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represented in the garb of a huntress, with a crescent upon her forehead and a quiver of arrows at her back. She was said by the poets to be the twin-sister of Apollo; and from the similarity of their characters, and the mythical traditions respecting them to those of Osiris and Isis, their worship has been supposed by some to have been introduced from Egypt. A common origin is sufficient to account for the resemblance, and in reference to this Apollo is as identical with Belus, Mithra, and Crishna, as with Osiris. The other divinities of the first division were the creations of the same emotions which led the ancestors of those by whom they were personified as divine beings first to fall down in wonder and awe before the stars, the elements, the fountains, and every object in nature that excited their admiration or surpassed their comprehension. Polytheism is the natural growth of Fetichism, and when Olympus came to be peopled by the active imaginations of the Greeks, the personification of the sun and moon was doubtless soon followed by that of the elements——the winds, the rivers, and the fountains. In this manner arose a number of divinities, which imagination depicted in different forms, and invested with appropriate attributes—as Neptune, god of the ocean; Vulcan, god of fire ; Æolus, god of the winds; Boreas and Eurus, gods respectively of the north and south winds; and the Nereides, Naiads, and Dryads, nymphs, or female divinities of an inferior grade, not possessed of immortality, and presiding respectively over the ocean, the rivers and fountains, and the woods.
The second compartment into which we have divided the Greek pantheon comprised the deities who personified human passions and emotions -as Venus, the goddess of love; Mars, the god of war; Ate, the goddess of revenge, &c. The Greeks were a peculiarly imaginative people, prone to enthusiasm, and restless when in ignorance or doubt of the cause of any one of the vast collection of material and moral phenomena of which philosophy afterwards came to take cognisance. Unable to account for them in a natural and scientific manner, they imagined everything-trees, rocks, fountains, rivers—to act in the same manner as themselves — by personal volition; and when these Fetichistic conceptions had at length given place to the idea of personal deities presiding over these natural objects, there was nothing strange or unnatural to the mind of an ancient Greek in the supposition of deities presiding over the emotions of the mind. In the same manner as Neptune was supposed to rule the ocean, and Æolus the winds, Venus moved the heart to the soft and tender passion of love, Mars inspired it with courage, and Ate incited to hatred and revenge.
The third division is occupied by the divinities whom the Greeks imported from Egypt, in which category must be placed Jupiter and his sister-wife Juno, Ceres and her daughter Proserpine, Bacchus, &c. The fourth division comprised the deities who were afterwards introduced to perfect the genealogy of the gods, and to fill up the gaps in the first or mythical period of Grecian history, and who, from the relationship to the divinities of longer standing, were honoured with share of the national veneration and worship. Among the more prominent divinities of this class were Minerva, Mercury, Vesta, Saturn, Pan, and Hercules; but the demigods and imaginary heroes thrown up in the effervescence of the national intellect in this period are almost innumerable.
The strange reveries and crude speculations of the pre-Socratic philosophers — the
most enlightened of the Greeks at a period much later-a period, indeed, when time had long since fused the wondrous mass of Hellenic myths and legends into a regular narrative of events, which every Greek regarded as the early history of his country, may be taken as an index to that restlessness and activity of the national mind, which, in the exuberant fertility of its imaginative powers, had conferred personality on the stars, the winds, the elements, the rivers, and even the passions and emotions by which the heart of man is swayed, and invented a thousand myths and legends to connect these ideal personifications together by human ties. With the accomplishment of this last step the Greek mythology became complete, and assumed the form in which it has been handed down to modern times.
Though the Greeks, in the mythopæic era, made Jupiter king of heaven, he does not appear to have been so generally popular as his sister-wife Juno, who was worshipped with great solemnity not only throughout Greece, particularly at Argos and Samos, but also at Carthage, and afterwards at Rome. A ewe lamb and a sow were offered upon her altars on the first day of each month, and the peacock, the hawk, and the goose were considered sacred to her. At Rome no woman of immoral character was permitted to enter her temples; and the consuls, when they entered upon their office, were accustomed to offer sacrifices to her in a very solemn
The chief festival of the goddess was the Heræa, observed at Argos, Samos, and Ægina, in which the inhabitants went in solemn pro-cession to the temple, which, at the first-named place, stood in a grove without the walls, in the direction of Mycenæ. The procession was a double one : the men went first, arrayed in their war panoply; and the women formed a second procession, accompanying the priestess, who was always a woman of the first quality, and was drawn in a chariot by milk-white oxen. When the temple was reached a hundred oxen were sacrificed at the altar, the flesh of which was afterwards distributed among the indigent citizens; and at Argos the procession and sacrifice were followed by public games, in which the prize was a crown of myrtle and a brazen shield. At Elis there was another festival in honour of this goddess, presided over by sixteen matrons and the same number of virgins, in which races were run by young girls, divided into classes according to age. The fair competitors were attired uniformly in garments reaching only to the knees; their hair flowed loose upon their shoulders, streaming in the breeze as they sped over the course; and the right shoulder of each was bared as low as the bosom. The youngest maidens contended first, and the victor in each race received a crown of olive, a portion of the ox that had been previously sacrificed to Juno, and permission to dedicate her portrait to the goddess.
