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by the heathen mind. The character, But it is about these Dii Majores, therefore, underwent a marked disinte
Minerva and Apollo, that Mr Gladgration by severance into distinct parts; stone gathers all his marvellous suband while it continues, in the main, to tleties. With the Talmud on one form the groundwork of the Homeric
side, and his Homer on the other, he Apollo, certain of its qualities are apparently transferred to his sister Diana, and revels in ingenious analogies. 'He others of them are, as it were, repeated makes distinction between gods of in her.
tradition and gods of invention. “ The second form of the tradition is Minerva and Apollo are gods of trathat of the Wisdom or Logos of the Gos- dition, Venus and Mars of invention. pel of St John; and this appears to be In elaborating this distinction, he represented in the sublime Minerva of appears to us to forget or to rememthe Homeric system.
ber at pleasure what Homer really “ Lastly, Latona, the mother of the says of these his two favourite deities. twin deities Apollo and Diana, appears to But, without insisting on this, we represent the tradition of the woman find' Mr Gladstone drawing a quite from whom the Deliverer was to de- arbitrary line between what may or scend. “Thirdly, with respect to the Evil may not be of human invention, or,
in other words, the spontaneous and
normal product of the human mind. But perhaps we have already given In one sense, all the gods of Homer our readers sufficient to reflect upon are probably traditional,—that is, for one time. They would like to they were the invention of other take breath and pause a little at the times. He has brought his own adaspect in which Apollo and Diana ditions to these traditional invenand Latona are here presented to tions, often enough, perhaps, of a them. This Latona, who represents, very inconsistent character. But we are elsewhere told, the general there is no greater difficulty in beidea of “honoured maternity”—and lieving a Minerva the goddess of wisfor that reason, we presume, was re- dom to be invented by man, than a venged on Niobe by the slaughter of Venus the goddess of love. Whether all her children-is indeed a very ob- we consider Minerva to have been scure goddess, and lies open to many originally one of the great natureinterpretations. She is sometimes goddesses, who assumed, in Homer's represented as the wife, sometimes system, a quite personal and ethical as the concubine, of Jupiter--suffers character, or whether we consider
her strange persecutions from Juno—and to have been, from the commencebecomes the mother of Apollo and ment, an impersonation of heavenly Diana. Turning to the classical wisdom-the wisdom of Zeus-in dictionary of Dr W. Smith, we find either case, there seems nothing bethat she represents, and very aptly, yond the bounds of human inven“the obscure," or "the concealed ; tion. that, in fact, her legend seems to in- It is curious to notice with what dicate nothing else than the issuing dexterity our ingenious author copof light from darkness. The night trives to extract materials for a theoever precedes the day. Such simple logical system, and special prerogaexplanations are not to be accepted tives for these deities, out of the mere by Mr Gladstone. Scarce will he incidents of a poem, out of descripallow the heathen imagination to tions and events in which the artist, have any independent play or exer- and not the theologian, was manicise. “The rainbow of Holy Scrip- festly at work. tures,” he tells us, “is represented in the Homeric Iris." The rainbow
“Both Minerva and Apollo are genercomes after rain ; and the god of the allyexempt from the physical limitations, clouds and the shower could hardly which the deities of invention are as gen
and from the dominion of appetite, to have been provided with a more likely messenger. This is surely as erally subject. Though, when a certain
necessity is predicated of the gods in genprobable a process of thought as the
eral, they may be literally included within converting a sign of God's will into it, we do not find that the poet had them a messenger of the god.
in his eye apart from the rest, and the
particular liabilities and imperfections are is, that all the poets find it convenerer imputed to either of them indivi- nient to treat this attribute of dually. What is said of them inclusively gigantic stature in a very capricious rith others, is in reality not said of them
manner. at all, but only of the prevailing disposi- occasionally introduced, but it would
It is a grand image to be tion of the body to which they belong; be extremely embarrassing to have to just as we are told in the Iliad that all deal constantly with beings of enorthe gods were incensed with Jupiter because of his bias towards the Trojans, mous bulk. Mars covers seven acres when we know that it was in reality only when he falls : the image pleased the some amongst them of the greatest weight poet, and when the god was down and power. Neither Apollo nor Minerva upon the earth, it was no matter how eats, or drinks, or sleeps, or is wearied, or huge he was ; seven acres would lie is wounded, or suffers pain, or is swayed as quietly as one ; he was managewith passion. Neither of them is ever out able there. But Homer did not make witted or deluded by any deity of inven- him seven acres high when fighting tion, as Venus is, or even Jupiter is, by with Diomed. Our own Milton deals Juno, in the Fourteenth Iliad.”
