 26 112
52 : 19 207
52 : 24 120, 207
6 : 9 213
9 : 3 118
10 : 4 118
12 : 2–7 260
16 : 1–7, 9–20, 22–63 213
16 : 8 268
16 : 21 213, 267
19 : 10 238
20 : 26, 31 267
20 : 30 213
20 : 34 83
23 : 1–36, 38–49 213
23 : 37 213, 267
40 : 6, 7 207
41 : 16 207
43 : 8 118, 207
43 : 11 109
46 : 2 118
47 : 1–9 115
2 : 49 64
5 : 1–30 211
9 : 15 83
1 : 2 213
2 : 2 213
3 : 1 213
4 : 12–19 213
5 : 3, 4 213
6 : 6, 7, 10 213
5 : 15 64
7 : 8 267
9 : 1 107
6 : 7 238
1 : 9 117
2 : 13 115
2 : 14 115, 207
8 : 16 64
12 : 1, 3 208
12 : 2 207, 208
1 : 25 238
6 : 19, 20 260
9 : 14, 15 219
16 : 18 65
16 : 21 215
24 : 43 260
26 : 1–5, 17–30 215
2 : 19, 20 219
14 : 12–28 215
5 : 34, 35 219
12 : 39 260
17 : 19, 20 64
22 : 7–20 215
2 : 13 215
3 : 14, 15 239
3 : 16 217
3 : 28–30 218
7 : 1–9 215
10 : 1, 10 6, 261
10 : 2 6
10 : 9 6, 104
13 : 1 215
2 : 30 238
3 : 3, 10 55
4 : 4 85
6 : 6 85
8 : 18 85
13 : 3 85
14 : 8–14 135
19 : 6 85
3 : 10, 11 162
5 : 7, 8 216
11 : 3 219
2 : 16 228
2 : 20, 21 162
3 : 14, 15 217
5 : 23–33 219
4 : 14 85
6 : 7 114
6 : 2 85
8 : 8, 9 213
10 : 20 186
10 : 28, 29 218
2 : 5, 6 162
6 : 9, 10 25
19 : 6–9 220
20 : 1, 2 240
21 : 1–9, 12, 22–27 221, 240
21 : 10, 11, 13–21 240
22 : 1, 2 115, 240
22 : 14, 15 240
22 : 17, 20 221



Before their publishing, the proof-sheets of this volume were submitted to a number of prominent scholars in Europe and America, for their examination and comment, in order to ascertain if the main thought of the work seemed justified by the facts known to them in their several special fields of knowledge and study. Some of the opinions and suggestions of these scholars as given herewith will have deservedly, in the eyes of many readers, a weight and value beyond anything that could be said by the author of this work.


As a Jewish clergyman, and as a conservative Bible scholar, the Rev. Dr. Jastrow is honored on both sides of the Atlantic for his special attainments in Talmudic and Rabbinical lore. His great work, “A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature,” is a monument of his learning and ability in these fields. He writes:

“I have read your interesting work, ‘The Threshold Covenant,’ with great attention, and derived from it more information than I can possibly thank you for.

“As I am unable to form an independent opinion on the bearing of your evidences on the thesis of your work, I can refer only to those parts of it which treat of Jewish customs and ideas, and, here, I feel it a privilege to be permitted to say that I admire your ingenious conception of the passover covenant in Egypt. Especially interesting, and undoubtedly correct, is your interpretation of Exodus 12 : 23, according to which the Lord passes over the threshold in order to visit the Israelitish house, and will not allow the destroyer to enter.

“It may not be out of place here to direct your attention to a passage in Talmud Yerushalmi, Aboda Zara III, 42 d, where it is said about the Philistines: ‘They revered the threshold (miftan) more than the Dagon,’ to which is added, ‘All other nations made (worshiped) only one miftan, but the Israelites made many miftanoth,’ which explains the verse, ‘And I will visit punishment on him who leaps, and on the miftan’ (Zeph. 1 : 9). You will observe that the Talmud quotes the verse different from the Massoretic text, which reads, ‘on every one who leaps over the miftan.’ I am unable to decide whether the deviation from the Massoretic text is owing to a different text before the Talmudic authority under consideration, or merely to a slip of memory, such as often occurs with those who quote from memory.

“In Talmud Babli, referring to the Philistines in relation to the Dagon, it is said: ‘They let alone the Dagon and worshiped the miftan, for they said, His prince (genius) has abandoned the Dagon and has come to sit on the miftan.’ All of which proves that there lingered yet in the memory of the Talmudists the traditional recollection of miftan worship.”


Oldest among civilizations of which we have any sure record is that of Babylonia. Among the foremost scholars in that realm is Dr. Hilprecht, formerly of the University of Erlangen, and now Professor of Assyriology in the University of Pennsylvania. His prominence is recognized in Europe as fully as in America. His labors, in the field and in the study, in connection with the successful Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania, and his monumental work, still in course of publication, on the Cuneiform Texts brought to light by that expedition, have added to his reputation on both sides of the ocean, and confirmed his high standing among the best scholars of the world in his special department of knowledge.

It was while on his way to Constantinople, to examine the latest “finds” in Babylonia brought to the Imperial Museum there, with which museum Professor Hilprecht has an official connection, that he examined the proof-sheets of “The Threshold Covenant.” Of the work in its entirety he writes in generous appreciation as follows:

“Your latest book, ‘The Threshold Covenant,’ accompanied me on my trip to Constantinople. Before we had crossed the Atlantic I had studied it three times from beginning to end. I take the first opportunity, at Southampton, to send you these lines, in order to express to you my full appreciation of what you have offered to the scientific world in your magnificent work.

“If in your former book, ‘The Blood Covenant,’ you made [as was suggested by an eminent German theologian] the first successful attempt to write a theology of the blood, you have given us in your most recent work a thorough investigation on the significance and history of the primitive altar upon which blood was shed by men entering into a covenant with God or their fellow-men. Surely your two books ‘The Blood Covenant,’ and ‘The Threshold Covenant’ belong together, and should therefore be studied together. One supplements the other, and the former furnishes the key to a full understanding of the facts presented in the latter; and so again on the other side.

“It must have cost you decenniums to gather all the material which you lay before the reader in such a systematic form. All the nations of the world, civilized and uncivilized, ancient and modern, seem to have contributed their share to your stately structure, which has my full admiration. Viewed in this light alone, your book will always prove a regular storehouse of knowledge for students of primitive rites and religions, and of various other kindred subjects.

“It is, of course, impossible for any specialist in one certain line to fully estimate the hundreds of new features presented in your recent work. It would be bold on my part, at least, to express an opinion on questions with which I am not entirely familiar. As, however, you treat facts which bear closely upon my special line of investigation,–the oldest history, languages, and civilization of the Euphrates valley, and of their rites in general,–I can heartily assure you that, according to my examination, you have proved your main points beyond question.

“It is first of all sure that you are the first who fully recognized, and in fact rediscovered, the world-wide importance and fundamental significance of the threshold in all ancient religions. You have re-established an ancient rite which was practically entirely forgotten by modern scholars. By restoring the threshold to its proper place in primitive religions, you have rendered a great service to comparative religion, archeology, and even philology. Many a statement by ancient writers was obscure to us, many a word puzzling as to its original etymology and significance, and not a few facts brought to light by recent excavations remained incoherent and mysterious, because we had lost sight of the significance of the threshold, which, very appropriately, you style the first altar of the human race.

“In reading your book I could not help wondering that all these combinations which appear quite clear and plausible now were not made a long while ago by other investigators. The earliest inscribed monuments of ancient Babylonia, dating from the fifth millennium before Christ, are door-sockets which bear ample witness to the correctness of your theory. Professor Hommel’s recent ingenious analysis of the Assyrian word for “to pray,” which was a result of his study of your ‘Threshold Covenant,’ is one of the strongest evidences in favor of your arguments. Our own recent excavations of the lowest strata of the temple of Bêl in Nippur, which takes us back to 7000 B.C., testify in the same direction.

“Of the greatest importance for the study of the Old Testament religion is your doubtless correct explanation of the Passover. It is entirely in harmony with ancient customs, with philology, and with common sense. According to the old interpretation this rite hangs, so to speak, in the air, without any connection, and yet we know from many other instances that Old Testament rites of the Hebrews stand in the closest possible connection with those practiced by surrounding nations. In the light of your investigations I regard it as an established fact, and as one of the chief results of your labors, that Jehovah in entering into covenant with his ‘bride Israel’ did not invent a new rite, but took one with which his chosen people were already familiar, and gave to it a new and deeper significance in its new use and relations.

“Your final chapter, ‘Outgrowths and Perversions of this Rite,’ is likewise full of thought and new suggestions. One cannot help wishing you might have gone beyond the scope of your book and expressed yourself more in detail as to the precise connection in which tree and phallus worship stand to the threshold in each of the principal ancient religions, and what rôle the snake played in the further development or determination of the primitive rite so excellently discussed by you. There is no doubt in my mind that all these different rites, however independent of each other they may appear in later times, are but different outgrowths of the same original root and later perversions of original uplifting thought,–search for unity between men and God. But as you yourself have given only brief indications of this, I wisely abstain from entering into details.

“Permit me to congratulate you upon the completion of a work which, in the nature of things, must attract the general attention of scholars. Whatever may be the interpretation of certain details contained in your book, the one fact remains sure: it will always be your great merit to have penetrated into the long-forgotten secrets of one of the most ancient rites of humanity, and, by pointing out its great importance for and its connection with other rites, to have constructed a solid basis for further investigations, and to have put loose facts together, and given them a well-defined place in a regular system.”

It is undoubtedly true that the fresh material from the excavations at Nippur will furnish additional illustrations of the main thesis of this work. Dr. Hilprecht will be sure to note these.


As an Arabist as well as an Assyriologist, and as a bright thinker and learned scholar, in various departments of knowledge, Dr. Fritz Hommel, Professor of Semitic Languages in the University of Munich, has a deservedly high standing. His great illustrated “History of Babylonia and Assyria” is a marvelous treasure-house of information concerning the history of the earlier civilizations of the East; and his later studies in connection with the researches of Dr. Edward Glaser in South Arabia have poured a flood of light on the influence of ancient Arabia in the Oriental world. In the realm of Semitic philology Dr. Hommel is acute minded, and peculiarly alert and suggestive.

Having read the earlier pages of “The Threshold Covenant,” Professor Hommel wrote briefly of his interest in the main thought of the work, and promised further comments when he has completed its examination. The necessity of putting these pages to press forbids the waiting for his valued conclusions. His first comments are:

“I am now reading with great interest the proof-sheets of your new book, which you were kind enough to send me. Although at this moment overburdened with other work, I have already got as far as page 70, and hope in the course of a fortnight to be able to send you my judgment.

“To page 60 I wish now to note that already in the time of Hammurabi disputes were settled at the gate, and, indeed, of the gate of the temple. See Strassmaier’s Warka Tablets, 30 (B. 57) in Meissner’s Beiträze zum Altbabylonischen Privatrecht, p. 42 f.

“An interesting discovery, of which perhaps you still may make use, I made yesterday. It is that the Babylonian suppû (‘to pray,’ ‘to entreat’) is originally merely the verb formed from the noun sippu, ‘a threshold.’ The first sense, indeed, of suppû is ‘to sacrifice,’ because that was done at the threshold. To find a parallel for this transference from the meaning ‘to offer’ to the meaning ‘to pray,’ compare the Arabic ‘ătără, to sacrifice,’ with the Hebrew ‘ātăr, to pray.’[713] To this discovery I, of course, came through your deductions with regard to the importance of the threshold.”


No Oriental scholar and archeologist is more widely known in Europe and America, and beyond, or is surer of a hearing on any subject of which he writes, from both those who agree and those who differ with him, than Professor Sayce of Oxford University. The numerous published works of Professor Sayce have made him extensively known among scholars, and popularly. Prominent among these are the Hibbert Lectures on “The Religion of the Ancient Babylonians,” “The Ancient Empires of the East,” “Fresh Light from Ancient Monuments,” “The Life and Times of Isaiah,” “The Hittites,” “Patriarchal Palestine,” and “The Egypt of the Hebrews.” He now writes from Luxor, in Egypt, while passing the winter, as usual, on the Nile, in his dahabiyeh Istar:

“A thousand thanks for the advance sheets of ‘The Threshold Covenant.’ Like all your work, it is brimful of accurate knowledge and new points of view, and is written so charmingly that a child could understand and follow you. I need not say I have been devouring the pages and admiring their wealth of references. While I read, you carried me along with you, and, if you had asked my opinion as I went on, I should have said that you had made out your case step by step. But now that I come to look back upon the work as a whole, the skeptical side of my nature comes uppermost, and I have an uneasy feeling that the proof is too complete. That you have made out your case to a large extent is clear, but whether allowance ought not to be made for other elements is not so clear to me. Human nature is complex, and we still know so little about the early history of civilized man! And between civilized and uncivilized man the gulf seems to have always been as great as it is today.”


As an Egyptologist, Professor Müller is recognized for his scholarship and learning on both sides of the Atlantic. A favorite pupil of Georg Ebers, he continued his studies at the University of Berlin under Adolf Erman, and soon made a mark for himself. His Asien und Europa nach Altägypt Denkmaller,–“Asia and Europe from the Egyptian Monuments,”–at once gave him high standing in that field. Expressing his regret that he was not able to give more time to the examination of “The Threshold Covenant” in its proof-sheets, he says:

“You did not hear from me earlier because my too close occupation prevented my studying your book as thoroughly as I wished, and contributing, as I hoped to, something on the threshold question. Even now I have to write hastily.

“I have found your book most interesting and suggestive, so that I heartily recommend its publication. I hope to be able to read it more carefully, and to give a more detailed criticism, after a while.

“A few remarks:

“Page 103.–Per-ao [Pharaoh]–gate, door. Not to be proved. Strangely, the root pire means ‘to go out.’ Originally pr may have been ‘door,’ but not in historic times.

“Page 161.–[Calling the region of Sinai, the ‘land of God’.] A mistake! The ‘land of God’ is only the land on the Red Sea. No such records known of Mt. Sinai.

“Page 180, line 5.–[A memorial stone spoken of as marking the boundary line.] How do you know it was a boundary stone?

“There is rich material of better and earlier passages on boundary stones than that given on page 180.

El gisr means ‘bridge.’ The dictionaries do not give ‘threshold.’

“Page 184.–Sinai, an ‘Egyptian boundary line’? Still less did the ‘holy mountain’ (p. 185) ever mark the southern frontier. The threshold sacrifices are evidently a mistake. But I do not have at hand Brugsch’s book–a very fanciful and unreliable book.

“I hope that as soon as a very pressing work has been finished, I shall be able to revise all your passages bearing on Egypt. But even if I should find some more of these minor faults, they would not change the good general impression of the book.”

It will be seen that none of the points questioned by Professor Müller are vital to the main thesis of the book, or essential to its illustration of the prevalence of the threshold covenant customs in Egypt. Moreover, it will be observed, by a reference to my authorities at the pages mentioned, that the facts and opinions I have presented at these points are on the authority of Brugsch Bey and other scholars. The scholarship of Professor Müller, of course, gives him the right to question the testimony of any other Egyptologist.

