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would invalidate the whole. In a word, the proceedings, from the time of entering to the moment of leaving the sacred place, tended to present themselves to the worshipper's mind as one single act of worship. That the various constituent parts of that act had had different origins, was a fact which would inevitably tend to be obscured and eventually forgotten. That the various rites composing the one act of worship had been originally addressed to different spirits, would pari passu also tend to be forgotten; indeed, if the spirits were nameless, it would be difficult for several generations of worshippers to hold them clearly apart in their minds. What would be present to the consciousness of any given worshipper would be, that on certain occasions, e.g. when danger of any kind threatened, it was the customary thing to resort to the sacred place of the clan, and there to perform certain external acts, and that, if those acts were performed in the proper way, the danger would be averted by the supernatural power or powers friendly to the clan and haunting the grove. Whether one or more spirits were concerned in granting the prayers of the community might be matter for speculation; the unity of the act of worship, however, would be a presumption in favour of the unity of the power worshipped. Thus in Aricia there was a sacred grove or forest, the forest of the inhabitants, Nemus, which was thus resorted to; and the numen of the spot was known simply as “the forester," Nemorensis. Eventually, “the forester” was identified with a goddess having a more individual name and a higher degree of personality—Diana. On the analogy, therefore, of Diana Nemorensis, we may conjecture that deities with double names, Phæbus Apollo, Pallas Athene, and so on, were originally distinct deities whose cults have been combined by syncretism.
But it is not here alleged that even spirits whose abodes were so closely associated together as were those of treespirits and river-spirits necessarily or generally blended together, or were absorbed by a god with a more developed personality. Each of the gods might have such a marked personality that fusion was impossible. The Dryads, the Nereids, the Naids, the nymphs of trees and streams, continued to exist side by side with the greater gods of Greece. In a word, where syncretism did not take place, polytheism arose. And it is with polytheism that we have now to deal. The development of polytheism is in the main the outcome of early political progress, as was indicated at the beginning of this chapter; the political union of two or more communities involved religious union also. Thus, the southern tribes of the Gold Coast, Fantis, form one confederation; the northern tribes, Ashantis, a rival and more powerful confederation. Each has its own federal god—Bobowissi the god of the southern, Tando the god of the northern federation; and whenever a tribe revolts from the Ashantis it renounces the Ashanti god Tando, and is admitted to the southern federation by joining in the worship of Bobowissi.?
But though the development of polytheism is in the main the outcome of political causes and of the synoikismos by which a State and a nation are made, still a tendency to polytheism manifests itself in even earlier times. The skygod, whose favour is essential to the herbage which supports the herdsman's cattle, as well as to the farmer's crops, may be worshipped concurrently with the totem plant or animal, and retain his independence, as the Dyaus, Zeus, Jupiter, of the Aryans, did. Again, as the worship of two spirits at one festival sometimes results in a combination of the two cults and in the syncretism of the two deities, so, conversely, the worship of one deity at two different festivals sometimes ends in the production of two deities : at the spring or Easter festival of the agricultural calendar, the rites appropriate to the green corn or maize are celebrated, and later in the year the worship of the ripe ear takes place, with the result that the Corn-Maiden, or Kern Baby, is differentiated from the Old Woman or Corn-Mother-Korê from Demeter, Xilonen from Chicomecoatl.
In this connection we may note that amongst savages there are sex-totems, and amongst civilised peoples what we may call sex-mysteries : sex-totems are animals which are exclusively sacred to the women of the tribe, or exclusively to the men; sex-mysteries are those from participation in which one or other sex is excluded. Now, the mysteries · Ellis, Tshi-speaking Peoples, 33.
