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destruction of such stones and the excommunication of their worshippers ; in the seventh century, Archbishop Theodore, and in the eighth, King Edgar, found it necessary to denounce the worship of stones in England. In most cases the new religion eventually triumphed, but in none without a long struggle. The superstitious man of Theophrastus' time still anointed the stones at the cross-ways. Arnobius tells us that, when he was yet a pagan and came across a sacred stone anointed with oil, he spoke low and prayed to it; in many parts of France, at this day, pierres fites are the objects of superstitious veneration, and are believed to influence the crops; and finally, in Norway certain stones are still anointed, and supposed to bring good luck to the house.
Now, that the practice of anointing these stones has been handed down to the modern peasant from the time when they were altars on which the blood of sacrifice was smeared, will not be doubted. But if that be admitted, then the case for the view, advanced above, that the sacrifices offered to stones by the ex-totemist are also survivals of worship at an altar, is strengthened. The only difference, from this point of view, between the peasant and the savage is that the ancestral totemism of the savage died a natural death, so to speak, while that of the peasant was killed by an invading religion. Both return to their original animism, or rather have never got, in this respect, beyond it; and both retain practices which are manifestly survivals of that “primitive rite of sprinkling or dashing the blood against the altar, or allowing it to flow down on the ground at its base," which, “ whatever else was done in connection with a sacrifice, was hardly ever omitted.”
What else was done in connection with a sacrifice we have now to state.
ANIMAL SACRIFICE: THE SACRIFICIAL MEAL
That, amongst the Semitic and Aryan peoples, the eating of the victim was part of the sacrificial rite, is too well known to need illustration. We shall therefore confine ourselves to quoting the late Professor Robertson Smith's account of the most primitive form of the Semitic ceremony, as practised by certain heathen Arabs (Saracens), and described by Nilus : “ The camel chosen as the victim is bound upon a rude altar of stones piled together, and when the leader of the band has thrice led the worshippers round the altar in a solemn procession accompanied with chants, he inflicts the first wound, while the last words of the hymn are still upon the lips of the congregation, and in all haste drinks of the blood that gushes forth. Forthwith the whole company fall on the victim with their swords, hacking off pieces of the quivering flesh and devouring them raw, with such wild haste that in the short interval between the rise of the day-star, which marked the hour for the service to begin, and the disappearance of its rays before the rising sun, the entire camel, body and bones, skin, blood, and entrails, is wholly devoured.” 1
As for the Aryan peoples, we have nothing so primitive as the Semitic ceremonial described in this extract, but the ancient Prussians retained some ancient features of the original rite in one of their festivals, though with later accretions. The community met together in a barn, and a ram was brought in. The high priest laid his hands upon this victim, and invoked all the gods in order, mentioning each by name. Then all who were present lifted up the victim and held it aloft whilst a hymn was sung. When the hymn was finished, the ram was laid upon the ground, and the priest addressed the people, exhorting them to celebrate solemnly this feast transmitted to them from their forefathers, and to hand on in their turn the tradition of it to their children. The animal was then slain, its blood was caught in a bowl, and the priest sprinkled with it those present. The flesh was given to the women to cook in the barn. The feast lasted all night, and the remnants were buried early in the morning outside the village, in order that birds or beasts might not get them.1
1 Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites, 338. In this chapter, again, I follow his line of argument to the best of my ability, and add one or two illustrations from the rites of non-Semitic peoples.
The more revolting details of the Semitic rite, “the scramble described by Nilus, the wild rush to cut gobbets of flesh from the still quivering victim," ? are not of the essence of the ceremony, but incidental, and due merely to the uncivilised condition of the worshippers. As such they give way among the later Arabs to a more orderly partition of the sacrificial flesh amongst those present. It was, however, necessary to mention them here for two reasons : first, they show, by their very want of civilisation, that the Arabians retained the primitive form of the rite; and next, they find their parallel not merely amongst other uncivilised peoples, but also in the strange reversions practised in the “mysteries” of the ancient world. These will be discussed in a later chapter, and so all we need say of them here is that different local sanctuaries differed in the degree of tenacity with which they adhered to primitive “uses”: some gave them up soon, others retained them long and late. We may conjecture, therefore, that when a reversion to a lower or more barbarous ritual suddenly spreads in a civilised community, it is one of these more conservative and out-of-the-way sanctuaries which is the centre of diffusion.
Turning, however, from these barbarous and accidental adjuncts to the more important features of the rite, we may notice how the sacrificial meal differs from ordinary eating. In the first place, the victim must be consumed there and then, aút60, on the spot where the sacrifice takes place, “there before the Lord," in the sanctuary wherein the altar 1 Bastian, Der Mensch, iii. 154.