As to the boundary line of Egypt in the Sinaitic peninsula, that simply refers to the famous tablet and inscription, in Wady Maghara, of Snefru, the great king of the fourth dynasty, when he had first extended his dominions thus far.[714] What was then Egypt’s boundary line of conquest in that direction may, indeed, not have continued to be so. The same may be said of the southern boundary of Egypt on the Nubian frontier.[715]

My reasons for giving “the threshold” as a meaning of el gisr are to be found in full in my “Kadesh-barnea,” at pages 50, 339, 341 f.

It is to be noted that Professor Müller had already pointed out to me the existence of a temple at Thebes bearing the name of the “Silver Threshold,”[716] after the days of the eighteenth dynasty. He promises other notes in this direction when he has time for further research.


As an Orientalist, and as a student of religions, Professor Tiele, Professor of the History of Religions in the University of Leyden, has a position of eminence before the world. His publications of importance are numerous, prominent among which stand “The Religion of Zarathustra [Zoroaster];” “Comparative History of the Egyptian and Mesopotamian Religions;” “The Place of the Religions of Savages in the History of Religion;” “History of Religions of Antiquity to the Time of Alexander the Great;” and “Babylonian-Assyrian History.” A word from Professor Tiele, on the theme of this book, has exceptional weight. He says:

“I thank you very much for your kindness in sending me your most interesting book, ‘The Threshold Covenant.’... As far as I can judge, you have not only given a clear exposition of the facts pertaining to this widespread custom, but you have also shown the right way to catch the meaning underlying those strange usances.

“Of late I have been mostly occupied by the study of the religions of civilized people; nevertheless, I ever take a lively interest in the study of primitive man and the origin of religious rites. I have to say something on these questions in the Gifford Lectures, which I have been invited to deliver before the University of Edinburgh next term. So your book came just in time to know your meaning on the subject, and to revise my opinion by comparing it with yours.”


The successor, at Yale University, of Professor William D. Whitney, in the chair of Sanskrit and Comparative Philology, is Professor E. Washburn Hopkins, who before held the same chair in Bryn Mawr College. This fact in itself is an indication of his position as a scholar; and his latest work, “The Religions of India,” in the series of “Handbooks on the History of Religions,” bears testimony to his learning and ability in that realm. Of the matters treated in this volume he says:

“I have read your ‘Threshold Covenant’ with great interest and pleasure. The statements made in respect of Hindu rites all appear to me to be correct, and some of them might be made stronger, notably in the case of the functions of the altar.

“I cannot say that I agree with you in all respects in your inductions from the ceremonial of the Door, but I have at least been furnished with much food for reflection and hints for observation in future investigation on these lines. Your work is a storehouse of useful data, and illustrates many strange customs of India by parallels from other countries, though I should hesitate to refer so much to one primitive principle.

“But, at all events, the facts of the religious phase which you emphasize have been set forth clearly, correctly, and fully, as regards India, to whatever conclusion they may point. I have had great pleasure in following your argument through to the end.”

It may be mentioned that the added facts as to the Door, given in the Appendix, were not in the proof-sheets submitted to Professor Hopkins.


No American scholar is better fitted than the Rev. Dr. William Elliot Griffis to speak of Japanese manners and customs, and of the religions and modes of thought of the people of Japan. After an extended residence in that country in connection with the Imperial University of Tokio, he has studied and written of it and of its inhabitants. “The Mikado’s Empire,” “The Religions of Japan,” “Japan in History, Folk Lore, and Art,” are among the best known and most valuable of his works in that field. Of “The Threshold Covenant” he says heartily, after an examination of its pages:

“Your general theory is abundantly confirmed in the early life and customs of Chinese Asia, and especially in the history of early Japan. I should, of course, be glad to call together a council of native Japanese friends, and some of my returned countrymen, and talk over your book, but this is impossible at present, and press of many duties prevents me from doing justice to the work, as I should like to do. Such observations as I may throw out, though imperfect, will, I trust, be suggestive. I have read the book twice, and consider it a work of the first order of value.

“In mediæval and modern Japan, it must be remembered, many of the ancient customs and primitive native ideas have been not only changed, but obliterated, by Buddhism, which, by its excessive reverence for life, put an end to those customs which had in them the shedding of blood, or the taking of life. In ancient days it was the pretty nearly universal custom to build human beings alive in the walls of castles or strongholds, and the piers or foundations of bridges. Many are the places rich in traditions of the hito-gashira, or human pillars, who were lowered into the sea to be drowned (to appease the dragon, etc.), or made, as it were, cement for the foundation-stone,–to which I have alluded in my ‘Religions of Japan.’

“What may be called the ‘gate etiquette’ in Japan is elaborate and detailed. More than once have the foreign teachers, denizens, and tourists, had quarrels with the Japanese school, municipal, and national authorities, because they unwittingly often violated ancient Japanese traditions and customs. I myself remember how the mom-ban, or gate-keeper, used to refuse admittance to my jin-riki-sha because I had sitting with me a Japanese student or lad, who could not, in native ideas of propriety, share with me (a guest) the honor of riding inside the chief gate of mansion or college. Concerning troubles with native servants and others, who were inclined to shelter themselves under the foreigners’ prestige and privilege, I need not speak in detail. The term ‘Mikado,’ as you may know, is literally Sublime Porte, Awful Gate, or Portal of Majesty. I believe there is profound significance in the idea of having the gateway to a Buddhist temple a structure which is in many cases almost as imposing as the sacred edifice itself. Each Shintō shrine has before it, at some distance, a tori-i; and every little wayside shrine, in size from a doll-house to a one-room cottage, has almost invariably a little tori-i, or gateway, before it.

“The most elaborate ceremonies and gradations of honor are connected with the threshold of the Imperial Palace, and for a thousand years or more were rigorously observed in Kioto, and doubtless to great extent are yet in the new palace in Tokio.

“In a Japanese marriage, when conducted on the old order of ceremonies, the origin of which goes back into primeval twilight, the bride goes from her own home always to be married in her husband’s home and to become a part of it. As she approaches her new home, fires are lighted on either side of the threshold or door of entrance of the bridegroom’s house. The name of these fires is ‘garden torches.’ As she proceeds up the corridor, inside the house, two pairs of men and women, one on each side, have mortars in which they pound rice. As the palanquin passes, the two mortars are moved together, and the meal from the two is mixed so as to become one mess. During the same time two candles have been lighted on either side of the passage way, and after the passing of the palanquin, the two flames are first joined in one and then blown out. Of course, these ceremonies are now used only among the higher classes.

“In all the Buddhist temples beside the great gateway and the ordinary temple entrance there is a distinctly marked sill, behind which is the altar, and over which the worshiper must not come.

“I am very much inclined to believe that there is a significance which allies itself to ‘The Threshold Covenant’ in the ye-bumi or ‘trampling on the cross,’ observed during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries in Japan in order to eradicate all traces of Christianity. The pagan authorities made a copper engraving of the crucifix, and putting it on the ground, between a structure that was evidently meant for the doorway with a threshold under it, they compelled every one–man, woman, and child–to step upon the figure of Christ and the cross in token of their rejection of everything belonging to Christianity.

“In ancient Japan, and all through her history, great care was taken with boundaries and boundary marks, the latter being sometimes masses of charcoal buried in the earth, or inscribed pillars, the bases of which were charred. Mr. Ernest Satow, the first authority on things Japanese, believes that these boundary pillars, which, in some cases (as in Corea today), were carved to represent certain gods, afterwards became phallic emblems. Before most of the Buddhist temples of importance are to be found the two guardian deities Ni-ō (two kings), and before many thousands of shrines of both Shintō and Buddhism is the ama-inu (heavenly dogs), which are the guardians of the entrance to the temple.

“Time would fail me to tell of the various fetiches placed over and beside the doorways and gates. Beside the very elaborate New Year’s symbolism signifying prosperity, longevity, congratulations, etc., there is always, on the last night of the year, a sort of ‘purging out of the old leaven,’ cleaning up of the house, and exorcism, by means of beans as projectiles, of all evil and evil spirits. Then bunches of thorny leaves, like holly, are affixed outside on the door lintel. Over the doorway of almost every house of country folk and many of the townspeople, one can see the wooden charms nailed up. These are bought in the temples of the priests as well as the packages of sacred paper with Sanskrit letters or monograms for the better class of houses.

“Besides the red cord with which almost every present in Japan is tied, the stamp of the red hand on or at the side of the door, either on the wood itself or on a sheet of paper, nailed up beside the door, is very common at particular times.

“The Mecca of Japanese Shintō is at Isé, where the temples have had from time immemorial ‘only one foundation.’ The buildings are renewed every twenty years on the same spot. For many centuries it has been the custom to rebuild Buddhist temples on the same foundation when destroyed by fire, or when ‘captured’ from Shintoist to Buddhist ownership....

“Let me call your attention to the idea underlying the political and religious covenant of the great Iroquois Confederacy–the most remarkable political structure of North American Indian life. The five tribes (later a sixth was added) called their dwelling-place in New York, between Niagara and the Hudson ‘the Long House’ after the typical Iroquois dwelling in which lived many families. Few Iroquois lived east of Schenectady, though they went to fish in the Hudson River, which they then named (a) ‘Schenectady.’ Schenectady (which in the Indian conception was the region in their extreme east) means, when analyzed, ‘just outside the threshold,’ or ‘without the door.’ While Onondaga was the central fore-place of the Confederacy, the site of Schenectady had special sacredness in the minds of the Iroquois, and the Mohawks, who occupied this portion of the country, were called ‘the guardians of the threshold.’

“Van Curler (Arendt Van Curler), one of the real ‘makers of America,’ who knew the Indians so well, and who made that great covenant with them which kept the Iroquois, despite all French intrigue, bribery, and opposition, faithful (for two centuries, till the Revolution divided even the white men), first to the Dutch, then to the English, knew this Indian reverence for the threshold, and took a just advantage of it. The fact that ‘The Covenant of Corlear’ was made on the threshold of their Long House gave it such sacredness in the eyes of the Indians that it was never broken. In all their later oratory, for two centuries they referred to this covenant. Besides calling the governors of New York ‘Corlear’ (the only instance, as Francis Parkman once wrote me, in which the Indians applied a personal name instead of making use of a material object, figuratively, to a governor,–‘fish,’ ‘pen,’ ‘big mountain,’ etc.), the Mohawks of Canada to this day, as I heard them speak it after personal inquiry, call Queen Victoria ‘Kora Kowa,’ that is, ‘the great Corlear’ (Van Curler).”


As an authority in the field of Greek antiquities, as well as a scholar of wide learning in various other fields, Professor Mahaffy, of Dublin University, stands in high repute. Among his many published works, in proof of this, are his “Twelve Lectures on Primitive Civilization,” “Prolegomena to Ancient History,” “Social Life in Greece from Homer to Menander,” “Greek Antiquities,” “Rambles and Studies in Greece,” “Greek Life and Thought from Alexander to the Roman Conquest,” “The Greek World under Roman Sway,” and “The Empire of the Ptolemies.” Returning the proof-sheets of “The Threshold Covenant” to the author, he says generously: “Your learning is to me quite astonishing, and I could not venture to criticise you except in a passing way, as I read your proofs hastily. But you will find [on them] rough notes in pencil, only to show what I thought at the moment.”

In comment on the custom, in many lands, of carrying out the dead from a house or a city through a special door or gate, instead of over the threshold at the principal entrance,[717] he says: “At present, in the farmhouses about Hoorn, in Holland, there is a state door opened only for marriages and funerals. The family use a side or back door only.”[718] Again, “the ἱερὰ πύλη (hiera pule, ‘sacred gate’) at Athens seems to have been an accursed gate, through which criminals only were led out.”

In confirmation of the claim that human life, or blood, was deemed essential in the foundation, or the threshold laying of a city,[719] Professor Mahaffy says: “Great Hellenistic cities, as, for instance, Antioch, had a girl sacrificed at their foundation. It was she, apparently, that afterwards appeared as the personification of the city, ἡ τύχη [hē tuchē, ‘the fortune,’] as it was called.”

“The ‘red hand of the O’Neills’ is a famous coat-of-arms well known in Ireland. Lord O’Neill now bears it.”

As to my assumption that the first hearthstone must have been, in the nature of things, at the threshold of the cave or tent or hut, as it still is among primitive peoples, and that the first stone laid at the corner, or at the doorway, of a house or building, was, by the very fact of its first laying, the threshold of that structure, Professor Mahaffy says: “I don’t believe in the identification of (1) foundation stone, (2) threshold, (3) house corner, (4) hearthstone, without clear proof.”


In Dr. Lamberton, Professor of Greek, and Dean of the Department of Philosophy, the University of Pennsylvania has a scholar as acute and discerning in his observations as he is full and accurate in knowledge in his special field of classic Greek. He has been familiar with the results of my researches during my progress of recent years, and he has this to say, after examining the proof-sheets of the completed work:

“Your induction seems to me to be very wide, and to include in its sweep all phases of civilization, which is practically as much as to say all periods of human existence, from the most primitive on.

“The significance of the threshold as altar, place of covenanting and worship, in house, temple, and domain, I think is completely made out.

“Very striking is the smiting of the blood, as sign of the covenant relation, upon the posts of the doorway; and in particular the mark of the red hand. The connection you endeavor to show between all this and the marriage rite is, to say the least of it, suggestive. The mystery of the gift and transmission of life, it has always seemed to me, early struck man; and that it did not have its issue only in perverted forms, is clear from the fragmentary glimpses we get into the Eleusinian mysteries, celebrated in honor of divinities of productivity. Purification from sin and blessedness in the next world appear to have been among the hopes of the initiated.

“May I call your attention to one or two points? The Greek word for altar, βωμός (bomos), altar, from root βα (ba), seen in βαίνειν (bainein), ‘to step.’

“May not the whipping of the boys mentioned on page 175 be a misinterpreted substitute for sacrifices at the boundary posts, perhaps even at one time human sacrifices? Such later modifications of sacrifice into symbolic whippings are not unheard of elsewhere.”

Professor Lamberton’s suggestion that the Greek word for altar has its origin in a “step” has confirmation in the fact, already noted, that the earliest temples were a shrine at the summit of a series of steps, as in a step-pyramid, in Babylonia, Egypt, Canaan, Mexico, Peru, and the South Sea Islands.[720] Is there not a reference to this ordinary mode of building an altar among the outside nations, in the divine command to Israel in the wilderness as to the building of an altar to Jehovah? “Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.”[721]


In the realm of American antiquities, and of anthropology generally, Dr. Brinton, Professor of American Archæology and Linguistics in the University of Pennsylvania, stands foremost. He has been President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and his knowledge and his work have had marked recognition in the International Oriental Congresses, in the American Philosophical Society, in the Academy of Natural Sciences, and in other learned bodies. He writes:

“I have gone over, with constantly increasing interest, your pages on ‘The Threshold Covenant,’ an interest associated with admiration of the wide reading you have brought to bear on the theme, and the temperate and enlightened spirit in which you have presented the facts.

