Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

distinguished by much less pronounced differences than those separating the priesthood from them all.

Nor do the nobility, the commonalty and the slaveclass, which we have pointed out as the general classes, form any orders as distinctly defined as the priesthood. In certain cases no inanifest line of demarcation is drawn between the noble and the middle classes, as among some peoples there is an intermediate class between these two divisions. ? And in the systematic survey of the geographical distribution of slaves, which Dr. Nieboer gives us in his »Slavery as an Industrial System », numerous instances prove that the distinction between slaves and

p. 82. Wilkes, Narrative of the U. S. Exploring Expedition, iii. 77, Erskine, Western Pacific, p. 253, Williams, Fiji and the Fijians, p 20, and Meinicke, Inseln des Stillen Oceans, ii. 41 (Fijians). Cook, An Account of a Voyage round the World, Hawkesworth's Ed. ii. 242 sq., Ellis, Polynesian Researches, iii. 94 sq., Hale, Ethnography and Philology, in Narrative of the U. 8. Exploring Expedition, vi. 34, and Meinicke, op. cit. ii. 184 sq. (Tahitians). Ellis, Narrative of a Tour through Hawaii, pp. 421 sq., Jarves, History of the Hawaiian Islands, p. 18, Cook, A loyage to the Pacific Ocean, iii. 153, and Beechey, Voyage to the Pacific und Behring's Straits, p. 295 (Hawaiians). Mariner, Natives of the Tonga Islands, ii. 87-91, West, Ten Years in South-Central Polynesia, p. 260, and Meinicke, op. cit. ii. 83–85 (Tongans). Tregear, The Maoris of New Zealand, pp. 112 sq., Shortland, Traditions and Superstitions of the New Zealanders, p. 226, Polack, Manners and Customs of the Zealanders, ii. 123, Thomson, The Story of New Zealand, i. 94, Ellis, Polynesiun Researches, iii. 313. and Meinicke, op. cit. i. 325 (New Zealanders). — The want of uniformity between the accounts of the classes in Polynesia also seems to indicate their undefined character.

1 Certain Polynesian and other peoples supply instances of this kind. In Tahiti the bue raatira, or landed proprietors, stand between the hui arii, or royal family and nobility, and the manahune, or common people (Ellis Polynesian Researches, iii. 95), in Ebon, the Burak are said to form a rich and influential class between the Leotakatak, or landowners, and the highest class (Kubary, Die 'Ebongruppe', in Journal des Museum Godeffroy, Bd. i. Aft. 1. p. 37) and in Samoa the tulafales, or proprietors of the soil, are expressly stated to form a well-defined class between the chiefs (alii) and the common people. (Wilkes, Narrative of the next higher class divisions is extremely vague. It is true that among many peoples the lay classes have distinctly differentiated from each other, but also in these cases we cannot fail to see that such distinctions do not, in any way, equal that existing between them and the priesthood.

Although, as we have thus seen, the priesthood occupies an exceptional position in society, yet it displays, at the same time, certain of the traits cliaracteristic of the lay classes. As a rule, these latter classes have each their special functions among the same peoples, division of labour being one of the chief factors in determining the distinction of classes. In this respect, priesthood corresponds with the other classes. On the one hand, religious and magical practices form exclusively the province of that order and, on the other hand, economic and class interests, similarly as in the case of laymen, are also attached to the functions of the priests. The pros-o perity of the priestly order greatly depends upon the ability and cunning of its members, and this fact has no doubt considerably influenced the development of priesthood.

Politically also a conformity exists between priesthood and the lay classes. As a matter of course the standing of the priesthood in the community varies among different peoples, but what may be looked upon as a rule is that the sacerdotal order occupies a social

the U. S. Exploring Expedition, ii. 152). As holding a similar intermediate position we may consider, among the natives of the Gold Coast, a class of men who according to Bosman have acquired a great reputation by their riches, and rank between the Cabocero's, or chief men, and the common people. (Description of the Coast of Guinea, pp. 132 sq.) Similarly, in the Arru Archipelago, two classes, the tamata djindjinei, the rich, and the tamata rangar duoie, the landowners, rank between the nobility and the commonalty. (Riedel, De sluik- en kroesharige rassen tusschen Selebes en Papua, p. 251).

1 Nieboer, Slavery as an Industrial System, Part i. Chapter ii.

rank in the same manner as do the other classes. 1 It is well known that, among many peoples, the priests exercise great authority in political concerns also. And as political influence and high rank generally go together, they are, as a rule, among such peoples, on a footing of equality with the ruling classes. Among other peoples where they have less power, their standing corresponds with that of somewliat lower ranks. Thus, the varying influence enjoyed by the priestly order tends to raise them to a higher, or lower them to a minor, rank in society, not to make them differ as a class from the population as a whole. Whether the priesthood holds a higher or lower position in a community does not influence the peculiar character of that order, the explauation of which we have to look for elsewhere.

