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this expansion of society beyond the narrow bounds of bloodrelationship, the germ of higher religious belief which totemism envelops is enabled also to burst its sheath, and man's conception of the deity sloughs off the totem-god. But though totemism perished in the very process of producing the advance from savagery to civilisation, still even in the civilisation of the Old World survivals of the system may be traced.
“For the Egyptians totemism may be regarded as certain."i Egypt was divided into nomes or districts, in each of which a different animal was revered by the inhabitants. It was not an individual animal, but the whole species which was thus reverenced, and it was by all the inhabitants of the nome that it was revered. The lives of such animals were sacred, each in its own nome, and their flesh might not be consumed as food by the inhabitants of that nome. The god of the district manifested himself in the species sacred to that district. But this is not a survival of totemism. It is totemism, the thing itself.
No one, however, alleges that the religion of Egypt never got beyond totemism. On the contrary, we can see side by side with it in Egypt many of the stages and processes by which religion gradually divested itself of this its first protecting envelope, just as we may see sedimentary rocks by the side of the igneous rocks from which they are derived. Indeed, even in the lowest stratum of Egyptian totemism we may detect signs if not evidence of the disintegrating process: the bond of kinship, the tie of blood is relaxed. It is to be presumed that the inhabitants of a nome did not for ever continue to be blood-relations of one another, as they probably were when first they settled in the district; and the belief that the sacred species of animal was one blood and one flesh with the human tribe also faded. But though the blood-tie which held the human clansmen together, and which also bound the human clansmen to the animal, was relaxed and faded away from memory, the effects which it produced continued to exist. Thus, the sacred animal, whether it was still believed to be a blood-relation or not, received the same obsequies and was mummified in the
* Frazer, 94.
same way as man; and the killing by one nome of an animal sacred to another was avenged in effect, if not consciously, in the spirit with which the blood-feud was exacted on behalf of a slaughtered kinsman.
Another and a further stage of development is reached, when one particular specimen of the species is selected as being the one which the deity has chosen to abide in, as, for instance, the calf marked by twenty-nine particular signs which showed that the Calf-god Apis was present in him. On the one hand, the concentration of veneration on an . individual would tend to withdraw sanctity from the rest of the species, and the result might easily be a final separation of the animal-god from the animal species. On the other hand, that in Egypt at anyrate the worship of an individual animal, such as the Apis-calf, is the outcome of totemism, is plain from two things : first, the rest of the species did continue to be sacred-eating cow's flesh was as abhorrent to the Egyptians as cannibalism—and, next, “when the sacred animal died, the god as such did not die with him, but at once became incorporated in another animal resembling the first,”1 evidently, as in Samoa, when an owl died, "this was not the death of the god; he was supposed to be yet alive and incarnate in all the owls in existence.”2
That, in spite of the ties which bound him to the rest of his species, the animal-god did shake off his humbler relations, and came to be worshipped in his higher aspect exclusively, is certain; and the process was facilitated by the dissolution of the bonds which tied down his worship to one particular nome. Apis, e.g., came to be worshipped all over Egypt. But the fact that his cult was originally local, not universal, is shown by the circumstance that his calf, wherever in Egypt it appeared, was taken to Memphis and kept there. Thus not only was the individual animal exalted above the rest of his species, but the god that dwelt in him was far removed from all his worshippers, except those who dwelt in the immediate neighbourhood of his animal manifestation. Thus he gained in magnificence both ways, and in both ways the associations which bound him to his animal form and i
1 Wiedemann, Die Religion der alten Aegypter, 96. 2 Turner, Samoa, 21, see above, p. 101.
origin were weakened. The universalising of a cult is due to political causes : the political ascendancy of the nome from which the reigning dynasty derived would be marked by the extension of the local worship. The synoikismos which makes a nation also makes a pantheon.