“You have, without question, established the practical universality of the rites and ceremonies you describe, and the ideas from which they took their origin. Your volume is another and powerful witness to the parallelisms of culture, and to the unity in the forms of expression of the human mind.

“These analogies and identities are, as you well know, open to several interpretations or explanations. The main one offered by you seems to me, as a fact, quite probable; certainly it was constantly associated with such rites.

“I am not able altogether to agree with the point of view expressed in your Preface, and on pages 193–195, in reference to the general origin and trend of religious ideas; but possibly I should find myself closer to your position were I to see it more amply defined. I cannot think the earliest religions were, as a rule, more ‘uplifting’ than the later ones; I think there was a general progress upwards.


Dean Bartlett, of the Divinity School of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Philadelphia, is prominent as a devout and careful Bible scholar, who has the confidence of the Christian community to a rare degree. He was the first president of the American Institute of Sacred Literature, and he is the vice-president of the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis. His work, on the “Scriptures Hebrew and Christian,” as an introduction to the study of the Bible, won for him commendation from eminent scholars. Having read the proof-sheets of this book, Dean Bartlett writes:

“I thank you for the opportunity to read your book ‘The Threshold Covenant.’ And I also want to thank you for allowing me to know something of the growth of your thought on the subject, in the frequent conversations we have had about it during the years past. Ever since I came into the privilege of calling you friend I have been a witness of the truth of your statement in the Preface, that your theory is wholly a result of induction, that it came to you out of the gathered facts, instead of the facts being gathered in support of the theory. What I know as to your method would lead me to expect a result that must stand, and there are few writers who would be for me as authoritative as you in matters which I could not verify for myself. But here you furnish the means of verification.

“As the subject has come up between us from time to time and part by part, I have been led to think over what you told me, and it has seemed to me that nothing could exceed the care with which you advanced in your induction. And now that I review the work as a whole, I am convinced that you have demonstrated your theory. In doing so, you have thrown a whole flood of new bright light on primitive culture, on some of the sacredest phases of human life in all ages, on many places of Scripture from the first chapter to the last, and on the central sacraments of the Old and New Covenants.

“If this light came to me now for the first time in all its fulness, I am not sure whether I should be startled and almost blinded by it, or whether I should, at first at least, altogether fail to appreciate it. But you have been giving it to me gradually as it came to you, and so I have been in a position to become adjusted to it, and also to test its illumining quality. I find that it is not transitory, but permanent, not a flash but a steady light, in which the great objects of our Christian faith stand clearly revealed.

“I sincerely congratulate you upon the completion of such an important and illuminating work.”


Just as the final pages of this volume are going to press, a valued communication concerning them is received from Professor Cheyne, of Oxford University. Professor Cheyne is Oriel Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at Oxford, and Canon of Rochester. He is well known on both sides of the Atlantic as a prominent English representative of the school of modern “higher criticism,” or “historical criticism.” He was a member of the Old Testament Revision Company, and he contributed many important articles on biblical subjects to the ninth edition of the “Encyclopædia Britannica.” In 1889 he delivered the Bampton Lectures on “The Historical Origin and Religious Ideas of the Psalter,” and his various works on Old Testament literature, including Job, the Psalms, Solomon, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, have made him familiar to English readers the world over. The kindly, frank, and courteous comments of Professor Cheyne on “The Threshold Covenant” are the more highly valued in view of the fact that he has had occasion to suppose that the author’s standpoint of biblical criticism was not quite the same as his own. He says:

“I am delighted to have been able to make early acquaintance with a book so full of facts which really illuminate the dark places of primitive times. That the explanation of the Hebrew Scriptures profits much by it, is clear. Thank you for having devoted so much patient and thoughtful care to the accumulation and interpretation of the facts. I have never doubted your singular capacity for archeological work, and have only regretted that there has not been greater fellow-feeling with the critics (in the popular sense,–for you, too, are critical, though not quite in the right sense and to the extent required, if I may personally say this).

“I notice on page 46 f. a reference to the foundation of Jericho by Hiel. It appears to me that the idea suggested by archeology is only defensible on the principles generally associated with ‘historical criticism.’ If this idea is in any way historically connected with the act of Hiel related in 1 Kings 16 : 34 (wanting in LXX), and pointed to, whether in reality or in the honest, though faulty, imagination of the writer, in Joshua 6 : 26, we must suppose that the act of Hiel was misunderstood by the critics of these two passages. For the deaths of Abiram and Segub are referred to as divine judgments upon Hiel for his violation of the ḥerem, or ban, laid upon the site of Jericho, whereas, according to the archeological theory, Hiel offered his children as foundation sacrifices, believing that he could thus bring a blessing on the city of Jericho. No plain reader will understand the connection of the archeological idea and the two passages of Old Testament–as it appears to me.

“The connection has been surmised by others before you,–probably you can tell me who first struck out the idea. Is it in Tylor, or where? I cannot remember. Winckler (Geschichte Israel, Part I, 1895) expresses his adhesion to it. Kuenen (Onderzoek, I [1886], p. 233) holds that there was a misunderstanding of the traditional facts on the part of the author of the prediction in Joshua 6 : 26 in its present form, and of the author of the notice in 1 Kings 16 : 34; he thinks that Hiel sacrificed his two sons, but does not appear to recall the archeological facts. I think he ought to have recalled them. But he is right in the main, as it seems to me.

I have no prejudice against archeological illustrations of customs or of phraseology. On the contrary, I delight in them. I have for many years been on the archeological side, as well as on the critical....

“Robertson Smith took the right course, at once critical and archeological. Only he could not do everything, and he purposed to limit himself, to a great extent, to those branches of archeology which he knew at first hand, or in which he could trust the experts. He would not trust the English (biblical) archeologists, because they were not critical.

“Are you right about (God’s) ‘strong hand,’ etc., page 83? And what connection has teraphim with threshold (p. 109)? Bonomi is no critic. You are very convincing about the passover blood.

“I will write again if any special notes suggest themselves. A number of references in the Old Testament and the New Testament must be open to divers interpretations; but I habitually act upon your own principles. Phrases which seem to us simple, are often full of references which archeology alone can explain. Macte esto.


Before this Supplement is finally printed, there comes a second communication from Professor Hommel of Munich, as already promised by him.[722] In this new communication are suggestions and words of appreciation that will be welcomed by many readers, as coming from such a source. Professor Hommel says:

“Only a few days ago I finished reading your highly interesting little book, ‘The Threshold Covenant,’ and I hasten to write to you, that I have read it with ever-increasing interest, and have learned infinitely much from it. Our views regarding the high antiquity and the unity of human culture receive entirely new light through this work; in addition, a large number of old oriental and biblical ways and customs now become intelligible and clear.

“Manifestly correct, and indeed most happy, is your derivation of the threshold cult, and of sacrifice in general, from the first human blood shed on crossing the threshold of woman; also the important explanation of the signs for life, which I have compared: Egyptian, ; Babylonian, . (Compare vulva.) Moreover, your explanation of the passover is much more satisfactory than taking pesakh in the sense of ‘to pass by.’

“Permit me now to offer a few remarks, of which you may still be able to avail yourself.

“With the symbol of the red hand may also be compared the hands upon the Sabaean bronze tablets (Z.D.M.G., Vol. 19, plate XI., and especially plate VII.), where fourteen hands of seven gods are pictured above the inscription. Furthermore, see Pinches’ Inscribed Babylonian Tablets, belonging to the collection of Sir Henry Peek, Part III., p. 66; a seal cylinder, on which appears a raised hand between the god and the priest.

“On page 100 [of your book].–More accurately, I is house as well as temple; I-GAL is palace (í-gal íkallu); but Hebrew and Arabic hekal is ‘temple,’ ‘Holy of Holies’ (Hebrew, also ‘palace’).

“On page 105.–That the design in question, on the old Babylonian seal cylinder, represents the sun gates, is a discovery made by your own countryman, Dr. W. Hayes Ward (American Journal of Archeology, III., nos. 1–2, p. 52).

“On page 108.–The Arabic mihrâb is a loan word from the South Arabic and Ethiopic, mikrâb, temple; literally, ‘praying-place.’

“On page 171.–In South Arabic inscriptions wathan signifies ‘boundary-pillar,’ and at the same time ‘statue of god,’ ‘idol.’

“On page 180.–El gisr is literally ‘bridge.’ The bridge was also looked upon as a gate, as leading from one shore to the other.

“On page 229.–Sacred prostitution. Compare Babylonia kadishtu (literally, holy person), Hebrew kādusha, ‘harlot.’

“On page 233 (note).–The Babylonian patânu, ‘to hold the sacrificial meal,’ ‘to eat,’ naptanu, ‘meal,’ is connected with Hebrew miphtan. I am inclined to believe also that the Babylonian ʿgish-da=pitnu, really means ‘threshold;’ also that gish-sa, ush-sa, a bridal gift, is originally ‘threshold.’

“On page 234.–The ‘serpent’ of the boundary stone was originally the Milky Way. The other symbols are animals of the Zodiac.

“On page 235 (note 3).–Compare, also, Hommel, Babylonische Ursprung der Ægypt. Kultur (fight of Merodach with the serpent=fight of Rê ‘with ʿApep’).

“On page 238.–Nekhushtân, the name the serpent of Moses, is derived from נחשת, ‘vulva,’ or, at all events, is related to this word.”

1.  See Trumbull’s Blood Covenant, passim.

2.  See Trumbull’s Blood Covenant, pp. 191 f., 370; also Frazer’s Golden Bough, I., 183–185.

3.  These facts I have obtained at different times in personal conversations with intelligent natives of Syria and of Egypt. It will be seen, later, how they are verified in the record of similar customs elsewhere.

4.  See Hopkins’s Religions of India, p. 362 f.

5.  Ibid., with references to Mahabharata, II., 21, 14, 53; X., 8, 10.

6.  Ibid., with references to Laws of Manu, IV., 73, and to Gaut. 9 : 32.

7.  John 10 : 1, 2, 9, 10.

8.  See Lund’s Every-day Life in Scandinavia in the Sixteenth Century, p. 16, with note 36; also, the Njals Saga.

9.  See Smith’s Dict. of Greek and Roman Antiq., s. vv. “Athletae” and “Olympic Games;” also Gardner’s New Chapters in Greek History, p. 299.

10.  See London Folk-Lore Journal, I., 92.

11.  These facts were given me by a member of the vice-consul’s family, who witnessed the ceremony. The preparations were made before the arrival of General Grant; and they were not prominent in the sight of himself or party. They were simply the customs of the country.

12.  Prof. A.H. Sayce, in London Folk-Lore, I., 523.

13.  Comp. with p. 5, supra.

14.  Comp. with p. 71 f., infra.

15.  Bruce’s Travels, Bk. II., p. 514.

16.  Baker’s Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia, p. 137; comp. 126 f.

17.  On the testimony of a Liberian colored clergyman.

18.  See, for example, Sir Robert Ker Porter’s Travels, p. 36 f.

19.  Palgrave’s Personal Narrative of a Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia, I., 51.

20.  Conder’s Heth and Moab, pp. 290, 293.

21.  D’Herbelot’s Bibliothèque Orientale, s. v. “Bab,” p. 157.

22.  Roberts’s Oriental Illus. of Scrip., p. 149.

23.  Morier’s Second Journey through Persia, p. 254.

24.  Ralston’s Songs of the Russian People, p. 137.

25.  On the testimony of a Finnish American.

26.  Lund’s Every-day Life in Scandinavia in the Sixteenth Century, p. 12 f.

27.  Jones and Kropf’s Folk-Tales of Magyars, p. 410, note.

28.  Ibid., p. 410 f.

29.  Ibid., p. 259.

30.  Fragmenta Philosophorum Græcorum (ed. Mullach), I., 510.

31.  See “Marriage Customs of the Mordvins,” in London Folk-Lore, I., 459, note; also, Bergeron’s “Voyage de Calpin,” cap. 10, cited in Burder’s Oriental Customs (2d ed.), p. 24.

32.  Turner’s Samoa, p. 37.

33.  See Maspero’s Life in Ancient Egypt and Assyria, pp. 195, 219.

34.  Rawlinson’s History of Herodotus, II., 47, 48.

35.  Mackay’s Mackay of Uganda, pp. 112 f., 177.

36.  See “Sacred Laws of the Aryas,” II., 2, 4, in Sacred Books of the East, II., 107.

37.  “A bali is an offering of any sort, such as a handful of rice, flung to birds or spirits or waters, or to any supernatural beings. A mantra is a Vedic text, a verse muttered during a religious ceremony; often used in incantations, or in legitimate services to a god.”–Prof. Dr. E.W. Hopkins.

38.  See “Sacred Laws of the Aryas,” V., 12, in Sacred Books of the East, II., 200, 233.

39.  See Sir Henry M. Elliot’s Races of the Northwestern Provinces of India (Beames’s ed.), I., 197.

40.  See report of a meeting of the Bombay Anthropological Society, in London Folk-Lore Journal, VI., p. 77.

41.  Jones and Kropf’s Folk-Tales of Magyars, p. 410 f., note.

42.  Leland’s Etruscan Roman Remains in Popular Tradition, p. 282.

43.  Ibid., p. 321 f.

44.  Jones and Kropf’s Folk-Tales of Magyars, p. 332 f.

45.  Ralston’s Songs of the Russian People, p. 136 f.

46.  See “Death Week in Russia,” in The Spectator (London), for June 18, 1892.

47.  Jones and Kropf’s Folk-Tales of Magyars, p. 332.

48.  On the testimony of a native Roumanian.

49.  See, for example, Turner’s Samoa, pp. 21, 56 f., 74 f., 216, 241; also Strack’s Der Blutaberglaube (4th ed.), p. 39.

50.  Griffis’s Mikado’s Empire, pp. 467, 470; also, Isabella Bird’s Untrodden Tracks in Japan, I., 392.

51.  St. John’s Life in the Far East, I., 64, 157 f.

52.  See London Folk-Lore Journal, II., 330 f.

53.  Dr. Strean in Mason’s Statistical Account, or Parochial Survey of Ireland, II., 75.

54.  See J.G. Owens on “Folk-Lore from Buffalo Valley, Central Pennsylvania,” in Journal of American Folk-Lore, IV., 126.

55.  B. Biaz’s “Memoirs:” cited in Spencer’s Descriptive Sociology, II., 23.

56.  See pp. 51, 55, infra.

57.  See Ralston’s Songs of the Russian People, p. 120.

58.  See Du Bois’s Description of the Character, Manners, and Customs of the Peoples of India, II., 27. Compare pp. 5–7, supra.