This explanation necessarily refers to functionary causes. As we have seen, priesthood displays, politically and socially, certain traits common to all classes, but at the same time it differs from the other classes through certain peculiarities of its own. The distinction of priesthood, briefly characterized, depends upon the fact that it

A few examples may be given of the rank assigned by different peoples to the priesthood. Among the New Caledonians the sacerdotal order holds the highest rank (Glaumont, 'Néo-Calédoniens,' in Revue d'Ethnographie, vii. 74). In Fiji the priests occupy the third rank together with minor chiefs and certain officials of the king (Williams, Fiji and the }'ijians, p. 20), and in Hawaii and Tonga the rank of the priests is the same (Jarves, History of the liawaiian Islands, p. 18; Mariner, Natives of the Tonga Islands, ii. 87). Among the peoples of the Indian Archipelago in general, the priests are said to rank after the royal families and the nobles (Crawfurd, History of the Indian Archipelago, iii. 29), while in Assam the priesthood holds the first place in point of dignity (Robinson, Descriptive Account of Asam, p. 260). Among the Mandingoes the priests stand next to the kings and above the chiefs (Wilson, Western Africa, p. 75), whereas among the Moors on the Senegal they form the second class next to the nobility (Caillié, Travels through Central Africa to T'imbuctoo, i. 98 sq.). In ancient Gaul, the two orders of rank and dignity were those of the Druids, or priests, and the knights (Caesar, De Bello Gallico, B. vi. Ch. 13).

Wet-he thin c

.not only constitutes a class, but also a profession, which is not the case with any of the lay classes. On the one hand, the province of priesthood comprehends all professional functions referring to religious and magical practices. And, on the other hand, the priesthood is exclusively devoted to those matters, as other offices which priests may in some cases be intrusted with, are all niore or less intimately associated with their religious duties. This professional homogenity of priesthood is a remarkable fact, as in the lay classes there exists little or no functionary uniformity in the same sense as in the sacerdotal order.

As a matter of course, the functions of the ordinary classes are extreinely varying among peoples belonging to different economic groups. This is also the principal reason why the lay classes present such different types among different peoples. Thus, with regard to the class of nobility we meet with a variety of types. Among certain Polynesian peoples, for instance, 11obility (note is maintained through the tabu of the upper classes, Marije whereas the common people are looked upon as a differ- ciangs ent species of the human race.' Among certain American Indians, although they scarcely have any welldefined nobility, distinction is partly liereditary, partly obtainable through bravery and other personal qualifications, 2 among certain African peoples the rank of nobility is held by the officials of the king according to the dignity of their offices, 3 among the Arabs, nobility

ho

1 Meinicke, Inseln des Stillen Oceans, i. 47. Seemann, Viti, p. 398 (Tongans). Waitz-Gerland, Anthropologie der Naturvölker, vi. 186 (Tahitians).

? Bancroft, Works, i. 193 sq. (Nootkas) and i. 770 (Isthmans). Dobrizhoffer, Abipones, ii. 440 sq. Smith, Araucanians, p. 186.

3 Clapperton, Second Expedition into the Interior of Africa, p. 57 (Yourriba people). Burton, Lake Regions, ii. 31 (People of Unyamwezi). Peters, 'Der Muata Cazembe,' in Zeitschrift für allgemeine Erdkunde, vi. 393. Ellis, Ewe-speaking Peoples, p. 165 (Dahomeans).

is estimated by descent from the family of the Prophet. 1 Naturally also the commonalty displays among different peoples a great variety as to general character and occupations. Equally natural is it that among hunting or fishing, pastoral or agricultural tribes, the use of slaves varies to a very great extent. 2 Social differentiation in general as well as the division of labour between the classes depends, in the first place, upon the mode of living of the peoples concerned.

1 On this vital point, the priesthood differs entirely from the other classes. One circumstance of interest is the fact that the functions of the priesthood are little or not at all influenced by the work of the respective peoples. Notwithstanding the varying occupations of civilized and uncivilized tribes all over the world, the priesthood , everywhere displays a most extraordinary uniformity. Everywhere the authority of the priests is upheld by the same popular belief in their spiritual superiority and by the same imagination as to the advantages obtainable through them. Everywhere their mediation is required in the craving for supernatural assistance in the adversities and misfortunes of human life. The professional relation between the priests and their fellow-tribesmen is therefore, to a great extent, the same everywhere. And also the methods taken by the priests in fulfilling their duties and asserting their own interests show à remarkable correspondence among all peoples, although varying in different degrees of development.

A few more characteristics of the priesthood become conspicuous when we compare this order with other classes. Different classes always presuppose each other in a certain way. We cannot form an idea of slaves

au

Maltzan, 'Sittenschilderungen aus Südarabien,' in Globus, 1872, p. 103.

2 Cf. Nieboer, Slavery as an Industrial System, pp. 212–15, 223–25, 282–84.

« ForrigeFortsæt »