But these causes are external, social, and political, not religious. They may and did loosen bonds which checked the progress of religion, but they were not themselves the force which was struggling to get free. But it is to the action of that force that we must attribute the dissociation of the god from his animal form, and his gradual appearance in human shape, which took place in Egypt. Here, however, our immediate concern is not to explain how this force operated, but to point out that the totemism which, as we have seen, demonstrably existed in Egypt, along with other higher elements of religion, did eventually become refined into a pantheon of anthropomorphic gods. “It is remarkable," says Dr. Wiedemann, “in view of the important part which the sacred animal plays in cultus, how relatively seldom it is portrayed. For a thousand representations of the gods, scarcely one will be found of an animal. The god appears either in human form, or as a man with the head of the animal sacred to him.” Now, whether the mischbild of an animal-headed man was intended to intimate the idea that the god was of the same flesh with both his human kin and his animal kind, or is due to purely graphic considerations, as Dr. Wiedemann, who does not believe in totemism, is inclined to think, the fact remains that in the nome where a certain species was sacred the god is represented as a man with the head of that animal. In Mendes, e.g., the goat was sacred and the god goat - headed. And as for the great gods universally worshipped in the Egyptian religion, as Mr. Lang says, “it is always in a town where a certain animal is locally revered that the human-shaped god wearing the head of the same animal finds the centre and chief holy place of his worship.” 2 The last stage is reached when the god casts aside his animal garb altogether, and the animal is thought and spoken of as being sacred to him, but has no other or more intimate relation with him. Op. cit. p. 97.
2 Lang, Myth, Ritual, and Religion, ii. 104,
The question now arises, whether, supposing that in Egypt or elsewhere we find a purely anthropomorphic god having an animal associated with him in art and sacred to him in ritual, but having none of those further relations to a sacred species of animals and a particular human kin which are of the essence of totemism, we are justified in assuming that the worship (or part of the worship) of that god is a survival of totemism ? Plainly the answer to this question depends on whether there is any other way in which gods become associated in ritual and art with animals. If there is, we shall have to consider in each particular case which is the more probable genesis of the given association. If not, we may provisionally, and until further cause be shown, assume the association to have been totemistic. Now, there is only one other way which has been suggested to account for the association, and which is also a method applicable to other countries in which gods are associated with animals as well as to Egypt. It is that the animals were chosen as
symbols to express some attribute, some aspect of the might | and majesty, of the gods.
We will begin by admitting the beauty and the value of symbolism. Nay! we will insist that there are truths which can only be shadowed forth by means of symbols. At the same time, as it is possible to detect a symbolism where it was never meant, we must be on our guard against “ ridiculous excess.” The fact to be explained is that certain animals are considered sacred. The suggestion is that the animals were chosen to typify certain divine attributes, and as the symbols of certain excellences. But "if one surveys the list of sacred beasts, it is found to include all the more important representatives of the fauna of Egypt, mammals, birds, fishes, amphibia, insects.” 2 Surely this should give us pause. Innocence may be typified by the dove, and cunning have the serpent for its symbol; and as regards insects, for the ant and the bee— let them pass. But all insects ? The symbol theory is getting strained. However, even if “the lord of fies” derived his title from some quality unstated, but typified by those insects, was it not, from the symbolic point of view, superfluous to offer them a sacrifice, a whole ox, as was done in Leucas ?1 Again, the sacred animal or plant may not be eaten, which is hard to explain on the symbolic theory. The Ioxidæ may have abstained from eating asparagus, but does anyone believe that it was for its symbolism ? There is no evidence to show or reason to believe that the asparagus symbolised anything whatever. And why should this devotion to a symbol, wholly inexplicable on the symbolist theory, be limited in each case to one clan or neighbourhood ? That nobody but the loxidæ—if they—saw anything symbolical in the asparagus, can be understood; but when the symbol was one that could be appreciated by “the meanest understanding," why was it appropriated exclusively by one clan?
1 The suggestions that the hieroglyphs reacted on worship, and that the ambiguity of some Egyptian names of gods led to animal-worship, apply only to Egypt, and are inadequate to account for all even of the Egyptian facts.
* Wiedemann, Rel. d. alten Aegypler, 94.
The symbol theory simply does not account for the facts which it is framed to explain; and totemism at present is the only satisfactory answer to the question why certain plants and animals are sacred. When, then, we turn to Greece, and find that every god and goddess has his or her sacred animal, we may consider that mere fact as constituting a reasonable presumption that part of the deity's ritual has its roots in totemism. It is also, however, not unreasonable to demand other confirmatory evidence. Now, in Greece we do not find totemism anywhere as a living, organic system, as in Ancient Egypt. This may be due to our ignorance of Greek peasant life. But we do find fragments of the system, one here and another there, which, if only they had not been scattered but had been found together, would have made a living whole. Thus we have families whose names indicate that they were originally totem clans, e.g. there were Cynadæ at Athens, as there was a Dog clan amongst the Mohicans; but we have no evidence to show that the dog was sacred to the Cynadæ in historic times. On the other hand, storks were revered by the Thessalians, but there is nothing to show that there was a
1 Aelian, xi. 8 (Lang, op. cit. 278). Plutarch, Theseus, 14 (Lang, ibid.).