59.  Nevius’s China and the Chinese, p. 60.

60.  Landor’s Corea or Cho-sen, p. 118.

61.  See Ralston’s Russian Folk-Tales, p. 28 f.

62.  On the testimony of Professor Dr. A.L. Frothingham, Jr.

63.  Julia McNair Wright’s Among the Alaskans, p. 313.

64.  Comp. Plutarch’s Roman Questions, Q. 5.

65.  Rev. 6 : 9–10.

66.  On the testimony of an eye-witness.

67.  Palmer’s Desert of the Exodus, I., 90.

68.  Burckhardt’s Bed. u. Wahaby, p. 214, note.

69.  Lane’s Modern Egyptians, II., 293.

70.  Garnett’s Women of Turkey and their Folk-Lore (“Christian Women”), p. 239.

71.  Rodd’s Customs and Lore of Modern Greece, p. 101.

72.  Capt. King’s “Notes” in London Folk-Lore Journal, VI., 121, 123.

73.  Capt. King’s “Notes” in London Folk-Lore Journal, VI., 121, 123.

74.  Shooter’s Kafirs of Natal, pp. 71–78; and Andersson’s Lake Ngami, p. 220 f.

75.  On the testimony of a native eye-witness. See, also, Conder’s Heth and Moab, p. 285.

76.  See article by P.J. Baldensperger, in Quarterly Statement of Palestine Exploration Fund for April, 1894, p. 136.

77.  Heuzey’s Le Monte Olympe et L’Acarnanie, p. 278.

78.  See citations from Donatus, on the “Hecyra” of Terence, I., 2, 60, and Servius on Virgil’s “Aeneid,” IV., 459, in Heuzey’s Le Monte Olympe et Acarnanie, p. 278; also, Marquardt’s Privatleben der Römer, p. 53.

79.  Garnett’s Women of Turkey (“Christian Women”), p. 82.

80.  Rodd’s Customs and Lore of Modern Greece, p. 95 f.

81.  Rodd’s Customs and Love of Modern Greece, p. 99 f.

82.  Ibid., p. 102.

83.  Wood’s Wedding Day in all Ages and Countries, II., 46.

84.  See Ralston’s Songs of the Russian People, p. 277 f.

85.  See “Marriage Customs of the Mordvins,” in London Folk-Lore, I., 422–427; also P. von Stenin, in Globus, LXV., 181–183.

86.  Wood’s Wedding Day in all Ages and Countries, II., 13.

87.  On the testimony of Dr. H.V. Hilprecht.

88.  Walter Gregor in London Folk-Lore Journal, I., 119 f.

89.  St. John’s Life in the Forests of the Far East, I., 62.

90.  See Bancroft’s Native Races, I., 663.

91.  See Bancroft’s Native Races, I., 732–734.

92.  “Grihya-Sutras,” or Rules of Vedic Domestic Ceremonies, in Sacred Books of the East, XXX., 193.

93.  Ibid.

94.  Ibid., p. 263.

95.  Fragmenta Philosophorum Græcorum (ed. Mullach), I., 510.

96.  Gwilt’s Architecture of Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, p. 89.

97.  See Hughes’s Dictionary of Islam, art. “Masjid;” also Lane’s Modern Egyptians, I., 105; and Conder’s Heth and Moab, p. 293 f.

98.  Rodd’s Customs and Lore of Modern Greece, p. 104.

99.  Sibree, on “Malagasy Folk-Lore and Popular Superstition” in London Folk-Lore Record, II., p. 37.

100.  As told me by a native eye-witness.

101.  Burckhardt’s Arabic Proverbs, p. 137 f.

102.  Bruce’s “Travels,” VII., 67 (ed. 1804); cited in McLennan’s Studies in Ancient History, p. 188.

103.  On the testimony of a colored clergyman from Liberia.

104.  See Maspero’s Life in Ancient Egypt and Assyria, p. 232.

105.  Campbell’s “Personal Narrative;” cited in McLennan’s Studies in Ancient History, p. 14.

106.  Pinkerton’s “Collection,” VI., 183; cited in Ibid., p. 177.

107.  Hayes’s “Open Polar Sea,” p. 432; cited in Lubbock’s Origin of Civilization (Am. ed.), p. 78.

108.  Rous’s Archæologia Attica, Lib. IV., cap. 7.

109.  See “Roman Questions,” Q. 29, in Goodwin’s Plutarch’s Morals, II., 220 f.; also Godwyn’s Rom. Hist. Anthol., Lib. II., § 2; citation of authorities in Becker’s Gallus, p. 161, and in Marquardt’s Privatleben der Römer, I., 53 f.

110.  Douglas’s Society in China, p. 201. See, also, Williams’s Middle Kingdom, I., 790; Gray’s China, I., 205; and “Marriage Ceremonies of the Manchus,” in London Folk-Lore, I., 487.

111.  Adele M. Fielde’s Corner of Cathay, p. 39.

112.  “Grihya-Sutras,” or Rules of Vedic Domestic Ceremonies, in Sacred Books of the East, XXX., 193, 201.

113.  Guhl and Koner’s Life of the Greeks and Romans, p. 192.

114.  See “Roman Questions,” Q. 1, 2, in Goodwin’s Plutarch’s Morals, I., 204; also authorities cited in Becker’s Gallus, p. 162 f., and Marquardt’s Privatleben der Römer, I., 53 f.

115.  See Coulange’s Ancient City, pp. 29–41, 55–58, with citations.

116.  See “Marriage Customs of the Mordvins,” in London Folk-Lore, I., 437. See, also, the reference to burning incense on the threshold in Tuscany, at p. 17 f., supra.

117.  See Kowalewsky’s “Marriage among the Early Slavs,” in London Folk-Lore, I., 467.

118.  From “Marriage Customs of the Mordvins,” in London Folk-Lore, I., 423, 447.

119.  From “Marriage Customs of the Mordvins,” in London Folk-Lore, I., 434–443.

120.  Napier’s Folk-Lore in the West of Scotland, p. 51; also Wood’s Wedding Day in all Ages and Countries, II., 59 f.

121.  See Bancroft’s Native Races, I., 662, 703, 730–734.

122.  On the testimony of the Rev. William Ewing, a missionary in Palestine.

123.  A daughter of a native Copt described to me this ceremony, as she witnessed it at the building of her father’s house in 1878. He was formerly a Coptic priest, but was now a Protestant Christian.

124.  See Tylor’s Primitive Culture, I., 104–108.

125.  Strack’s Der Blutaberglaube, p. 68.

126.  Josh. 6 : 26.

127.  1 Kings 16 : 34.

128.  See article “On Kirk-Grims” in The Cornhill Magazine for February, 1887, p. 196.

129.  On the testimony of a native Chinese clergyman.

130.  See article “On Kirk-Grims” in The Cornhill Magazine for February, 1887.

131.  See article “On Kirk Grims” in The Cornhill Magazine, for February, 1887, p. 191.

132.  Tylor’s Primitive Culture, I., 104 f.

133.  Ralston’s Songs of the Russian People, p. 128.

134.  See article “On Kirk-Grims” in The Cornhill Magazine for February, 1887, p. 191.

135.  See Gomme’s article on “Traditions Connected with Buildings,” in The Antiquary, III., 11.

136.  See Coote’s “A Building Superstition,” in London Folk-Lore Journal, I., 22 f.

137.  See W.G. Chase’s “Notes from Alaska,” in Journal of American Folk-Lore, VI., 51.

138.  See Tylor’s Primitive Culture, I., 104–108.

139.  Rodd’s Customs and Lore of Modern Greece, p. 168 f.

140.  Ibid.

141.  Garnett’s Women of Turkey (“Christian Women”), p. 22.

142.  Rodd’s Customs and Lore of Modern Greece, p. 148.

143.  See Ralston’s Songs of the Russian People, p. 126.

144.  Ibid., p. 127.

145.  Ralston’s Songs of the Russian People, p. 135 f.

146.  This is the case with the Church House in Philadelphia,–the “corner-stone” of which was laid while this page was writing.

147.  See Erman’s Life in Ancient Egypt, p. 175.

148.  See Coote’s “A Building Superstition,” in London Folk-Lore Journal, I., 22.

149.  Lanciani’s Ancient Rome in the Light of Recent Discoveries, p. 225 f.

150.  See article “On Kirk-Grims” in The Cornhill Magazine for February, 1887, p. 192.

151.  Ibid., p. 195.

152.  See Bancroft’s Native Races, V., 471.

153.  See Trumbull’s Studies in Oriental Social Life, pp. 98, 112–131.

154.  See Josh. 10 : 3–35; 12 : 11; 15 : 39; 2 Kings 14 : 19; 18 : 14–19, etc.

155.  See, for example, 1 Kings 2 : 28.

156.  See Bliss’s Mound of Many Cities, p. 77 f.

157.  See “Afghan Life in Afghan Songs,” in Darmesteter’s Selected Essays, p. 117.

158.  On the testimony of a native Syrian of wide experience in the region referred to.

159.  W. Robertson Smith’s Religion of the Semites, p. 319.

160.  Strassmaier Nabuchodonosor, No. 183.

161.  Dieulafoy’s “L’art antique de la Perse;” cited in Babelon’s Manual of Oriental Antiquities, p. 152.

162.  See The Times (London) for July 12, 1894.

163.  See Hopkins’s Religions of India, p. 361, note.

164.  In a personal letter to the Author.

165.  Exod. 32 : 26.

166.  Judg. 19 : 25–30.

167.  Ruth 4 : 1–10.

168.  2 Sam. 15 : 2–4.

169.  2 Sam. 19 : 8.

170.  Jer. 38 : 7–9.

171.  Dan. 2 : 49.

172.  Prov. 8 : 34.

173.  Amos 5 : 15.

174.  Zech. 8 : 16.

175.  Isa. 29 : 21.

176.  Luke 16 : 19, 20.

177.  Acts 3 : 3, 10.

178.  Exod. 21 : 5, 6.

179.  Deut. 14 : 17.

180.  Gen. 22 : 17.

181.  Matt. 16 : 18.

182.  Isa. 24 : 12.

183.  In a personal letter to the Author.

184.  See Finn’s Stirring Times, I., 102 f.

185.  A.M. Luncz, in Jerushalayim, p. 17.

186.  Home and Synagogue of the Modern Jew, p. 30.

187.  Nineveh and its Remains (Am. ed.), II., 202.

188.  Ancient Egyptians, I., 346, 361 f.

189.  Comp. Deut. 6 : 9 and 20 : 5.

190.  See art. “Mezuza,” by Ginsburg, in Kitto’s Cycl. of Bib. Lit.

191.  Psa. 121 : 8.

192.  See art. “Mezuza,” by Ginsburg, in Kitto’s Cycl. of Bib. Lit.

193.  See, for example, Memoirs of Survey of Western Palestine, I., 230–234, 257 f., 398–402, 407 f., 416 f.

194.  The Land and the Book, I., 140 f.

195.  See Sir Robert Ker Porter’s Travels, I., 440.

196.  See, for example, Perrot and Chipiez’s Hist. of Art in Persia, pp. 127, 129, 294, 357; also, Benjamin’s Persia and the Persians, pp. 17, 58, 61.

197.  Doolittle’s Social Life of the Chinese, II., 75, 310 f.

198.  Williams’s Middle Kingdom, I., 731.

199.  Adele M. Fielde’s Pagoda Shadows, p. 88.

200.  Gray’s China, II., 271. Comp. with p. 8.

201.  Hearn’s Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, II., 397; also, Isabella Bird’s Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, II., 287.

202.  See Becker’s Charicles, p. 260, with citations; also, Guhl and Koner’s Life of the Greeks and Romans, p. 80.

203.  Becker’s Charicles, p. 487.

204.  Theocritus, Idyl II., 63.

205.  See articles “Ara” and “Janua,” in Smith’s Dict. of Greek and Roman Antiquities, with reference to classical authorities.

206.  See Réville’s Native Religions of Mexico and Peru, p. 183.

207.  See Rowan in “Ximenes,” p. 183; cited in Spencer’s Des. Soc., II., 22.

208.  Aubrey’s “Miscellanies;” cited in Gentleman’s Magazine for 1823, Pt. II., p. 412.

209.  See Gentleman’s Magazine for 1867, Pt. I., pp. 307–322.

210.  See p. 62 f., supra.

211.  Heth and Moab, p. 275 f.

212.  A.M. Luncz, in Jerushalayim, p. 19.

213.  On the testimony of the Rev. W. Ewing, a missionary in Palestine.

214.  In Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palæstina Vereins, VIII., 335 ff.

215.  See De Amicis’s Constantinople, p. 185.

216.  One of these old-time prayer-rugs with the open hand embroidered on it, is in the possession of Dr. Hilprecht.

217.  See Morier’s Second Journey through Persia, pp. 75–184.

218.  Rosenmüller’s Das Alte und Neue Morgenland, II., 92 f.

219.  See, for example, Perrot and Chipiez’s History of Art in Phœnicia, I., 54, 263.

220.  De Hesse-Wartegg’s Tunis: The Land and the People, p. 127.

221.  On the testimony of Professor Dr. Morris Jastrow, Jr.

222.  Gen. 11 : 31; 15 : 7.

223.  Perrot and Chipiez’s Hist. of Art in Chald. and Assy., I., 38; see, also, p. 84.

224.  Ibid., I., 203.

225.  Sayce’s Social Life among the Assyrians and Babylonians, p. 52 f.

226.  Perrot and Chipiez’s Hist. of Art. in Chald. and Assy., I., p. 196. See, also, pp. 87, 143, 212; II., 99, 111, 169, 211, 215, 227, 231, 257, 261, 266, 267, 273, 275, 279. See, also, Collection de Clercq, passim.

227.  Perrot and Chipiez’s Hist. of Art in Phœnicia, I., 53, 54, 69, 320; II., 61, 113, 161, 228, 247, 248, 255, 257.

228.  Wilkinson’s Anc. Egypt, III., 3, 8, 24, 48, 53, 100, 192, 208, 218, 228, 232, 235, 240, 362, 370, 425.

229.   Ibid., III., 53.

230.  Mason’s Statistical Account or Parochial Survey of Ireland, II., 322.

231.  Stephens’s Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, I., 177 f.

232.  Gen. 14 : 22.

233.  Psa. 63 : 4.

234.  Isa. 49 : 22.

235.  Comp. Exod. 6 : 8; Num. 14 : 30; Neh. 9 : 15.

236.  See Tallquist’s Die Sprache Contracte Nabû-Nâ’ido, p. 108.

237.  See Gesenius’s Heb. Lex., s. v. “Nasa.”

238.  See, for example, Exod. 3 : 19; 13 : 3, 14, 16; 32 : 11; Deut. 3 : 24; 4 : 34; 5 : 15; 6 : 21; 7 : 8, 19; 9 : 26; 11 : 2, etc.; 2 Chron. 6 : 32; Ezek. 20 : 34; Dan. 9 : 15.

239.  Ellis’s Polynesian Researches, II., 207, illustration.

240.  Stephens’s Incidents of Travels in Yucatan, II., 46 f.

241.  Stephens’s Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, Appendix, II., 476–478.

242.  Ibid., II., 477.

243.  See Gen. 49 : 8–17; Num. 27 : 22 f.; Acts 4 : 4; 6 : 6; 8 : 18; 13 : 3; 19 : 6; Heb. 6 : 2; 1 Tim. 4 : 14.

244.  See, for example, “a scene in the hypostyle hall at Lûxor,” in Maspero’s Dawn of Civilization, p. 111.; also, illustration in Perrot and Chipiez’s Hist. of Art in Anc. Egypt, I., 45.