2 Religion of the Semites, 341.
is erected. The Rev. G. Turner noted this feature in the Polynesian ritual. At the annual feast in May, he says, “ the food brought as an offering was divided and eaten, 'there before the Lord,'” 1 and, at their annual festival, “ they feasted with and before their god.” 2 Far away from Polynesia, the Tehuelche Patagonians celebrate births, marriages, and deaths by the sacrifice of mares, and the animals are eaten on the spot. In a similar clime, but at the opposite end of the earth’s pole, the same rule is observed ; amongst the Jakuts, when a sacrifice is offered for a sick man's recovery, “ tongue, heart, and liver are cooked and placed on a specially prepared one-legged table, the top of which has a round hole in the centre. The rest of the meat is consumed by the Jakuts." 4 The Mongols regard it as sacrilege to leave any of the sacred victim unconsumed ;5 and in certain feasts of the Red Indians the meat must be wholly consumed. Returning to the Old World, we find that in Arcadia, the home of lingering cults, the sacrifice to Apollo Parrhasios must be consumed in the sanctuary: ávario kovoi ajtódl Toll iepelov tà kpéa.? Even more interesting is the case of the Meilichioi. The festival at which the Athenians made sacrifice to Zeus Meilichios, the Diasia, was one of the most ancient of their institutions; but though they adhered closely to the ancient and primitive use, the Locrians of Myonia were still more faithful to the ritual which they had received from the common ancestors of Locrians and Athenians alike, for, like the Saracens and the Prussians, they offered the sacrifice by night, and consumed the victim before the rising of the sun: νυκτεριναι δε αι θυσίαι θεούς τους Μειλιχίοις εισί και αναλώσαι τα κρέα αυτόθι πριν ή ήλιον επισχεϊν νομίζουσι.8 It is therefore interesting to note the recurrence of this feature in another branch of the Aryan race, the Hindoos. According to the Grihya Sútra,“the time” for the Súlagava sacrifice "was after midnight, but some authorities preferred the dawn.” 9
In the next place, it was of the essence of the rite that * Turner, Polynesia, 241.
2 Turner, Samoa, 26. 3 Journal of the Anthropological Institute, i. 200. • Bastian, Allerlei, i. 208.
5 Bastian, Der Mensch, iii. 151. 6 Müller, Geschichte der Amerikanischen Urreligionen, 86. 7 Pausanias, viii. 38.
8 Ibid. x. 8. 9 Rajendralála Mitra, Indo-Aryans, i. 364.
all, without exception, who were present should partake of the victim; and as the rite originally was a blood-covenant, or the renewal thereof between the totem clan and its supernatural ally, the primitive usage required the presence of every clansman. But even in later times, when private sacrifice had come to be common, custom required that the whole of the household, or whatever the society making the sacrifice was, should partake of the victim. In some cases it is the individual members of the community who, like the Saracens, are eager to obtain their share of the sacred flesh; while elsewhere it is the community as a whole which is impressed with the necessity of compelling its members to partake. In the West Indies, the former was the case. The priest, says Hakluyt, “cutteth him (the victim) into smal peeces, and being cutte diuideth him in this manner to be eaten ... and whosoeuer should haue no parte nor portion of the sacrificed enemie woulde thinke he shoulde bee ill accepted that yeere."1 In Peru, also, the same alacrity was shown. “The bodies of the sheep were divided and distributed as very sacred things, a very small piece to each person.”2 The Red Indians represent probably a stage through which the ancestors of the Incas passed, and with them the whole community partook of the victim. In Hawaii, there may not have been less alacrity, but there was more compulsion. On the eighth day of the temple feast, the whole of the sacred offering (a pig) had to be eaten; any man who refused to eat would be put to death, and if the whole offering were not consumed, a terrible visitation would descend upon all the inhabitants. Amongst the Kaffirs, when an ox is offered to the Amachlosi, “the flesh is distributed and eaten.” 5 As regards societies smaller or other than that of the clan or village community; at the Yagna sacrifice to the sun, each of the company of Brahmins ate a piece of the liver of the sacrificial ram, and thereby entered into communion with the deity.
As the development of religion in China has many
1 Hakluyt, Historie of the West Indies, Decade vi. ch. vi. ? Markham, Rites and Laws of the Yncas, 28. 3 Müller, Amerik. Urreligionen, 86. * Bastian, Der Mensch, iii. 152. 5 Hartmann, Die Völker Afrikas, 224.