The worship of Apollo was universal in Greece, and the festivals in honour of him were numerous, and celebrated with much solemnity and magnificence. The island of Delos, from being the reputed birthplace of this deity and his sister-goddess Diana, was considered sacred ground, and their principal festivals were accordingly celebrated there. No dogs were permitted in this island; the dead were not allowed to be interred there, and the sick were removed on the first symptoms of disease to the adjacent islet of Rhane. The altar of Apollo at Delos, which was religiously kept pure from the stain of blood, was made of the horns of goats, and was considered one of the seven wonders of the world. The Delians celebrated a festival every fifth year, when they went in procession to the temple, crowned the statue of the deity with a garland of flowers, and sang hymns in his praise; on retiring from the temple, they diverted themselves with horse-races and dancing. The Athenians also celebrated an annual festival at Delos, the institution of which was attributed to their mythic hero Theseus, who, when about to make a voyage to Crete, is said to have vowed to sacrifice annually at Delos, in the event of his returning safe. The ship which bore the official worshippers to the island was reputed to be the same in which Theseus had sailed to Crete, and when about to proceed on its voyage to Delos, was decorated with garlands by the hand of the Athenian priest of Apollo. On the arrival of the ship at the sacred island, the official worshippers, called Theori, went in procession to the temple, crowned with laurel, and preceded by men bearing axes. After sacrificing to Apollo with much solemnity, they returned to their vessel, and sailed back to Athens, when they were received with every demonstration of joy. The people ran in crowds to meet them, prostrating themselves before the Theori as they walked in procession from the port, and the greatest festivity prevailed throughout the city. During the absence of the vessel it was unlawful to put any criminal to death; and it was owing to his condemnation on the eve of its departure from Athens that the philosopher Socrates obtained a respite of thirty days. The Bæotians celebrated every ninth year a festival called the Daphnephoria in honour of this god, in which an olive bough, adorned with wreaths of laurel, garlands of flowers, and brazen globes of various sizes, emblematical of the sun, moon, and stars, was borne in a solemn procession by a handsome youth of illustrious parentage, clad in rich saffron-coloured robes trailing upon the ground, and wearing above his flowing locks a crown of gold. He was preceded in the procession by one of his nearest relations, bearing a rod, to which were attached garlands of flowers, and followed by a numerous train of young virgins, carrying branches of palm in their hands. In this order the procession wound through the streets of Thebes to the temple of Apollo, the tutelary divinity of the country, where supplicatory hymns were sung by the choir of virgins. At Amyclæ, in Laconia, Apollo and Hyacinthus--the latter a youth represented by the mythologists as having been accidentally slain by the god with a quoit—were jointly honoured with an annual solemnity which lasted three days. The first day was one of fasting and mourning for the death of Hyacinthus, but on the second the youths of the town appeared in the streets, some singing hymns in honour of Apollo, while others accompanied their voices with the strains of the flute and the lyre. Young girls appeared in richly-decorated chariots, attended by youths mounted on gaily-caparisoned steeds, and followed by others on foot, singing and dancing. On the third day wolves and hawks were sacrificed, after which the worshippers sumptuously entertained their friends, their slaves were allowed a holiday, chariot-races were run, and the city became a scene of general rejoicing and festivity.
The worship of Diana was almost as universal as that of her twin-brother Apollo. Her temple at Ephesus was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and the festivals in honour of her were numerous. The inhabitants of Taunea were accustomed to sacrifice upon her altars all the No. 73.
strangers who were cast away upon their shores; and the Lacedæmonians likewise offered human victims to her, until Lycurgus substituted for these horrid sacrifices the ceremony of flogging boys before her altars — the sufferers being originally the sons of free Spartans, but in latter times those of their helots. The Athenians generally offered a white goat upon her altars. There was a festival called the Artemisia celebrated in her honour throughout Greece, but with the greatest solemnity and magnificence at Delphi ; and in Attica another festival was held
called the Brauronia, from a town in which the goddess had a temple. A goat was sacrificed; hymns were sung; and all the female children between the ages of five and ten years attended, attired in yellow garments, to be consecrated to Diana-a ceremony to which much importance was attached by their sex.