245.  Catlin’s “Eight Years amongst the North American Indians,” II., pp. 5–7; cited in Donaldson’s George Catlin Indian Gallery, p. 263.

246.  In a personal letter to the Author.

247.  See Bourke’s Medicine Men of the Apaches, Ninth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology.

248.  Variae nationes, inter quas Americæ aborigines sunt, sanguinem menstrualem sacrissimum atque in eo boni malique vim esse putant, quia non solum modo omnis sanguinis vita ipsa sit, sed vitae humanae germina vel ova quibus species hominum transmittuntur in se contineat. Quod quam verum sit quantamque vim ad foedieris liminis notionem principalem intellegendam habeat infra videtur.

For illustrations of this truth see H. Ploss’s Das Weib in der Natur. und Völkerkunde (2d ed.), I., chap. 39; Strack’s Der Blutaberglaube (4th ed.), pp. 14–18; Spivak’s Menstruation, pp. 6–12; and Frazer’s Golden Bough, I., 170; II., 225–240. These illustrations are gathered from Asia, Africa, Europe, America, and the Islands of the Sea; and they include citations from Pliny, the Talmud, the Christian Fathers, medieval writers, and down to writers of this century.

“Apud populum Novæ Zelandæ creditur sanguinem utero sub tempus menstruale effusum continere germina hominis; et secundum præcepta veteris superstitionis panniculus sanguine menstruali imbutus habebatur sacer (tapu), haud aliter quam si formam humanam accepisset. Mulierum autem mos est hos panniculos intra juncos parietum abdere: et hâc de causâ paries est domûs pars adeo sacra ut nemo illi innixus sedere audeat. Opinio animis N. Zelandorum insita–nempe sanguinem menstruum germina humanæ speciei continere–opinionibus hodiernis convenit: multi enim physiologiæ scientissimi credunt rumpi vesiculam gräafianam, et ex illâ ova delabi circa tempora menstrualia.”–Shortland’s Traditions and Superstitions of the New Zealanders, p. 292.

249.  Landor’s Corea or Cho-sen, p. 156.

250.  Orme’s Hist. of Milit. Trans. of British in Indostan, V., 348.

251.  Maspero’s Life in Anc. Egypt and Assyria, pp. 198–200.

252.  Ibid., p. 204.

253.  Ibid., p. 220.

254.  Roberts’s Oriental Illustrations of the Scriptures, p. 148 f.

255.  Williams’s Middle Kingdom, I., 731.

256.  See McDowell’s “A New Light on the Chinese,” in Harper’s Magazine for Dec., 1893, with illustration of “The Gods of the Threshold.”

257.  Isabella Bird’s Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, I., 117, 273.

258.  Wilkinson’s Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, I., 362 f., and note.

259.  See Tertullian “On Idolatry,” and “On the Soldier’s Chaplet,” in Ante-Nicene Christian Library, XI., 164 f., 353.

260.  Tr. Rowan, in “Ximenes,” p. 183; cited in Spencer’s Descrip. Soc., II., 22.

261.  Darmesteter’s translation of Zend Avesta, in “Sacred Books of the East,” IV., 12, note.

262.  De Coulange’s Ancient City, pp. 32–35, 46 f.

263.  Compare Friedrich Delitzsch’s Assyrisches Handwörterbuch, s. v. “Êkallu.”

264.  Wilkinson’s Egyptians in the Times of the Pharaohs, p. 141.

265.  Erman’s Life in Ancient Egypt, p. 279 f.

266.  Guhl and Koner’s Life of the Greeks and Romans, p. 297.

267.  See, for example, Odyssey, VII., 80.

268.  Perrot and Chipiez’s Hist. of Art in Persia, pp. 240–254.

269.  Comp. Gen. 18 : 1–9, and Exod. 26 : 1–14; 39 : 32, etc.

270.  Douglas’s Society in China, p. 343.

271.  See Chamberlain’s Things Japanese, pp. 37, 226 f., 378; Griffis’s Mikado’s Empire, p. 90; Isabella Bird’s Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, II., 282.

272.  Turner’s Samoa, pp. 18–20.

273.  Maspero’s Dawn of Civilization, p. 703 f.

274.  See Fergusson’s Rude Stone Monuments, pp. 100, 411–413.

275.  Gen. 11 : 1–9.

276.  See Mühlau and Volck’s Gesenius’s Heb. und Aram. Handwörterbuch (12th ed.), s. v. “Babel;” also Schrader, in Richon’s Dict. of Bib. Antiq. (2d ed.).

277.  See Brugsch’s Egypt under the Pharaohs, I., 63; also, Erman’s Life in Ancient Egypt, p. 58.

278.  See Perrot and Chipiez’s History of Art in Chal. and Assy., II., 72.

279.  See Count de Gobineau’s Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l’Asie Centrale; also Browne’s Year among the Persians, and Traveller’s Narrative to Illustrate the Episode of the Bab.

280.  Bibliothèque Orientale, s. v. “Bab.”

281.  John 10 : 9.

282.  See, for example, Griffis’s Mikado’s Empire, p. 419; Isabella Bird’s Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, I., 295 f.; II., 367 f.; Gray’s China, I., 90; Fergusson’s Rude Stone Monuments, p. 413.

283.  See Chamberlain’s Things Japanese, p. 429 f.; and, Lowell’s Chosön, pp. 262–266, for a fuller explanation of the origin and signification of this primitive entrance way.

284.  See, for example, Douglas’s Society in China, p. 411; Isabella Bird’s Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, I., 64; Fergusson’s Tree and Serpent Worship, frontispiece, plates iv-ix, xxi.

285.  See Maspero’s Dawn of Civilization, p. 656.

286.  Ibid., p. 569. The doorway in the engraving from the intaglio is clearly one of the doorway shrines, with the guardians of the doorway on either side, and not, as has been supposed, an opening into the ark.

287.  Maspero’s Dawn of Civilization, pp. 657, 662, 759, 762; also Perrot and Chipiez’s Hist. of Art in Chal. and Assy., I., 203, 212; II., 95, 163, 210, 211.

288.  Ibid., II., facing p. 212.

289.  Perrot and Chipiez’s Hist. of Art in Chal. and Assy., II., 231; Perrot and Chipiez’s Hist. of Art in Phœnicia and Cyprus, I., 9. See, also, note in Rawlinson’s Herodotus, II., pp. 148–151.

290.  Wilkinson’s Anc. Egypt, III., 349; Erman’s Life in Anc. Egypt, pp. 274, 283; and Maspero’s Dawn of Civilization, pp. 189, 239.

291.  Erman’s Life in Anc. Egypt, p. 311; Maspero’s Dawn of Civilization, pp. 237, 250, 253, 262, 316, 413.

292.  Erman’s Life in Anc. Egypt, p. 314. See, also, illustrations in Perrot and Chipiez’s Hist. of Art in Anc. Egypt, I., 131, 140, 175.

293.  Erman’s Life in Anc. Egypt, p. 319.

294.  Perrot and Chipiez’s Hist. of Art in Phœnicia and Cyprus, I., 256; II., 31, 57, 147, 178.

295.  Ibid., I., 53, 54.

296.  Ibid., I., 287; II., 147.

297.  Ibid., I., 264, 321.

298.  Ibid., I., 320.

299.  Bent’s Sacred City of the Ethiopians, pp. 185–193.

300.  See, for example, Fergusson’s Rude Stone Monuments, pp. 100, 168 f., 217, 233, 335, 337, 344, 385, 388, 398–401, 411–413, 441, 464, 468, 484, 532.

301.  See illustrations in Sherrin’s Early History of New Zealand, pp. 406, 514, 648.

302.  Bancroft’s Native Races, IV., 481.

303.  See, for example, Williams’s Middle Kingdom, I., frontispiece; Gray’s China, I., 11 f.

304.  See citation in Bonomi’s Nineveh and its Palaces (2d ed.), pp. 157–160, 174.

305.  Ibid.

306.  Nineveh and its Remains (Am. ed.), II., 202.

307.  Assyrian Discoveries, pp. 75, 78, 429.

308.  Chaldean Magic, pp. 47, 48, 54.

309.  See, for example, 1 Sam. 29 : 6; 2 Sam. 3 : 25; 2 Kings 19 : 27; Psa. 121 : 7, 8; Isa. 37 : 28; Ezek. 43 : 11.

310.  See references to the Mezuza of the Hebrews at page 69 f., supra.

311.  Grotefend Cylinder, Col. I., ll. 44–46. See, also, Rawlinson’s Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia, Vol. I., p. 65, Col. I., ll. 19–21.

312.  East India House Inscription, Col. III., ll. 48–50.

313.  Ibid., Col. VIII., ll. 5–9.

314.  Ibid., Col. IX., ll. 9–16.

315.  Grotefend Cylinder, Col. I., ll. 36–38.

316.  East India House Inscr., col. II., ll. 48–50.

317.  See Layard’s Nineveh and Babylon (Am. ed.), p. 424; Perrot and Chipiez’s Hist. of Art in Chald. and Assy., I., 366–392; Rawlinson’s Herodotus, Bk. II., Chap. 99, 125; Sayce’s Religion of the Ancient Babylonians, p. 96; Mariette Bey’s Monuments of Upper Egypt, p. 79 f.; Bunsen’s Egypt’s Place in Universal History, II., 378–386; Rawlinson’s History of Ancient Egypt, I., 188–194; Réville’s Religions of Mexico and Peru, pp. 41 f., 179 f., Ellis’s Polynesian Researches, II., 207.

318.  Rawlinson’s Herodotus, Bk. I., Chap. 181–183.

319.  The word “sullam,” here translated “ladder,” is a derivative from “salal,” “to raise up in a pile, to exalt by heaping up as in the construction of a mound or highway.” Comp. Isa. 57 : 14; 62 : 10; Jer. 50 : 26. See Bush’s Notes on Genesis, in loco.

320.  Gen. 28 : 10–22.

321.  See Maspero’s Dawn of Civilization, pp. 691–696, with citation of authorities at foot of p. 693, and note at p. 695.

322.  Ibid.; also, Sayce’s Relig. of the Anc. Babyl., pp. 221–278; 286, note 3.

323.  Comp. Job 1 : 21; Eccl. 5 : 15; 1 Tim. 6 : 7.

324.  Maspero’s Dawn of Civilization, p. 696.

325.  Ezek. 47 : 1–9.

326.  Zeph. 2 : 13, 14, with margin.

327.  See Survey of Western Palestine, “Memoirs,” I., 107.

328.  See Gen. 2 : 8–10; Rev. 22 : 1, 2.

329.  Ezek. 8 : 8–16.

330.  Layard’s Nineveh and Babylon (Am. ed.), pp. 302–311.

331.  Ibid., p. 69 f.

332.  1 Sam. 5 : 1–5.

333.  In loco.

334.  Zeph. 1 : 9.

335.  Ezek. 46 : 2.

336.  Ibid., 10 : 4; 9 : 3.

337.  Ibid., 43 : 8.

338.  Lev. 17 : 2–9.

339.  Exod. 29 : 4.

340.  Ibid., 29 : 10–12.

341.  Exod. 33 : 8–10; see, also, Num. 12 : 5; 20 : 6; Deut. 31 : 15.

342.  See, for example, Exod. 40 : 6, 29; Lev. 1 : 3, 5; 3 : 2; 4 : 4, 7; 8 : 1–36; 12 : 6; 14 : 11, 23; 15 : 14, 29; 16 : 7; 17 : 4–9; 19 : 21; Num. 6 : 10–18.

343.  2 Chron. 23 : 4, 5.

344.  Ibid., 34 : 8, 9 (see margin).

345.  1 Chron. 15 : 23, 24; Jer. 35 : 4; 52 : 24, etc.

346.  Psa. 84 : 10 (see margin).

347.  See Edersheim’s The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, p. 191; also, Ginsburg’s art. “Passover,” in Kitto’s Cycl. of Bib. Lit., p. 426.

348.  See 2 Kings 12 : 9; 22 : 4; 23 : 4; 25 : 18.

349.  See, for example, representation and description of temples at Byblus and Baalbec, in Donaldson’s Architectura Numismatica, pp. 105 f., 122–128.

350.  Fellows’s Travels and Researches in Asia Minor, p. 256.

351.  Roberts’s Oriental Illus. of Scrip., p. 148 f.

352.  Maurice’s Indian Antiquities, V., 89.

353.  Maurice’s Indian Antiquities, V., 79 f., note. Compare Trumbull’s Blood Covenant, pp. 157–164.

354.  Maurice’s Modern Hist. of Hindostan, Pt. I., Bk. 2, chap. 3, p. 296 f.

355.  Hughes’s Dictionary of Islam, art. “Masjid;” also Conder’s Heth and Moab, p. 293 f.; also Lane’s The Modern Egyptians, I., 105.

356.  Morier’s Second Journey through Persia, p. 254.

357.  The moon is said to have thus bowed before Muhammad, at the threshold of the Kaabeh at Meccah. Anecdotes Arabes et Mussulmans, p. 22 f. (By J.F. de la Croix, Paris, 1772.)

358.  Chardin’s Voyage, I., 282.

359.  Ibid., I., 292.

360.  Laurie’s Dr. Grant and the Mountain Nestorians, p. 134 f.

361.  Vambéry’s Travels in Central Asia, p. 233.

362.  Huc’s Travels in Tartary, Thibet, and China, I., 191.

363.  Hearn’s Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, I., 188.

364.  Lowell’s Occult Japan, pp. 270–273; also, Isabella Bird’s Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, II., 278–285.

365.  Ibid., I., 111–119; II., 286–288.

366.  See Petrie’s Ten Years’ Digging in Egypt, pp. 138–142; also, Mariette’s Monuments of Upper Egypt, p. 107 f., and Maspero’s Dawn of Civilization, pp. 358–361.

367.  Brugsch’s Egypt under the Pharaohs, I., 67.

368.  See Wilkinson’s Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, I., xiv.

369.  This is on the testimony of Prof. W. Max Müller, who adds that “so far the Egyptologists have not paid any attention to the threshold;” hence there is a lack of material yet available as showing its peculiar sacredness.

370.  Erman’s Life in Anc. Egypt, p. 272.

371.  Lemm’s “Ritual Book,” p. 29 ff., 47; cited in Erman’s Life in Anc. Egypt, p. 274 f.

372.  Erman’s Life in Anc. Egypt, pp. 260, 308 f.; Mariette Bey’s Monuments of Upper Egypt, p. 26.

373.  Wilkinson’s Ancient Egyptians, III., 65–86.

374.  Book of the Dead, CXLII.

375.  Renouf’s Relig. of Anc. Egypt, p. 191 f.

376.  See p. 106, supra.

377.  Book of the Dead, CXLV., CXLVI.

378.  Renouf’s Religion of Ancient Egypt, p. 202 f.

379.  Book of the Dead, CXXV.

380.  Lane’s Thousand and One Nights. Notes to Chapter 3, Vol. I., p. 215 f. See, also, Stanley Lane’s Arabian Society in the Middle Ages, p. 73.