in the same manner with great But Minerva and Apollo sit at the height. His archangel stalks before feasts of the gods. To omit them us for a moment in gigantic proporwould have been thought a great tions, but the imagination is not indignity; for Homer's gods have tasked to keep such a conception little else to do than to feast, except constantly before it. when they are intermeddling with Homer, the poet of war, could Greeks and Trojans; and all the hardly have done honour to Minerva, deities, with Jupiter at their head, his favourite goddess, unless he had set forth to enjoy the sacrifices of invested her with martial attributes. the Ethiopians. But “what is said These martial attributes are thus acof them inclusively is really not said counted for by Mr Gladstone :of them at all." It is nowhere hint
* Partly in relation of Minerva to Mars, ed-except in Mr Gladstone's book- whom
she punishes or controls, but more that Minerva and Apollo enjoyed the particularly in the
use of the magnificent sacrifices made to them in any more symbol of the Ægis by Minerva and refined manner than Jupiter and Apollo, we appear to find that developJuno. “Not swayed by passion !” ment of the martial character which has One sees very little else than passion been mentioned above as included among and favouritism in any of the gods; the Jewish ascriptions to the Messiah.” — and Minerva is often in a tower
P. 95. ing passion, and sometimes terribly The case is past comment. Yet sulky, as when she and Juno, after the manner in which Apollo, and having mounted the car, and galloped Diana, and Latona are treated, is half-way to the plains of Troy to take perhaps even still more extraordipart in the combat, are compelled by nary. Apollo, Mr Gladstone observes, Jupiter to return, and unharness the kills with his unerring arrows; Diana steeds, and sit down quietly on their also has the same direct power of inchairs in Olympus.
flicting death on women. “ There is “Mere attributes of bulk stand at the
no instance, if I remember rightly," bottom of the scale of even human ex
he adds, “ in which any other of the cellence; and it is so that Homer treats gods brings about the death of a them, giving them in the greatest abun- mortal otherwise than by means of dance to his Otus, his Ephialtes, and his second causes.” Neptune could drown Mars. Minerva has them but indirectly a man in his waves, but does not assigned to her ; and when arming for strike him dead with his trident. war, Apollo never receives them at all.” Homer perhaps would not have -P. 89.
thought any mortal very safe who Yet at another time Mr Gladstone should get within the reach of that himself reminds us that the helmet trident when the god was in anger. of Minerva was large enough for a But mythologists generally admit whole regiment, and that, when she that Apollo had some peculiar relaascends the car of Diomed, the axle tion to death. Mr Gladstone has the creaks under her weight. The fact peculiar merit of tracing this relation to certain Messianic traditions. We and a golden age upon the earth, is are afraid to state precisely what tra- just as indifferent as the rest of the dition ; for sometimes Apollo repre- Olympian deities to the future dessents part of the character of the tinies of man? He who represents Evil One, and sometimes, and more the Messianic tradition should surely generally, part of the character of be a beneficent deity, solicitous to Him who was to destroy death itself! restore or to produce a happy order We confess ourselves to be utterly of things for man. He should have bewildered.
