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victim which first made burning necessary; and then sacrifice by fire was extended to the god's portions of the victiin, even in ordinary sacrifices.
But the revival of the gloomy annual rite, in the new shape of piacular sacrifice, reacted not only on the mode of sacrifice, but on the nature of the victim. The piacular sacrifice was conceived as the atonement for the sin of a member of the community; it was a member of the community, therefore, that ought to suffer, or, if he could not be discovered, then at least a life of the same kind, i.e. human, must be offered. This was probably the origin of the sacrifice of human beings to the gods amongst the Mediterranean peoples. Amongst the Americans it was, as we have said, due to the lack of domesticated animals—an explanation which also covers the case of Polynesia, where the pig and the rat were the only quadrupeds that were known. The slaughter of human beings to accompany a dead chief to the next world is not sacrifice in the sense in which the word has been used in this chapter. Such slaughter was in all probability known in early Indo-European times, and is widespread in Africa, where the sacrifice of human beings in the worship of the gods may have been simply borrowed from the ritual at the grave.
If, however, at the piacular sacrifice, an animal continues to be sacrificed, as it originally was, then an explanation has to be found to account for the victim's being animal and not human. The explanation forthcoming is that the animal is a “scape-goat” and a substitute for the human being who ought to be slain. Thus in Cochin-China the king makes a yearly offering in February to the heaven and the earth for benefits received. In ancient times this offering consisted in a slaughtered animal, placed on an altar, over which wine was poured. The offering is now conceived as a piaculum for the sins which every man is conscious of having committed, and which could only be expiated by death: the animal is regarded as being slain instead of a man. If,
1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, i. 464.
2 Bastian, Oest. Asien, iv. 411. For the scape-goat amongst the Hebrews, see Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites, 397, 422 ; in classical antiquity and amongst other peoples, Frazer, Golden Bough, ii. 182-217,
again, the god insists on human life, an alien is offered, as, 0.9., on the Gold Coast," amongst the ancient Greeks, and universally amongst the ancient Mexicans.
The primitive, annual, nocturnal rite was also revived in the “mysteries” of the ancient world, but with them we shall deal hereafter. It remains for us now to discuss the devices to which the individual resorted, when the god of the community failed to render him efficient protection, or when the services required were not such as a god of the community ought to afford. This will require a fresh chapter.
1 Ellis, Tshi-speaking Peoples, 169.
FETISHISM is often supposed to have its home and place of origin amongst the negroes of West Africa. It is certainly amongst the inhabitants of the Gold Coast and Slave Coast that the subject can best be studied; but if our conclusions are to be of any value, they should not be based on the hasty reports of passing visitors or the statements of semi-civilised natives, and “fetishism ” should not be detached from the general religious beliefs of those who practise it. Fortunately, within the last few years trustworthy information has been placed at the command of the student, and a signal service to the science of religion has been rendered by LieutenantColonel Ellis, First Battalion, West India Regiment, from whose valuable works (The Tshi-speaking Peoples, The Ewespeaking Peoples, and The Yoruba-speaking Peoples) the following account is taken.
The Gold Coast is inhabited by various Tshi-speaking tribes (of whom the best known are the Fantis and the Ashantis), who are all of the true negro type, as distinguished from the Negroids in the Mohammedan States to the north and the Congoese in the regions to the south. There are four classes of deities worshipped by them: (1) General Deities, few in number; (2) Local Deities, very numerous ; (3) Tutelary Deities of sections of the community; (4) Tutelary Deities of individuals. General deities are those generally worshipped by all or most of the different tribes, such as Bobowissi (“ blower of clouds ") or Nana-Nyankupon (“lord of the sky "). Local deities are confined to one locality and one particular natural object, such as Tahbi, who resides in or under the rock on which Cape Coast Castle
is built; Cudjo, the god of a shoal or reef between Cape Coast Castle and Acquon Point; Kottor-krabah, who resided at the wells now known by that name; Behnya, the god of the river Behnya, and so on. To which of these two classes Srahmantin and Sasabonsum are to be assigned, it is difficult to say. “In one sense they are local, since every district has one or more; and in another sense they are general, since they are known all over the coast by these names. Properly speaking, it seems as if Srahmantin and Sasabonsum were each a name of a genus of deities, every member of which possesses identical characteristics; though these names are in each locality used to designate individual deities." Sasabonsum is implacable; once angered he can never be mollified or propitiated. Wherever the earth is of a red colour, there is, or has been, a Sasabonsum: the redness is caused by the blood of the wayfarers he has devoured. The third class of deities are the tutelary deities of particular sections of the community, such as towns, families, the inhabitants of any division of the town (a town-company), the frequenters of any market, etc. These tutelary deities differ from the local deities in this respect: the latter usually dwell each in his own locality (hill, river, rock, lagoon, etc.), and enter the images which are made of them to receive their worshippers' sacrifices and prayers; but the tutelary deity, though it is not absolutely and irrevocably confined to the material object (wooden figure, stone, calabash, etc.), which is its usual abode, for it can leave that abode and enter into and “possess” a priest, does usually and at ordinary times dwell in that material object. When a family grows so large that it must divide, and the branch in whose keeping the tutelary deity does not continue consequently requires a new one, or when a new “town-company” is formed, application is made to the priest of some local deity, who goes to the hill, rock, or river, etc., where the local deity resides, and communicates with him ; subsequently the priest becomes “possessed,” and, being inspired by the local deity, whose priest he is, says he is directed to go to the abode of the local deity," and take therefrom a stone or some of the earth; or to make a wooden figure out of the wood of a tree growing there, or something of that kind.” This he does, pouring some rum on the ground as an offering, “and then, dancing before them, and, bearing the object which is now believed to be the receptacle or ordinary abode of an indwelling god,” he proceeds to install it in the place where it is henceforth to be and continue as a tutelary deity; as such it, like local and general deities, has a sacred day of its own, on which its worshippers do no work, shave their heads, paint themselves with white clay, and wear white clothes. Sacrifices are offered to the tutelary as to the general and local deities. The tutelary deity of a family protects the members from sickness and misfortune generally. The tutelary deities of a “town-company” have each a special function: the principal one protects the fighting men of the company in war; another“ perhaps watches that no quarrel or division takes place between the members of the company; another may watch over them when dancing or holding a festival; and a third may take care of the drums." We now come to the fourth and last class, termed by Colonel Ellis “the Tutelary Deities of individuals.” These “deities" resemble those of the third class, inasmuch as they dwell in exactly the same sort of objects—wooden figures, stones, or a pot containing a mixture of earth and blood—but they differ from them in several important points. First, the spot from which the wood or stone or earth is taken is not a spot frequented by a local deity, but one haunted by a Sasabonsum. Next, no priest is employed or consulted by the man who wants such a suhman, as its name is. Third, though offerings are made to the suhman by its owner, they are made in private-public opinion does not approve of them. Fourth, whereas the function of the tutelary deity of a family or town-company, etc., is to protect the members of that section, “one of the special attributes of a suhman is to procure the death of any person whom its worshipper may wish to have removed ”-indeed, “the most important function of the suhman appears to be to work evil against those who have injured or offended its worshipper; its influence in other matters is very secondary.” Fifth, a suhman can communicate its own powers to other objects, and the owner of a suhman sells such charms. Finally, if a suhman does not prove efficacious, the man concludes that either a spirit does not