381.  Or, “by steps,”–“gradibus.”

382.  Cranch’s Æneid of Virgil, I., 572–585; Æneis, I., 441–449.

383.  Bruce’s Travels (Dublin ed.), III., 644, Bk. IV., chap. 12.

384.  Bent’s Sacred City of the Ethiopians, p. 40 f.

385.  See Wood’s Wedding Day in all Ages and Countries, II., 17.

386.  See, for example, Iliad, I., 426; XIV., 173; XXI., 427, 505; Odyssey, VIII., 321.

387.  Professor W.A. Lamberton, in a personal note to the author.

388.  Odyssey, XIII., 4; VII., 83, 87, 89.

389.  Iliad, VIII., 15.

390.  See Hesiod’s Theogony, V., 749.

391.  Iliad, IX., 404.

392.  Odyssey, VIII., 80.

393.  Oedipus at Colonus, 54 ff. See, also, 1591. Comp. Hesiod’s Theogony, 811.

394.  Prof. W.A. Lamberton.

395.  Æschylus’s “Suppliants,” p. 497; cited in Smith’s Dict. of Greek and Roman Antiq., s. v. “Ara.” See, also, Donaldson’s Architectura Numismatica, pp. xvi, xvii, 33, 54.

396.  Euripides, Androm., 1098. Smith’s Dict. of Greek and Rom. Antiq., s. v. “Antæ.”

397.  Acts 14 : 8–14.

398.  Odyssey, VII., 130.

399.  Euripides, Hippolytus, 741.

400.  Pausanias, Bk. X., 24, 5.

401.  Bingham’s Antiquities of the Christian Church, Bk. VIII., chap. 3.

402.  Ibid., Bk. VIII., chap. 4.

403.  Ibid., Bk. VIII., chap. 7.

404.  Blunt’s Annotated Book of Common Prayer, p. 210.

405.  Ibid., p. 217.

406.  See Wood’s Wedding Day in all Ages and Countries, II., 15 f.

407.  Baring-Gould’s Germany, Present and Past (Am. ed.), p. 105.

408.  Wood’s Wedding Day in all Ages and Countries, II., 14 f.

409.  Vaux’s Church Folk-Lore, p. 99.

410.  Wood’s Wedding Day in all Ages and Countries, II., 16.

411.  Vaux’s Church Folk-Lore, p. 98.

412.  Wood’s Wedding Day in all Ages and Countries, II., 17.

413.  Wood’s Wedding Day in all Ages and Countries, II., 254.

414.  Wood’s Wedding Day in all Ages and Countries, II., 255.

415.  See Henderson’s Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties of England and the Borders, p. 38.

416.  Curtin’s Myths and Folk-Lore of Ireland, p. 177.

417.  See Jones’s and Kropf’s Folk-Tales of the Magyars, p. 410.

418.  On the eye-witness testimony of Prof. Dr. Morris Jastrow, Jr.

419.  Réville’s Nat. Relig. of Mex. and Peru, pp. 41, 179 f., 207; also Bancroft’s Mex., I., 296.

420.  Réville’s Nat. Relig. of Mex. and Peru, p. 183; Bancroft’s Mex., I., 162.

421.  Réville’s Nat. Relig. of Mex. and Peru, pp. 31, 184, 207 f.

422.  Ibid., p. 83.

423.  Bancroft’s Native Races, “Civilized Nations,” II., 706 f.

424.  See Bancroft’s Native Races and Antiquities, IV., 209 f., 314, 321, 323, 332, 338, 351, 531, 801, 803, 805. See also, Stephens’s Incidents of Travels in Yucatan, I., 137, 167–176, 303, 306, 403–407, 411–413; II., 42, 54, 56, 72, 122.

425.  Chateaubraud’s Voyage en Amérique, pp. 130–136; cited in Frazer’s Golden Bough, II., 383.

426.  Ellis’s Polynesian Researches, II., 206.

427.  Ibid., II., 211 f.

428.  Ibid., II., 207, illustration.

429.  Ibid., II., 212 f.

430.  Ellis’s Hist. of Madagascar, I., 176–187.

431.  Ellis’s Through Hawaii, p. 73 f.

432.  Ibid., p. 75.

433.  Ellis’s Through Hawaii, p. 81 f.

434.  Ibid., p. 135 f.; also, Isabella Bird’s Six Months in the Sandwich Islands, p. 196.

435.  Ellis’s Through Hawaii, p. 153 f. See, also, Isabella Bird’s Six Months in the Sandwich Islands, p. 135 f.

436.  Num. 35 : 6–32; Deut. 4 : 41–43; 19 : 1–13; Josh. 20 : 1–9.

437.  Comp. Gill’s Myths and Songs from the South Pacific, pp. 3, 4, 7, 14, 18, 20, 26, 152, 155, 158, 160, 170; also Turner’s Samoa, p. 259.

438.  See pp. 21–23, 45 f., 55, supra.

439.  Gen. 11 : 28; Neh. 9 : 7.

440.  Rawlinson’s Inscript. of W. Asia, Vol. I., pl. 69, Col. II., l. 29 ff.

441.  See Hilprecht’s Assyriaca, pp. 54, 55, 97.

442.  Inscription in the temple of Rameses III. at Karnak.

443.  Erman’s Life in Ancient Egypt, p. 279.

444.  See “Grihya-Sutras,” in Sacred Books of the East, XXX., 193–201; also De Coulange’s Ancient City, pp. 36, 47 f.

445.  See Julien’s Mémoires de Hionen-Thsang, I., 459–466; Cunningham’s Archæological Survey of India, I., 1–12; Sir Monier Monier-Williams’s Buddhism, pp. 390–401.

446.  Cunningham’s Archæological Survey of India, II., 212, 213.

447.  Ibid., II., 353 f.

448.  Ibid.

449.  “The Shih King,” Bk. 7, § 3, in Sacred Books of the East, III., 111.

450.  Williams’s Middle Kingdom, I., 90 f.

451.  Harrison and Verrall’s Myth. and Monu. of Anc. Athens, pp. 353–361.

452.  Henderson’s Iceland, II., 64–67; also ibid., I., xiv.

453.  Gen. 28 : 10–22.

454.  Ibid., 13 : 1–3.

455.  Ibid., 12 : 1–8.

456.  Exod. 3 : 1–12.

457.  Brugsch’s Egypt under the Pharaohs, I., 411.

458.  2 Sam. 6 : 1–19.

459.  Ibid., 24 : 15–25.

460.  Gen. 22 : 1–13.

461.  As evidenced in the traditional claim that the grave of Adam was under the cross.

462.  2 Kings 5 : 17.

463.  Isa. 28 : 16; 1 Pet. 2 : 6.

464.  Isa. 58 : 12.

465.  1 Cor. 3 : 10, 11.

466.  1 Pet. 2 : 5.

467.   Eph. 2 : 20, 21.

468.  Sura 3 : 90.

469.  See Sale’s Koran, “Preliminary Discourse,” Sect. IV.; Burton’s Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah, III., 149–222; Hughes’s Dictionary of Islam, s. vv. “Abraham,” “Adam,” “Arafāt,” “Hagar,” “Ishmael,” “Kaʿbah,” “Masjidu ʾl-Harām,” “Zamzam;” Sprenger’s Life of Mohammad, pp. 46–62; Muir’s Mahomet and Islam, pp. 12–17, 215–219.

470.  Burton’s Pilgrimage, III., 260.

471.  See, for example, Rawlinson’s Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia, III., 41, 43; IV., 41; Hilprecht’s Freibrief Nebukadnezar’s, I., col. II., 26–60; Beitraege zur Assyriologie, II., 165–203, 258 ff.

472.  An unknown product of the field.

473.  From the Michaux Stone, columns II.-IV. in Rawlinson’s Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia, I., pl. 70; translated for this work by Prof. Dr. H.V. Hilprecht. See illustrations in Maspero’s Dawn of Civilization, pp. 762, 763. See Sayce’s Religion of the Ancient Babylonians, p. 308.

474.  Bühler’s “Laws of Manu,” in Sacred Books of the East, XXV., 298, 301.

475.  Deut. 19 : 14.

476.  Prov. 22 : 28; 23 : 10.

477.  Job 24 : 2.

478.  Deut. 27 : 17.

479.  Gen. 21 : 22–33.

480.  Gen. 31 : 43–53.

481.  See Smith’s Classical Dictionary, and Keightley’s Class. Dict., s. vv. “Hermes,” “Jupiter,” “Mercury,” “Silvanus,” “Terminus,” “Zeus.” Comp. Stengel’s Die griechischen Sacralalterthüm. in Iwan v. Müller’s Handbuch der Klassischen Alterthumswissenschaft, V., part 3, p. 13; K.F. Hermann’s Lehrbuch der gottesdienstlichen Alterthümer der Griechen, pp. 73, 108, note 2.

482.  “This god was represented by a stone or a stump, and not with human features.” This would seem to have been a rude phallic form.

483.  Ovid’s Fasti, Bk. II., vs. 641 ff.

484.  Smith’s Classical Dictionary, s. vv. “Numa,” “Terminus.”

485.  Smith’s Dict. of Greek and Rom. Antiq., s. v. “Terminalia.”

486.  Stanley’s Congo, I., 315–317.

487.  Turner’s Samoa, p. 45 f.

488.  See “Beating the Bounds,” in Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal for July 23, 1853, pp. 49–52; also American Architect, Vol. X., No. 293, p. 64 f.

489.  Wallace’s Russia, p. 366 f.

490.  Cited in Thompson’s Elements of Political Economy, p. 110.

491.  Schrader’s Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek, I., 63, 69, 87, 99, 109, 131, 133, 135, 141, 143, 147, 155, 159, 161, 165, 167, 169, 181; II., 19, 35, 54, 89.

492.  See pp. 105–108, supra.

493.  See, for example, Schrader’s Keilinshriftliche Bibliothek, I., 69.

494.  Rawlinson’s Inscriptions of Western Asia, I., 17–26, col. 1, lines 63–69.

495.  Brugsch’s Egypt under the Pharaohs, I., 8 f.; Villiers Stuart’s Nile Gleanings, Pl. xlv., p. 276.

496.  Brugsch’s Egypt under the Pharaohs, I., 182 f.

497.  Brugsch’s Egypt under the Pharaohs, II., 81 f.

498.  Ibid., II., 78 f.

499.  Trumbull’s Kadesh-barnea, p. 341, note.

500.  Plutarch’s Lives, Theseus, 25.

501.  Psa. 24 : 2.

502.  Justinian, Inst., Lib. I., 12, 5.

503.  Ibid.

504.  Stanley’s Congo, I., 1–11.

505.  See Penn. Mag. of Hist. and Biog., VI., 412–434.

506.  Carlyle’s History of Frederick, II., I., 71–74.

507.  Rawlinson’s Inscriptions of Western Asia, I., 17–26, Col. III., ll. 84–89.

508.  Brugsch’s Egypt under the Pharaohs, I., 81.

509.  Brugsch’s Egypt under the Pharaohs, II., 82.

510.  “The Shih King,” in Sacred Books of the East, III., 343, 392, 399, note, 420, 422 note.

511.  Lacouperie’s Western Origin of the Early Chinese Civilization, pp. 79. 81.

512.  See p. 7 f., ante.

513.  Heb. 10 : 20.

514.  I have this on the testimony of those who have often witnessed it.

515.  See Gen. 15 : 1–21.

516.  On this point I am assured by missionaries and other dwellers in Persia.

517.  Morier’s Journey to Constantinople, p. 75.

518.  Ibid., p. 84 f. See, also, Morier’s Second Journey through Persia, p. 93 f.

Again, when the Shah of Persia was to enter Teheran, he was received outside of the walls, by prominent officials, with much ceremony. As he approached

519.  Morier’s Second Journey through Persia, p. 387 f.

520.  Layard’s Nineveh and Babylon (Am. ed.), p. 35 f.

521.  Ibid., p. 37.

522.  My informant, an eye-witness of this incident, was not sure whether it was a Prussian, an Austrian, or a Russian prince.

523.  Burckhardt’s Travels in Nubia, p. 157.

524.  The recognition of this truth is a reason for the infibulation of female children among primitive peoples. (See, for example, Captain J.S. King’s “Notes on the Folk-Lore, and some Social Customs of the Western Somali Tribes,” in the London Folk-Lore Journal, VI., 124; also Dr. Remondino’s History of Circumcision, p. 51.)

525.  See Appendix.

526.  See “Satapatha Brâhmana,” 1. Kânda, 2 Adhyâya, 5 Brâhmana, 14–16, in Sacred Books of the East, XII., 62 f.; also “Satapatha Brâhmana,” III., 5, 1, 11, in Sac. Bks. of East, XXVI., 113.

527.  “Satapatha Brâhmana,” I., 3, 1, 18; I., 9, 2, 5–11, 21–24; II., 1, 1, 4, in Sac. Bks. of East, XII., 74, 257, 262, 277; also “Satapatha Brâhmana,” III., 3, 1, 11; III., 8, 4, 7–18, in Sac. Bks. of East, XXVI., 61, 211–214.

528.  See Rig-Veda, II., 36, 4; X., 18, 7. Comp. “Satapatha Brâhmana,” I., 7, 2, 14, in Sac. Bks. of East, XII., 194; also “Satapatha Brâhmana,” IV., 1, 2, 9; IV., 1, 3, 19, with note, in Sac. Bks. of East, XXVI., 260, 269. See, also, Hopkins’s Religions of India, p. 490, and note.

529.  Compare Sir Monier Monier-Williams’s Brahmanism and Hinduism, pp. 33, 54 f., 223 f., and Wilkins’s Hindu Mythology, p. 233 f.

530.  Sir Monier Monier-Williams’s Buddhism, pp. 371–373. This writer, speaking of the prominence in India of the symbolism of the linga and yoni combined, ascribes it to the theory of the two essences, “Spirit regarded as a male principle, and Matter, or the germ of the external world, regarded as a female.” He says: “Without the union of the two no creation takes place. To any one imbued with these dualistic conceptions the linga and the yoni are suggestive of no improper ideas. They are either types of the two mysterious creative forces ... or symbols of one divine power delegating procreative energy to male and female organisms. They are mystical representatives, and perhaps the best impersonal representatives, of the abstract expressions ‘paternity’ and ‘maternity,’” [and their conjunction in marital union]. (Brahmanism and Hinduism, p. 224 f.)

531.  This legend is found in Pirqe de R. Eliezer, Chap. XXX. The Hebrew words saph and miphtan are here employed for “threshold.” It is also given in Maçoudi’s Les Prairies d’Or, chap. 39, p. 94. Here the Arabic is ʿatabah, for “threshold.” See, also, Sprenger’s Life of Mohammad, p. 53 f.

532.  See Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon, s. v. “ʿAtabah.” and Dozy’s Supplément aux Dictionnaires Arabes, s. v. “ʿAtabah.”