2 Frazer, Totemism, 51-3.
which are celebrated exclusively by women, and from which men are excluded, are generally connected with agriculture and agricultural deities, e.g. the Thesmophoria, the rites of the Bona Dea, and sundry Hindu ceremonies. Further, it is a well-known fact that amongst savages agriculture is left to the women: amongst the Niam-Niam “the men most studiously devote themselves to their hunting, and leave the culture of the soil to be carried on exclusively by the women;"2 amongst the Kafirs “the women are the real labourers, the entire business of digging, planting, and weeding devolves on them ;”3 “whilst the Monbuttoo women attend to the tillage of the soil and the gathering of the harvest, the men, except they are absent, either for war or hunting, spend the entire day in idleness.” 4 In fine, it may be said of Africa generally, that “ the wife has the chief share of the hoeing and cultivation of the soil ; ” 5 as it was said of the ancient Peruvians, “these women give great assistance to their husbands in all the labours belonging to husbandry and domestic affairs, or rather, these things fall entirely to their lot.” It is therefore an easy guess that the cultivation of plants was one of woman's contributions to the development of civilisation; and it is in harmony with this conjecture that the cereal deities are usually, both in the Old World and the New, female. The agricultural or semi-agricultural mysteries, therefore, from which even in civilised times women continued to exclude men, may be survivals of early times, when agriculture was a cult as well as a craft, a mystery as well as a ministerium, and when, further, the craft (and therefore the cult) was the exclusive prerogative of the wives of the tribe. That cultivated plants were originally totems we have already argued. If women were the first cultivators, it will follow that cereals were originally sex-totems. Agriculture, however, when its benefits became thoroughly understood, was not allowed, amongst civilised races, to continue to be the exclusive prerogative of women; and the Corn-goddess, Maiden or Mother, had to admit to the circle of her worshippers the men as well as the wives of the tribe. Hence, though the corn-spirit continued to be of the sex of her original worshippers, and though women continued to play a part in the myths about the goddess as well as in her worship (e.g. the maidens who carried the ears of maize in Mexico and Peru, and those who are represented on Greek monuments as carrying ears of corn), still Demeter took her place with the other deities ; the men of the tribe participated in her worship (though the youths who figured in the Eiresione procession at the Pyanepsion had to dress up as women ?), and the Eleusinian mysteries were open to men as well as to women.
1 Crooke, Folk-Lore of Northern India, 41 and 43.
* Schweinfurth, ii. 90. 5 Duff Macdonald, Africana, i. 137. 6 Zarate, Conquest of Peru (Kerr, Voyages, iv. 351).
Political development in early times—to turn to the main cause of polytheism—depends on two conditions: first, the causes which tend to induce neighbouring communities to act together and blend together in one political whole, or State, must be more powerful than the causes which tend to keep them apart; and next, the causes which tend to keep them apart are two, namely, first the tie of blood, which unites the members of a community together and marks them off from strangers, and next the tie of a common worship, to which none but members of the community are admitted. Both these dividing influences must be overcome, if a State of any size and political importance is to grow up. In a word, in early times polytheism is the price which must be paid for political development. The loyalty to the clan and to the clan-god, the conviction that the religious community formed by the tribe constitutes it a peculiar people, is essential to monotheism and inconsistent with political growth: politically the Jewish State was insignificant and at the mercy of its neighbours; at the present day the Jews are scattered and form no political community; but they retain their original loyalty to the blood-bond and to the God of their fathers.
That different tribes would exhibit different degrees of attachment to their ancestral faith, different degrees of jealousy for their clan-god, follows from the variety of
1 kard yuvaikas ¿oTollouévol, Photius, Biblioth. c. 239, p. 322; Mannhardt, W. F. K. 216.
human nature. But when the first step towards polytheism has been taken, when once the tribe's worship has been finally divided between the totem and another deity—though this does not take place probably without many relapses, by the process of syncretism, into the old custom of a single sanctuary and a single totem to a single tribe—the development of polytheism is easy and rapid ; the need for friendly relations with all the natural forces by which man's fortunes are or can be supposed to be affected is so great that one after another all are gradually brought within the circle of his worship. But this is a process which cannot take place without affecting the nature, character, and position of the gods. For instance, the original clan-god was omnipotent: the worshipper appealed to him in any and every need, with confidence that he could, if he so willed, save him. But when, by the fusion of several communities, the members of the new State found themselves the worshippers of several omnipotent gods, some adjustment of their relations was necessary. That adjustment often took the form of a division of labour, and we can see clearly in some cases how a god originally all-powerful would come to be a merely departmental god. In the view of early man war is a holy function : before going into battle, sacrifice is offered to the clan-god, the warriors are consecrated to him and are placed under the taboos ordinarily imposed on those who are in direct and special communion with the clan-god. Whether the clan-god be an animal totem or a vegetation spirit, or what not, he is all-powerful, and only exercises this power of protecting his warriors by the way, so to speak. But if of several tribes uniting in a political federation one is distinguished for its success in war, the inference inevitably will be that its god has special powers of conferring victory in war; and the other clans federated with it will worship its god more especially and rather than their own in time of war. Thus a god who, like Mars, was admittedly in the beginning a vegetation spirit, may end by becoming the war-god of a nation. Again, the sacred trees 1 and sacred stream? of a holy place are habitually used as oracles; and if some sacred place for some reason or other gains repute as a place for
1. Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites, 194. 2 Op. cit. 187.