some mission, some office, or at least “In considering what may have been some desire for the good of all manthe early traditional source of these re. kind. Not a trace of anything of the markable attributes of the children of kind do we find in the Apollo of Latona, we should tread softly and care. Homer. Neither in him, in Minerva, fully, for we are on very sacred ground. nor in any of the gods, is there the But we seem to see in them the traces of least solicitude for the happiness of the form of One who, as an all-conquering the human race.* King, was to be terrible and destructive to his enemies, but who was also, on be- religious system which, more than
If there is any part of Homer's half of mankind, to take away the sting another, seems the child-like utterfrom death, and to change its iron hand for a thread of silken slumber.”—P. 104. ance of the human imagination, it is
his description of the state and nature Will a solemnity of manner help of the dead. The dead are mere shaus at all through the obscurity in dows of the living; they are mere which our author envelopes us ?' In memories that go fleeting through a subsequent page he asks many Hades for no intelligible purpose. questions such as these : Why was His dead have nothing to do but to Apollo, thus associated with death, recall the griefs and pleasures of life, likewise the god of foreknowledge and even the recollection of pleasure Why did he, and he only, partake of is a regret. Elysium and Olympus this privilege with Jupiter? Why, itself are open to favoured heroes akin again, should the god of foreknow- to the gods, but as yet there is no ledge be the god of medicine ? And Heaven open to moral excellence, and why should the god of medicine also where this human nature itself will absorb into himself the divinity of attain a higher development of goodthe sun ? And after asking these ness and intelligence. Yet even here and other questions, he answers them Mr Gladstone must help the imaginby saying that Apollo “represented ation of Homer by some tradition the legendary anticipations of a per- gathered from the sacred Scriptures. son to come, in whom should be com- After mentioning that we have in bined all the great offices in which Homer's after-world the leading ideas God the Son is now made known to of a place of bliss, and a place of torman as the Light of our paths, the ment—though the Tartarus was not Physician of our diseases, the Judge so much for the wicked as for those of our misdeeds, and the Conqueror who had especially offended the gods and disarmer, but not yet abolisher, -he says : of death.” Some of these questions which Mr Gladstone asks have re
“A further element of indistinctness ceived all the answer that mytholo- if we take into view the admission of
attaches to the invisible world of Homer, gical questions admit of; but now we
favoured mortals to Olympus ; a process also would ask this question, Why is of which he gives us instances, as in it that Apollo, who represents the Ganymede and Hercules. In a work of legendary anticipation of a Messiah pure invention it is unlikely that Heaven, that is to bring happiness and virtue Elysium, and the under-world would all
When Neptune challenges Apollo to fight for his cause, “ O Neptune,” he replies," thou wouldst not say that I am prudent if I should now contend with thee for the sake of miserable mortals, who, like the leaves, are at one time very blooming, feeding on the fruit of the soil, and at another again perish without life. Rather let us cease from combat as soon as possible, and let them decide the matter themselves." This is the excuse which Apollo puts forward ; " for,” it is added, “ho was afraid to come to strife of hands with his uncle."
have been represented as receptacles of They have no other resource to vary souls in favour with the Deity. But the monotony of Olympus than to some primitive tradition of the transla- engage in the strife and the passions tion of Enoch may account for what of men. Even for their loves they would otherwise stand as an additional come down to earth. They are weaanomaly.”—P. 171.
ried of each other. And what a subIf there is any meaning in this ordinate, childish, and irrational part passage, there is a connection traced it is they play in the affairs of men ! between Ganymede and Enoch! In- Achilles fights, and Minerva picks up deed, the analogies which Mr Glad. the thrown spear and gives it back stone finds, and the applications of again into the hands of the hero. It is Scripture which he permits himself a type of all they do. The passions of to make, surpass anything, for their the maddest of men are reason itself perverted ingenuity, we have encoun- compared to the anger of these gods : tered in modern literature. We must they have nothing to fight for, nothing go back a century or two to find a to gain or to lose, and they have as parallel case. We are apt to smile at little concern for the just government the applications of Scripture texts of the world as the storms that are which pious and simple-minded peo- sweeping over the face of the earth. ple, by their very simplicity, are led to Some Higher Destiny, apparently, make. They are not more strange than has appointed both these storms and some of the applications which our these gods. Mr Gladstone says learned author, the very reverse of truly : “What a wretched spectacle simple-minded, is led into by his per- would Hector, Achilles, Diomed, verse ingenuity. There was amongst Nestor, Ulysses, and the rest, present the Olympian deities, besides Apollo,a to us, were their existence devoted sun-god Helios, and this sun-god Mr simply to quafting goblets and scentGladstone describes--whether with ing or devouring the flesh of slain perfect accuracy or not we will not animals, even though with this there stay to discuss—as being afterwards were present the mitigating refineabsorbed in Apollo. Thereupon he ment of perpetual harp and song, adds :
And yet such is the picture offered "In this view the mythological absorp. by the Homeric mythology." tion of the Sun in Apollo is a most strik
Nevertheless, of this mythology our ing trait of the ancient mythology: and author writes :it even recalls to mind that sublime “ Thus it was that the sublime idea of representation of the prophet, 'The sun one Governor of the universe, omnipotent shall be no more thy light by day, neither
over all its parts, was shivered into many for brightness shall the moon give light fragments, and these high prerogatives, unto thee ; but the Lord shall be unto distributed and held in severalty, are the thee an everlasting light, and thy God fragments of a conception too weighty thy glory.'”—P. 265.
and too comprehensive for the unassisted The mythological process of the human mind to carry in its entireness.” absorption of a nature
god into a
-P. 209. heroic god—both having peculiar rela- Burdened with his too vast idea, tions to the sun-is illustrated by the the poet breaks it in pieces, and coins grand metaphor of the Hebrew Pro- these heroic gods out of its fragments. phet that God himself shall be our Is this a probable genesis of the light! The mind can just catch at Homeric mythology? Do we see a point of resemblance, but only to even the fragments of the greater throw it away again with displea- conception ? And when such men as sure.