533.  Buxtorf’s Lex. Chald. Tal. et Rabb., s. v. “Pethakh.” See, also, the Talmudic treatise Niddâ, “Mishna,” § 2, 5.

534.  See, for example, illustration in Maspero’s Dawn of Civil., p. 657; also Sayce’s Relig. of Anc. Babyl., p. 285.

535.  Wilkinson’s Ancient Egyptians, III., 3, 8, 14, 18, 21, 22, 31, 36, 37, 40, 41, 45, 46, 60, 63, 66, 87, 100, 107, 109, 115, 118, 122, 129, 133, 135, 137, 146, 156, 158, 163, 170, 172, 175, 177, 179, 180, etc.

536.  See Perrot and Chipiez’s Hist. of Art in Phœnicia and Cyprus, I., 80, 320. See, also, Layard’s Nineveh and its Remains, II., 168–170 (Am. ed.); and an article by Hommel, in “Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archæology” for January, 1893.

537.  Hearn’s Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, II., 397, note; Lowell’s Occult Japan, pp. 270–273.

538.  See Bancroft’s Native Races and Antiq., III., 504–506.

539.  Voyages of Capt. James Cook, “First Voyage” at May 14, 1769. Also Voltaire’s Les Oreilles du Comte de Chesterfield, Ch. VI. See Appendix.

540.  See Cook’s Voyage to Pacific Ocean, volume of plates; also Ellis’s Poly. Res., II., 217.

541.  See Exod. 12 : 1–20.

542.  Exod. 12 : 11.

543.  Exod. 12 : 21, 27.

544.  Exod. 12 : 22.

545.  Exod. 2 : 23–25; 3 : 7–10; 5 : 1, 2; 6 : 1–7; 10 : 21–29.

546.  Exod. 11 : 4–7.

547.  Exod. 12 : 23.

548.  Compare Josh. 2 : 1–21; 6 : 16–25.

549.  See, for example, Judg. 19 : 27; 1 Kings 14 : 17; 2 Kings 12 : 9, 13; 22 : 4; 23 : 4; 25 : 18; 1 Chron. 9 : 19, 22; 2 Chron. 3 : 7; 23 : 4; 34 : 9; Esther 2 : 21; 6 : 2; Isa. 6 : 4; Jer. 35 : 4; 52 : 19, 24; Ezek. 40 : 6, 7; 41 : 16; 43 : 8; Amos 9 : 1; Zeph. 2 : 14; Zech. 12 : 2.

550.  See, for example, Jer. 52 : 19.

551.  See pp. 109–111, supra.

552.  See Septuagint, in loco.

553.  See Vulgate, in loco.

554.  Philo’s Opera, Mangey, 2 : 292.

555.  Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon, s. v.

556.  Cited in Levy’s Neuheb. Wörterb., s. v. “Saph.”

557.  This on the authority of Prof. Dr. H.V. Hilprecht.

558.  Among primitive peoples it was a common thought that the first fruits of life in any sphere belonged of right to God, or the gods. This was true of the fields, of the flocks and herds, and of the family. (See, for example, Frazer’s Golden Bough, II., 68–78, 373–384; also W. Robertson Smith’s Religion of the Semites, pp. 443–446.) As in Egypt particular gods were supposed to have power over men and beasts in special localities, the first-born belonged to them, and stood as representing their power and protection; yet Jehovah claimed to be Lord over all. And now, at the close of the contest between God and the gods, Jehovah took to himself out of the homes of his enemies the devoted first-born of man and of beast, in evidence of the truth that the gods of Egypt could not protect them.

559.  1 Kings 4 : 24, “Tiphsah.”

560.  See Gesenius’s Hebr. und Aram. Handwörterbuch (12th ed.), s. v. “Tiphsakh.”

561.  Exod. 21 : 2–6.

562.  Talmud Babyl., Qiddusheen, fol. 22, b.

563.  Gen. 15 : 1–21. See pp. 186–188, supra.

564.  Gen. 19 : 1–25.

565.  Compare Josh. 2 : 1–20; 5 : 10–12; 6 : 12–17.

566.  Judg. 7 : 1–25.

567.  2 Kings 19 : 20–36; 2 Chron. 32 : 1–22.

568.  Esther 9 : 12–19.

569.  Dan. 5 : 1–30.

570.  Edersheim’s Temple: Its Ministry and Services, p. 196 f.

571.  Edersheim’s The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, p. 197; Home and Synagogue of Modern Jew, pp. 159–161; Ginsburg’s art. “Passover,” in Kitto’s Cycl. of Bib. Lit.

572.  On the testimony of Rev. Dr. Marcus Jastrow.

573.  Exod. 12 : 1, 2; Lev. 23 : 5; 9 : 1, 2.

574.  See, for example, Exod. 34 : 12–16; Lev. 17 : 7; 20 : 5–8; Num. 15 : 39, 40; Deut. 31 : 16; Judg. 2 : 17; 8 : 27, 33; 2 Kings 9 : 22, 23; 1 Chron. 5 : 25; 2 Chron. 21 : 11; Psa. 73 : 27; 106 : 38, 39; Isa. 57 : 3; Jer. 3 : 1–15, 20; 13 : 27; Ezek. 6 : 9; 16 : 1–63; 20 : 30; 23 : 1–49; Hos. 1 : 2; 2 : 2; 3 : 1; 4 : 12–19; 5 : 3, 4; 6 : 6, 7, 10.

575.  Jer. 31 : 31, 32; also Heb. 8 : 8, 9.

576.  Ezek. 16 : 8.

577.  Exod. 12 : 22.

578.  W. Robertson Smith’s Religion of the Semites, pp. 169–176, and Stade’s Geschichte, p. 460.

579.  Compare Exod. 34 : 12–16; Deut. 7 : 5; 12 : 3; Judg. 3 : 7; 2 Kings 23 : 4; 2 Chron. 33 : 3, etc.

580.  Matt. 26 : 1–5; John 13 : 1.

581.  Matt. 16 : 21; 26 : 17, 18; John 2 : 13; 7 : 1–9.

582.  Matt. 26 : 17–30; Mark 14 : 12–28; Luke 22 : 7–20.

583.  1 Cor. 5 : 7, 8.

584.  See pp. 3–5, supra.

585.  John 3 : 16.

586.  Eph. 3 : 14, 15.

587.  Heb. 10 : 28, 29.

588.  John 3 : 28–30.

589.  Matt. 9 : 14, 15; Mark 2 : 19, 20; Luke 5 : 34, 35.

590.  1 Cor. 11 : 3.

591.  Eph. 5 : 23–33.

592.  Rev. 19 : 6–9.

593.  Rev. 21 : 1, 2–9, 12, 22–27.

594.  Ibid., 22 : 17, 20.

595.  J.G. Frazer in Folk-Lore Journal, I., 275.

596.  See Maundrell’s Journey, pp. 127–131; Hasselquist’s Voyages and Travels, pp. 136–138; Thomson’s Land and Book, II., 556 f.; Stanley’s Sinai and Palestine, pp. 464–469.

597.  See pp. 22 f., 39–44, supra.

598.  See Smith and Cheetham’s Dict. of Christian Antiq., art. “Nun.”

599.  See “Blood Covenant,” pp. 310–313.

600.  See pp. 22 f., 39-44, 99-164, supra.

601.  2 Cor. 2 : 16.

602.  See, for example, Herodotus’s History, Bk. I., chaps. 181, 182. See pp. 111 f., supra.

603.  Herodotus’s History, Bk. I., chap. 199.

604.  See Deut. 25 : 1–9. See, also, chapter on “Sacred Prostitution” in Wake’s Serpent Worship; and Professor W.M. Ramsay’s “Holy City of Phrygia,” in Contemporary Review for October, 1893.

605.  See, for example, Squier’s Serpent Symbol; Forling’s Rivers of Life; Westropp’s and Wake’s Ancient Symbol Worship; Knight’s Worship of Priapus; Jennings’s Phallicism; Frazer’s Golden Bough; Monier-Williams’s Brahmanism and Hinduism, and his Buddhism; Griffis’s Religions of Japan, etc.

606.  See, for example, in addition to the books just cited, Fergusson’s Tree and Serpent Worship; Ohnefalach-Richter’s Kypros, die Bibel und Homer; Hopkins’s Religions of India, pp. 527 f., 533, 540, 542.

607.  See Dr. E.B. Tyler’s article on “The Winged Figures of the Assyrian and other Ancient Monuments,” in Proceedings of the Soc. of Bib. Arch., XII., Part 8, pp. 383–393; Dr. Bonavia’s articles on “Sacred Trees,” in Babylonian and Oriental Record, III., Nos. 1–4; IV., Nos. 4, 5; and De Lacouperie’s articles on Trees, ibid., IV., Nos. 5, 10, 11.

608.  See, for example, Ohnefalach-Richter’s Kypros, Tafel-Band, pl. lxxxii., figures 7, 8; Donaldson’s Architectural Medals of Classic Antiquity, pp. 105–109; Von Löher and Joyner’s Cyprus: Historical and Descriptive, p. 153 f., Perrot and Chipiez’s History of Art in Phœnicia and Cyprus, I., 123, 276 f., 281, 284, 331 f.; W. Robertson Smith’s Religion of the Semites, p. 191.

609.  Compare W. Robertson’s Smith’s Religion of the Semites, p. 437 f.

610.  Exod. 34 : 12–15; Deut. 7 : 5.

611.  Deut. 16 : 21, 22.

612.  There seems, indeed, to be a connection between the Hebrew words, miphtan, “threshold,” and pethen, “asp,” “adder,” or “serpent,” as first pointed out to me by Mr. Montague Cockle. Although the verbal root is not preserved in the Hebrew, there is no valid reason for doubting that they go back to the same root. In Arabic, the verb is preserved as pathana, “to tempt.” Its derivatives indicate the same meaning. This would seem to confirm the connection of the primitive threshold, the serpent, and temptation. In Leland’s Etruscan Roman Remains (p. 131 f.) are citations from several ancient works, and references to current Italian traditions, showing the supposed connection of the serpent with the threshold, the phallus, and married life, that are in obvious confirmation of the views here expressed.

613.  See p. 109 f., supra; also, Schrader’s Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek, Vol. III., Pt. 2, p. 72 f.

614.  See, for example, Rawlinson’s Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia, III., p. 45.

615.  See Erman’s Life in Anc. Egypt, p. 60.

616.  Ibid., p. 259, vignette illustration.

617.  See Wilkinson’s Anc. Egypt., III., 235, pl. lv., fig. 2. Prisse’s Mon. Egypt, pl. xxxvii.; also Layard’s Nineveh and its Remains, p. 169 (Am. ed.), and W. Max Müller’s Asien und Europa, p. 314.

618.  See Perrot and Chipiez’s History of Art in Chaldea and Assyria, I., 349 f. See, also, Layard’s Monuments, Series ii., pl. 5, for representation of the conflict between Marduk and Tiamat. The serpent is there shown on the feminine Tiamat where it appears on the masculine Nergal.

619.  See Maspero’s Dawn of Civilization, pp. 690–696; Sayce’s Relig. of Anc. Babylonia, p. 286.

620.  See Sayce’s Relig. of Anc. Babylonia, pp. 281–283; Wilkinson’s Anc. Egypt., III., 141–155; Fergusson’s Tree and Serpent Worship, pp. 5–72; Squier’s Serpent Symbol, pp. 137–254; Réville’s Native Religions of Mexico and Peru, pp. 29–32, 53, 166.

621.  See Wilkins’s Hindu Mythology, p. 99.

622.  See Wilkins’s Hindu Mythology, p. 218.

623.  Maurice’s Indian Antiq., V. 182 f.

624.  Ibid., V.

625.  See frontispiece of Sir Monier Monier-Williams’s Buddhism; see, also, Fergusson’s article on “The Amravati Tope” in “Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society,” Vol. III., Pt. 1, pp. 132–166.

626.  See Keightley’s Mythology, art. “Phœbus-Apollo.”

627.  See “Æsculapius,” in Smith’s Classical Dictionary.

628.  See Herodotus’s History, Bk. IX., chap. 81.

629.  See “Gorgones,” in Smith’s Classical Dictionary.

630.  See, for example, Maurice’s Indian Antiquities; Fergusson’s Tree and Serpent Worship; Forlong’s Rivers of Life, I., 93–322; Wake’s Serpent Worship, pp. 81–106.

631.  Gen. 3 : 7, 10–13, 16.

632.  See, for example, Psa. 128 : 3; Prov. 3 : 18; 11 : 30; Ezek. 19 : 10.

633.  See, for example, Gen. 30 : 2; Deut. 7 : 13; 28 : 4, 18, 53; 30 : 9; Psa. 127 : 3; 132 : 11; Song of Songs 4 : 16; Isa. 13 : 18; Micah 6 : 7; Acts 2 : 30.

634.  See, for example, Gen. 4 : 1, 17, 25; 38 : 26; Judg. 11 : 39; 19 : 25; 1 Sam. 1 : 19; 1 Kings 1 : 4; Matt. 1 : 25.

635.  Gen. 3 : 1–13.

636.  See, for example, Philo Judæus’s Works, “On the Creation,” I., 53–60; “On the Allegories of the Sacred Laws,” I., 15–20; “Questions and Solutions,” I., 31–41.

637.  See, for example, Midrasch Bereschit Rabba, pararshah 18, § 6, in comments on Gen. 2 : 25; Weber’s Die Lehren d. Talmud (ed. 1866), pp. 210–213.

638.  See Clement of Alexandria’s Miscellanies, III., 17; also Irenæus’s Against Heresies, I., 30.

639.  Gen. 3 : 14, 15.

640.  Compare Num. 21 : 4–9; 2 Kings 18 : 4; John 3 : 14, 15.

641.  Gen. 3 : 22–24.

642.  Rev. 20 : 1, 2.

643.  Ibid., 21 : 1–27; 22 : 1, 2.

644.  Ibid., 22 : 14, 15.

645.  See p. 196, supra.

646.  Vide Lane’s Mod. Egypt., II, 241; item Skertchley’s Dahomey As It Is, p. 499.

647.  Foedus pangere Hebraice Karath idem sonat ac “caedere.” Vide Gen. 15 : 17–19; 21 : 22–24, etc. Vide etiam Trumbull’s Blood Covenant, pp. 265–267, 322 et seq., Lane’s Arab. Eng. Lex., et Freytag’s Lex. Arab. Latin, s. vv. “Khatan,” “Khatana.”

648.  Vide Fuerst’s Heb. Lex., s. v. “Khatan;” etiam Exod. 4 : 25, 26.

649.  Burckhardt, in suis Proverbiis Arabicis (pp. 139 seqq.), moris huius meminit; Lane autem in suo Modern Egyptians (I, 218) idem perhibet. Verum ego loquar de quaestione e fontibus fide dignis testium integerrimorum. Burckhardt enim asserit “clavim” magis idoneam putari a plebecula in Ægypto Superiori in examine hoc instituendo quam digitum.

650.  Burckhardt meminit differentiae cuiusdam huiusmodi; constat tamen eum morem camisiam sponsae adhibendi nonnisi cognovisse.

