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We have already pointed out that the Australians, Bushmen, Hottentots, Andaman Islanders, Veddahs, Fuegians and Eskimo have no lay classes, although they have priests or magicians. To these instances others may be added. Mr. Bonwick states that among the Tasmanians prevailed »the equality of that democratic mode of existence which appears prevalent among all Papuan people, and some of the aboriginal tribes of India.» Yet there were among them certain »wise men or doctors» of whom they stood in awe. These could not only mitigate suffering, but inflict it, and in their hands the sacred bone or stone wrought marvels. They were the exorcists of the tribes and mesmerists by profession, and the utterance of some verbal charms of theirs had a medical power. 1 »Les Ghiliaks,» M. Deniker writes of those natives on the lower Amur river, »sont tous égaux entre eux et jamais il n'y a eu parmi eux d'esclaves». The same author says there are shamans among them. 2 Of the Bodo and Dhimál people, Mr. Hodgson affirms that »among their own communities there are neither servants nor slaves, nor aliens of any kind; and whilst their circumstances tend to perpetuate equality of means, neither their traditions, their religion nor their usages sanction any artificial distinction of rank --all Bodo and Dhimáls are equal — absolutely so in right or law – wonderfully so in fact.» Of the well distinguished priesthood of that tribe, a description is given by the same author. 3 By Dr. Svoboda we are told that among the Nicobar Islanders there exists no state of subordination, all inhabitants occupying the same rank. There are, however, among them witch-doctors who are believed to possess the faculty of seeing and command
ing the evil spirit. They also cast out the spirits of deceased persons who take possession of the living. 1 Bancroft, writing of the lower Californians, maintains that neither government nor law is found in their region, »every man is his own master; and administers justice in the form of vengeance as best he is able.» He mentions medicine-men among them and says that the usual juggleries attend the practice of medicine. 2
When taking into consideration the priesthood of various peoples, we become aware of the universal fact that the priesthood everywhere differs in a peculiar way from the rest of the population. In classifying the miscellaneous ranks of a community we may hesitate when considering to which of them a certain individual or group should be referred, but hardly, if ever, do we need to doubt whether they belong to the priesthood or not. In comparison with priesthood, the various classes seem in many cases to be founded on conventional or arbitrary distinctions, however carefully they may be upheld as fixed gradations. A great number of ranks is met with, for instance, among the natives of West Africa, in certain parts of the Malay Archipelago, and throughout Polynesia. The many petty classes and sub-classes of these peoples hardly display any decided characteristics by means of which their respective ranks become conspicuous. 3 It is beyond doubt that these classes are
Svoboda, 'Die Bewohner des Nokobaren Archipels,' in Internationales Archiv für Ethnographie, v. 191, 192; vi, 10.
2 Bancroft, Works, i. 564, 568, 569.
3 As regards the classes in these parts of the world, see: Bosman, Description of the Coast of Guinea, pp. 132 sq. Wilson, Western Africa, pp. 75 sq. (Mandingoes). Caillié, Travels through Central Africa to Timbuctoo, i. 93—106 (Moors on the Senegal). Schwaner, Borneo, pp. 167 sq. (Barito river tribes). Riedel, De sluik- en kroesharige rassen tusschen Selebes en Papua, p. 251 (Natives of the Arru group). Id. 'De Topantunuasu of oorspronkelijke volksstammen van central Selebes,' in Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en rolkenkunde van Nederlandsch Indië, V, 1
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 manifest 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 Expeuition, 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 Facific and 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 l'olynesian 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. Sft. 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. 1 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 characteristic 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 prosperity of the priestly order greatly depends upon the ability and cunning of its meinbers, 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 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 somewhat 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 explanation of which we have to look for elsewhere.
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 vangar 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.
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
officials of the
same (Jarves20), and in his
1 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 Fijians, p. 20), and in Hawaii and Tonga the rank of the priests is the same (Jarves, History of the Hawaiian 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 Timbuctoo, 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).