Aristotle rose to as high conception of Homer's deities are not eternal, deity as any we are able to form, how they are not creative; they have super- was it that then “the unassisted huhuman powers, and they are immortal. man mind could carry it in its entireBut it is a poor life, when compared ness?” to that of human beings, that the The gods of Homer are not eternal, poet has been able to imagine for neither do they create; but they are them. The banquet, nectar or
ambro- immortal. Hardly could the poet do sia, is all that the heavens supply. less for them than release them from
VOL. LXXXIV.-NO. DXIV.
death. But the imagination of the which is the nobler ritual of the Greek must always, according to Mr two, descended to mankind from the Gladstone, be indebted more or less Hebrew patriarchs. In Homer's to the traditions of some Hebrew time we still see the sacrifice regardor Semitic patriarch. Accordingly, ed as a present to the god, from upon this immortality of the Homeric which the god himself receives some gods he makes the following observa- benefit. The savour of it is agreetions :
able to him : in some manner or
other, he derives a personal gratifica“There is something curious in the tion from the “ burnt thighs of fat question why it is that they are endowed oxen.”. As intelligence is developed, uniformly and absolutely with this gift, we find the Greek, at least the edubut not with others; why the limitation
cated Greek, interpreting the sacriof Death is removed from them, and yet
fice in quite a different sense. He other limitations are allowed in so many no longer regards it as something respects to remain.
"* It seems as if we had here an inde- necessary or useful to the god ; he pendent and impartial testimony to the
ponders only on the benefit to be truth of the representation conveyed in
derived to the worshipper. God Holy Writ, that death has been the accepts it as a sign of gratitude, or specific punishment ordained for sin ; a sign of repentance for sin. Or it and that therefore, in passing beyond the becomes a mode of communication human order, we, as a matter of course, between the god and the worshipper, pass beyond its range."
the god having in some way entered
into the sacrifice offered to him : Men never think or imagine on after this it may be redolent of prothe principle of contrast. They gave phetic knowledge; or the worshipper, immortality to their gods because by partaking of it, may be a partaker they were familiar with this pro- of the divine spirit. Many subtle perty, as having been once their own! interpretations follow. These interIf our readers feel fatigued at this pretations form the higher part of wire-drawing, it is really not our the religious faith, not the rite itself, fault : it was necessary to give some to which the very rudest or most specimens, and we might easily have child - like conceptions may have multiplied them.
given origin. As might be expected, Mr Glad- But although the reader of Mr stone regards the rite of sacrifice, so Gladstone's book will feel, we susextensively prevalent over all the pect, a mere perplexity, a mere disheathen world, as“ another portion tress and vexation, as of labour of the primeval inheritance." "It had thrown away in vain, as he follows been instituted before the Homeric him through those trains of reasonage—there can be no doubt of that ; ing by which he supports his mythobut it is one of those institutions logical theory, he will yet be occawhich it is needless and idle to trace sionally rewarded by remarks both to any one special origin. Sacrifice, of an interesting and an instructive like prayer, has arisen wherever the description. When our author liberidea existed of a god who might be ates himself from the prepossessions induced to favour man. In the Book which this theory throws around of Genesis no other account is given him, he can show himself an intelliof its origin. Cain and Abel are gent and tasteful critic of Homer. represented as prompted by their Many observations which he makes, spontaneous feelings to testify their both on his heroes, his gods, and gratitude by an offering to God. To such imaginary beings as his Cyclops, bring an offering is, in one period of who are neither heroes nor gods, are our mental culture, as natural an act well deserving of study and rememas to utter a prayer :* now Mr Glad- brance. How well are the Cyclops stone does not tell us that prayer, here delineated :
• If an animal is to be offered, there are but two ways of doing it, either by preserving it separate and intact, or by killing it. In aid of the last mode came the idea of offering life itself-of pouring out the blood, which contained the life.