651.  Gray’s China, I, 207.

652.  Skertchley’s Dahomey As It Is, p. 499.

653.  Lane’s Modern Egyptians, I, 221, nota.

654.  Ibid.

655.  Burckhardt’s Arabic Proverbs, p. 140.

656.  Facta haec a testibus fide dignis teneo.

657.  Haec testimonio sacerdotis Æthiopici in Liberia nituntur.

658.  Bancroft’s Native Races (“Civilized Nations”), II, 256–261.

659.  Niebuhr’s Beschreibung von Arabien, pp. 35–39.

660.  Vide, exempli causa, Burtonii Alf Laila va Laila, II, 50; III, 289.

661.  Vide, exempli causa, Burtonii Alf Laila va Laila, II, 50, nota.

662.  Ibid., III, 289, nota.

663.  Vide p. 32-dam supra.

664.  P. von Stenin: “Die Ehe bei den Mordwinen,” in Globus, Vol. LXV, No. 11 (1894), p. 183.

665.  Voyages of Capt. James Cook, I, 56.

666.  Turner’s Samoa a Hundred Years Ago, pp. 93–95.

667.  Deut. 22 : 13–21.

668.  See, for example, 197 f., supra.

669.  See also citations from Buxtorf at p. 200, supra.

670.  See pp. 127, 132 f., 207 f., supra.

671.  See p. 207 f., supra.

672.  Handwörterbuch, Mülhan and Volck, 11th ed., s. v.

673.  Woerterbuch u. Alt. Test., s. v.

674.  Judges 16 : 3.

675.  See p. 200, supra.

676.  See p. 197 f., supra.

677.  ’kw’ un [chinese]

678.   [chinese]

679.  See S. Wells Williams’s Syllabic Dictionary of the Chinese Language, pp. 496, 1141.

680.  Le Page Renouf’s Book of the Dead in Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, for November, 1895. Plate xxxi.

681.  See pp. 199, 234, supra.

682.  See Barker’s Lares and Penates; Or, Cilicia and its Governors, p. 217 f.; also see p. 231 f., supra.

683.  Lanciani’s Ancient Rome, p. 286 f.

684.  Ainé’s Herculaneum et Pompéi, Tome VIII, Planche 56, facing p. 221.

685.  Ibid., Pl. 24, 25, 27, 30, 39, 41, 44, 48, 54, 55, 56, 59.

686.  See pp. 230–240, supra.

687.  Cited in Notes and Queries, fifth series, Vol. IV, p. 463.

688.  Matt. 6 : 19; also Matt. 6 : 20.

689.  Luke 12 : 39; also Matt. 24 : 43; Exod. 22 : 2; Ezek. 12 : 2–7.

690.  See The Sunday School Times for March 7, 1896.

691.  The Rev. William Ewing, in The Sunday School Times for March 7, 1896.

692.  John 10 : 1, 10.

693.  Deut. 20 : 10–13.

694.  See pp. 5–7, supra.

695.  Plutarch, Symp., Bk. ii, Quest. 5, § 2.

696.  See Smith’s Dict. of Greek and Roman Antiq., s. vv. “Athletæ,” and “Olympic Games;” Gardner’s New Chapters in Greek History, pp. 297–302.

697.  A primitive wedding ceremony. See pp. 39–42, 142 f., 212, supra.

698.  See, again, pp. 16 f., 46 f., supra.

699.  See Plutarch’s Lives, “Romulus;” also references to Strabo, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, in Hooke’s Roman History, I., 42.

700.  See references at pp. 39, 263, supra.

701.  See Skeat’s Etymological Dictionary and the Century Dictionary, s. v.

702.  See p. 180 f., supra.

703.  See “portage” in The Century Dictionary, with examples of usage.

704.  Driver’s Deuteronomy, p. 323.

705.  Heb. Chald. Lex., s. v.

706.  See p. 187 f., supra.

707.  See, also, 2 Kings 21 : 6; 23 : 10; 2 Chron. 33 : 6; Ezek. 16 : 21; 20 : 26, 31; 23 : 37.

708.  See, also, Jer. 7 : 31; 19 : 5.

709.  See pp. 39–42, 142 f., 212, supra.

710.  See pp. 153–164, supra.

711.  See Dean Stanley’s Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey, first edition, pp. 59–67; also, Appendices, pp. 492–502.

712.  See Dean Stanley’s Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey, first edition, pp. 64–66.

713.  This is the discovery to which Professor Hilprecht refers in his letter, Professor Hommel’s note having been received just before Professor Hilprecht sailed for Constantinople.

714.  See Erman’s Life in Ancient Egypt, p. 468 f.; Maspero’s Dawn of Civilization, pp. 242, note, 391.

715.  See Erman, pp. 467, 503, and Maspero, pp. 484, 490.

716.  See p. 127, supra.

717.  See pp. 23–25, supra.

718.  This was so in parts of New England, fifty years ago. I have seen the main hall or front “entry” of a farmhouse in Connecticut used as a bedroom, with a high-post state bedstead against the front door. In case of a funeral or wedding the bedstead would be removed, in order that the door might be opened.–H.C.T.

719.  See pp. 45–57, supra.

720.  See p. 111 f., supra.

721.  Exod. 20 : 26.

722.  See p. 313, supra.

Transcriber’s Note:

Minor errors or inconsistencies of punctuation or formatting have been corrected silently. There were a number of occasions where quotation marks were not balanced. Where possible the cited source has been consulted. It was not always possible to surmise the scope of quoted material, in which case it is noted below, but unchanged in the text.

In at least one case, on p. 125, the quotation from Ármin Vámbéry’s Travels in Central Asia (see note 361) was incorrectly marked. Quotation marks have been added in order to properly denote those portions which directly follow the source.

In the scriptural index, on p. 303, the entries for 1 Timothy are corrupt, with the chapter appearing at the end of the entry, rather than at the beginning:

: 14 854
: 7 1146

These have been corrected as

4 : 14 85
6 : 7 114

This table summarizes the corrections specifically to the Topical Index, which on occasion has entries which are spelled differently in the text itself, or are otherwise faulty. To facilitate searches, it is assumed that the text is correct, and the entries were changed. The sole exception is the transliteration of the Greek word προναιοι, which is given in the text on p. 154 as pronaoi, but correctly in the index as pronaioi (vestibule). In this case, the text has been corrected.

Entry Correction/Comment
Altar: lèlè, name for accents reversed from the text (“lélé”).
Ashurnâsira[f]i Ashurnâsira[p]li on both referenced pages.
Avai[t]a Avai[k]a
Bay[e]t-el-Walli Bayt-el-Walli
Boundary: references to, may be p. 17 or p. 117. In any case, neither page seems to have a relevant remark.
“Dead, Book of the,” appears twice, the second being out of the alphabetic sequence. That has been removed.
Boodha-drum/ Boodha-hood/Boodha’s foot Booddha-drum/ Booddha-drum/ Booddha’s foot
British envoy welcomed at threshold of Ka[n]zeroon British envoy welcomed at threshold of Ka[u]zeroon
Buk[a]hōla Bukohōla
He[li] Heh
Eu[e]lmash Eulmash
Gapriel Gabriel
Jastrow, Prof. Dr. Morris, Jr.: cited, [97] The first citation appears on p. 79 in n. 418.
Kurigalz[a] II., king of Babylon Kurigalz[u] II., king of Babylon
Kuz[a] bemuchsaz Kuzu Kuz[u] bemuchsaz Kuzu
Maspero, Prof. G.: references to, ... 126, 16[0] Note 473 occurs on p. 169.

This table summarizes any other corrections which were made to the text.

p. 22 hea[r]thstones Added.
p. 32 by the bridegroom’s [friend] Sic.
p. 33 “a little brandy is spilt under the threshold.[”] Sic.
p. 43 and thrusts it into her bosom,[”] Added.
p. 61 Chara[u/n]s Corrected
[“/‘]The herald and his brother Corrected.
p. 79 n. 220 De Hesse-Warteg[g]’s Added.
p. 82 that is, I will covenant with them.[”] Removed.
p. 90 [“]The red hand was Added.
p. 100 as simil[i]arly, in ancient Egypt Removed
p. 104 n. 279 Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l’Asi[a/e] Corrected.
p. 144 n. 417 See Jones’s and K[n/r]opf’s Corrected.
p. 200 n. 531 Supplément aux Dictionn[aries/aires] Corrected.
p. 200 or [“]door,” Added.
p. 222 n. 596 See Maundrel[l]’s Journey Added.
p. 227 conju[n]ction Added.
p. 246 Ægyp[t]o Superiori Added.
p. 255 n. 672 Mülha[n/u] and Volck Corrected.
p. 273 Christ[ai/ia]n captive Transposed.
p. 281 Entrance-way, importance of, [2/3]. Corrected. There is no p. 2.
p. 293 among Sep[h]ardeem Added.
p. 299 Die Lehr[a/e]n d. Talmud Corrected.
p. 314 ‘to pray,[’] Added.
[“]Patriarchal Palestine,” Added.

End of Project Gutenberg's The Threshold Covenant, by H. Clay Trumbull


***** This file should be named 49216-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by KD Weeks, Chris Curnow and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions will
be renamed.

Creating the works from print editions not protected by U.S. copyright
law means that no one owns a United States copyright in these works,
so the Foundation (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United
States without permission and without paying copyright
royalties. Special rules, set forth in the General Terms of Use part
of this license, apply to copying and distributing Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works to protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm
concept and trademark. Project Gutenberg is a registered trademark,
and may not be used if you charge for the eBooks, unless you receive
specific permission. If you do not charge anything for copies of this
eBook, complying with the rules is very easy. You may use this eBook
for nearly any purpose such as creation of derivative works, reports,
performances and research. They may be modified and printed and given
away--you may do practically ANYTHING in the United States with eBooks
not protected by U.S. copyright law. Redistribution is subject to the
trademark license, especially commercial redistribution.



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full
Project Gutenberg-tm License available with this file or online at

Section 1. General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works

1.A. By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement. If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or
destroy all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your
possession. If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a
Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound
by the terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the
person or entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph

1.B. "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark. It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement. There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement. See
paragraph 1.C below. There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this
agreement and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works. See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C. The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the
Foundation" or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection
of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works. Nearly all the individual
works in the collection are in the public domain in the United
States. If an individual work is unprotected by copyright law in the
United States and you are located in the United States, we do not
claim a right to prevent you from copying, distributing, performing,
displaying or creating derivative works based on the work as long as
all references to Project Gutenberg are removed. Of course, we hope
that you will support the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting
free access to electronic works by freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm
works in compliance with the terms of this agreement for keeping the
Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with the work. You can easily
comply with the terms of this agreement by keeping this work in the
same format with its attached full Project Gutenberg-tm License when
you share it without charge with others.

1.D. The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work. Copyright laws in most countries are
in a constant state of change. If you are outside the United States,
check the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this
agreement before downloading, copying, displaying, performing,
distributing or creating derivative works based on this work or any
other Project Gutenberg-tm work. The Foundation makes no
representations concerning the copyright status of any work in any
country outside the United States.

1.E. Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1. The following sentence, with active links to, or other
immediate access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear
prominently whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work
on which the phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed,
performed, viewed, copied or distributed:

  This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and
  most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no
  restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it
  under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this
  eBook or online at If you are not located in the
  United States, you'll have to check the laws of the country where you
  are located before using this ebook.

1.E.2. If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is
derived from texts not protected by U.S. copyright law (does not
contain a notice indicating that it is posted with permission of the
copyright holder), the work can be copied and distributed to anyone in
the United States without paying any fees or charges. If you are
redistributing or providing access to a work with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the work, you must comply
either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 or
obtain permission for the use of the work and the Project Gutenberg-tm
trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.3. If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any
additional terms imposed by the copyright holder. Additional terms
will be linked to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works
posted with the permission of the copyright holder found at the
beginning of this work.

1.E.4. Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5. Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6. You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including
any word processing or hypertext form. However, if you provide access
to or distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format
other than "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official
version posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site
(, you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense
to the user, provide a copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means
of obtaining a copy upon request, of the work in its original "Plain
Vanilla ASCII" or other form. Any alternate format must include the
full Project Gutenberg-tm License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7. Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8. You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
provided that

* You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
  the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
  you already use to calculate your applicable taxes. The fee is owed
  to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he has
  agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the Project
  Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. Royalty payments must be paid
  within 60 days following each date on which you prepare (or are
  legally required to prepare) your periodic tax returns. Royalty
  payments should be clearly marked as such and sent to the Project
  Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the address specified in
  Section 4, "Information about donations to the Project Gutenberg
  Literary Archive Foundation."

* You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
  you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
  does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
  License. You must require such a user to return or destroy all
  copies of the works possessed in a physical medium and discontinue
  all use of and all access to other copies of Project Gutenberg-tm

* You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of
  any money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
  electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days of
  receipt of the work.

* You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
  distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9. If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work or group of works on different terms than
are set forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing
from both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and The
Project Gutenberg Trademark LLC, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm
trademark. Contact the Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1. Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
works not protected by U.S. copyright law in creating the Project
Gutenberg-tm collection. Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may
contain "Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate
or corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other
intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or
other medium, a computer virus, or computer codes that damage or
cannot be read by your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from. If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium
with your written explanation. The person or entity that provided you
with the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in
lieu of a refund. If you received the work electronically, the person
or entity providing it to you may choose to give you a second
opportunity to receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund. If
the second copy is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing
without further opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4. Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS', WITH NO

1.F.5. Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of
damages. If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement
violates the law of the state applicable to this agreement, the
agreement shall be interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or
limitation permitted by the applicable state law. The invalidity or
unenforceability of any provision of this agreement shall not void the
remaining provisions.

1.F.6. INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in
accordance with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the
production, promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works, harmless from all liability, costs and expenses,
including legal fees, that arise directly or indirectly from any of
the following which you do or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this
or any Project Gutenberg-tm work, (b) alteration, modification, or
additions or deletions to any Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any
Defect you cause.

Section 2. Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of
computers including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers. It
exists because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations
from people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come. In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future
generations. To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation and how your efforts and donations can help, see
Sections 3 and 4 and the Foundation information page at Section 3. Information about the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service. The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541. Contributions to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent permitted by
U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is in Fairbanks, Alaska, with the
mailing address: PO Box 750175, Fairbanks, AK 99775, but its
volunteers and employees are scattered throughout numerous
locations. Its business office is located at 809 North 1500 West, Salt
Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887. Email contact links and up to
date contact information can be found at the Foundation's web site and
official page at

For additional contact information:

    Dr. Gregory B. Newby
    Chief Executive and Director

Section 4. Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment. Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States. Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements. We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance. To SEND
DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any particular
state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States. U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses. Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations. To
donate, please visit:

Section 5. General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works.

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the Project
Gutenberg-tm concept of a library of electronic works that could be
freely shared with anyone. For forty years, he produced and
distributed Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of
volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as not protected by copyright in
the U.S. unless a copyright notice is included. Thus, we do not
necessarily keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.