The worship of Minerva came in time to be almost as universal as that of her sister-goddess, and she had magnificent temples in all parts of Greece and the Greek colonies. Her worship was performed with much solemnity and splendour, particularly at Athens, which, as the seat of learning and the sciences, could not refuse its adoration to the blue-eyed divinity who presided over wisdom, reason, and intellectual taste. The grand quinquennial festival of the Panathenæ which was there celebrated having, however, been described in another Paper (* Religion of the Greeks '), we shall pass on to the rites of Venus, who, as the goddess of love and beauty, could not fail of receiving homage and adoration from a people so sensuous and so enthusiastic in their worship of ideal beauty as the ancient Greeks. A passion which exercises so great an influence over the hearts and minds of both sexes as that of love, we may easily conceive to have been among the first emotions personified by the wondrous mythopæic propensity of the old Greeks; and the polytheistic nations of antiquity being accustomed to derive their divinities from each other, it ought not to surprise us to find the personification as a deity of passion so powerful obtaining adoration in other countries. The Syrians had their Astarte, the Armenians their Anaitis, and the Scandinavians their Freya. The priestesses of Anaitis were courtesans, and the most illustrious females of the country did not scruple to become so in honour of the divinity on the occasion of her festivals, during the continuance of which the greatest licentiousness prevailed. The rites of the Scandinavian Venus were attended with the same immoralities; and in all parts of Greece the festivals of this goddess were similarly characterised. The dove, the
swan, and the sparrow, were sacred to her; as also the myrtle, the rose, and the apple; but no victims were offered upon her altars. Vulcan, as the husband of Venus and god of fire, received a share of the national worship -particularly at Athens, where a calf and a boar were the sacrifices offered to him. His festival was celebrated in the month of August, when the streets were illuminated and bonfires kindled, into which calves and pigs were thrown as a sacrifice. At Athens there was another festival, on which occasion three young men successively ran a course, holding a lighted torch, which each delivered to his successor in turn, and a prize was given to him who succeeded in carrying it to the end of the course without its being extinguished. In the works of ancient authors there are many allusions to this torch-race, comparing the vicissitudes of human life
to the fluctuations of the flame as it was borne rapidly over the course, and its frequent extinction in the midst of the competitor's career.
Ceres, the goddess of corn and the harvest, as the patroness of agriculture, was as universally worshipped by the Greeks and Italians as Isis was for the same reason in Egypt. Nearly every city in Greece observed the annual rites called Thesmophoria in her honour; but nowhere were they celebrated with so much solemnity as in Athens. With the exception of the priest, who wore a crown on his head, only the wives of freeborn Athenians were admitted to her worship; and the expenses of the solemnity were borne by their husbands. The fair votaries wore white robes, as emblematical of purity, and were required strictly to observe the dictates of chastity during three days before the solemnity, and the four days of its continuance. The third day was observed as a solemn fast, and the worshippers sat on the ground in sign of mourning and humiliation; prayers were addressed to the goddess, to her fair daughter Proserpine, to the grim Pluto, and to Calligenia, the favourite attendant of Ceres; and all the rites were performed with the utmost gravity and decorum. The office of high priest was hereditary, and the virgins who assisted in the ceremonies of the temple were maintained at the public expense.
The rites of Bacchus were of an entirely different character, and his festivals were numerous; but as the procession and orgies of the Dionysia have been elsewhere described, it will be sufficient here to give a brief account of the Anthesteria. This festival was celebrated in the month of February (Anthesterion)—whence its name—and lasted three days. The Greeks were accustomed to broach their wine on the first day, and on the second the votaries rode through the streets in chariots, with garlands of ivy on their heads, ridiculing those whom they passed, like the modern charioteers of the Carnival. He who was able to drink the most wine without exhibiting its inebriating effects in unseemly behaviour, received a cask of wine, and was crowned with a chaplet of gold leaves. The Anthesteria was the holiday of the slaves, who indulged freely in the festivity of the occasion; but at the close of the third day a herald went through the streets proclaiming the end of the festival, and admonishing the slaves to return to the houses of their masters. The Athenians celebrated another festival, called the Aloa, in honour of Bacchus and Ceres conjointly, when bunches of grapes and ears of corn were offered upon their altars. The husbandmen of Attica celebrated a festival, called the Ascolia, in honour of Bacchus, when a goat was sacrificed, and a bottle made of the skin, which, being filled with wine, they jumped upon, and he who could first stand upon it was rewarded with it.
Vesta and Mercury, among the superior gods of Greece, and Saturn and Pan, among those of the second grade, received a smaller share of the public worship in that country than among the Romans, by whom they were adopted, as were likewise Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Ceres, Bacchus, Hercules, &c. The worship of Vesta, the goddess who presided over fire, was introduced at Rome by Numa, who appointed four priestesses to tend the sacred fire, which was kept constantly burning upon her altar. Tarquin increased the number of priestesses to six, who were required to be of illustrious family, and without personal blemish. They were chosen between the ages of six