THE WORSHIP OF ANIMALS AND PLANTS
J. F. M'Lennan.
Part I.—Totems and Totemism.
[Extracted from Fortnightly Review, vol. 6 (1869) and vol. 7 (1870).]
Few traditions respecting the primitive condition of mankind are more remarkable, and perhaps none are more ancient, than those that have been preserved by Sanchoniatho; or rather, we should say, that are to be found in the fragments ascribed to that writer by Eusebius. They present us with an outline of the earlier stages of human progress in religious speculation, which is shown by the results of modem inquiry to be wonderfully correct. They tell us for instance that ''the first men consecrated the plants shooting out of the earth, and judged them gods, and worshipped them upon whom they themselves lived, and all their posterity, and all before them, and to these they made their meat and drink offerings.'' They further tell us that the first men believed the heavenly bodies to be animals, only differently shaped and circumstanced from any on the earth. "There were certain animals which had no sense, out of which were begotten intelligent animals .... and they were formed alike in the shape of an egg. Thus shone out Mot [the luminous vault of heaven], the sun, and the moon, and the less and the greater stars." Next they relate, in an account of the successive generations of men, that in the first generation the way was found out of taking food from trees; that, in the second, men, having suffered from droughts, began to worship the Sun—the Lord of heaven; that in the third, Light, Fire, and Flame, [conceived as persons] were begotten; that in the fourth giants, appeared; while in the fifth ''men were named from their mothers" because of the uncertainty of male parentage, this generation being distinguished also by the introduction of "pillar" worship. It was not till the twelfth generation that the gods appeared that figure most in the old mythologies, such as Kronos, Dagon, Zeus, Belus, Apollo, and Typhon; and then the queen of them all was the Bull-headed Astarte. The sum of the statements is, that men first worshipped plants; next the heavenly bodies, supposed to be animals; then "pillars" (the emblems of the Procreator); and, last of all, the anthropomorphic gods. Not the least remarkable statement is, that in primitive times there was kinship through mothers only, owing to the uncertainty of fatherhood.1
In the inquiry we are entering upon we shall have to contemplate, [p.408] more or less closely, all the stages of evolution above specified. The subjects of the inquiry are Totems and Totem-gods, or, speaking generally, animal and vegetable gods; and the order of the exposition is as follows:—First, we shall explain with some detail what Totems are, and what are their usual concomitants; showing how far they have, or have recently had, a place among existing tribes of men; and we shall throw what light we can on the intellectual condition of men in, what we may call, the Totem stage of development. Next we shall examine the evidence which goes to show that the ancient nations came, in pre-historic times, through the Totem stage, having animals and plants, and the heavenly bodies conceived as animals, for gods before the anthropomorphic gods appeared, and shall consider the explanations that have been offered of that evidence. The conclusion we shall reach is that the hypothesis that the ancient nations came through the Totem stage, satisfies all the conditions of a sound hypothesis.2
Totems.—The first thing to be explained is the Totem. The word has come into use from its being the name given by certain tribes of American Indians to the animal or plant which, from time immemorial, each of the tribes has had as its sacred or consecrated animal or plant. A proper understanding, however, of what the Totem is cannot be conveyed in a sentence, or reached otherwise than by studying the accounts we have of Totems among different tribes of men; and, therefore, for behoof of those who are not familiar with these accounts, we must go somewhat into details. Unfortunately, Totems have not yet been studied with much care. They have been regarded as being curious rather than important; and, in consequence, some points relating to them are unexplained. [p.409] As it is, we know that they prevail among two distinct groups of tribes—the American Indians, already mentioned, and the aborigines of Australia. Many more instances of their prevalence, it may be believed, will yet be brought to light. In the meantime it is some compensation for the incompleteness of the accounts that we can thoroughly trust them, as the Totem has not till now got itself mixed up with speculations, and accordingly the observers have been unbiased.
1. Totems or Kobongs in Australia.—We have an account of these from the pen of Sir George Grey, who says the natives represent their family names as having been derived from some vegetable or animal common in the district they inhabited. Each family adopts as its sign, or Kobong—a word which is the equivalent of Totem, and means, literally, a friend or protector—the animal or vegetable after which it is named. The families here referred to are not families in our sense of the word, but stock-tribes, or tribes of descent, as appears from the following statement:—
"The natives are divided into certain great families, all the members of which bear the same name as a family or second name. The principal branches of these families, so far as I have been able to ascertain, are the Ballaroke, Tdondamp, Ngotak, Nagarnook, Nogouyuk, Mongalung, and Narrangur. But in different districts the members of these families give a local name to the one to which they belong, which is understood in that district to indicate some particular branch of the principal family. The most common local names are Didaroke, Gwerrinjoke, Maleoke, Waddaroke, Djekoke, Kotejumeno,Namyungo, Yungaree. These family names are common over a great portion of the continent; for instance, on the western coast, in a tract of country extending between four and five hundred miles in latitude, members of all these families are found. ... The family names are perpetuated and spread through the country by the operation of two remarkable laws: 1st, that children (boys as well as girls) always take the family name of their mother; 2nd, that a man cannot marry a woman of his own family name."
Sir George Grey elsewhere says that "the whole race is
divided into tribes, more or less numerous according to circumstances, and
designated from the localities they inhabit, for though universally a wandering
race with respect to places of habitation, their wanderings are circumscribed by
certain well defined limits." He further notices as "a most remarkable law,''
that ''which obliges families connected by blood on the female side to join for
the purposes of defence and avenging crimes."3
From this statement it appears that we have in Australia certain great family or stock names, represented by persons in various local tribes; that the marriage law prevents any local tribe coming to consist entirely of persons of one name or stock; while the law of mutual defence and blood feud combines into what we may call [p.410] pygmies, within the local tribes, all who have the same Totem and are of the same stock. This is clear from what follows immediately after the words last quoted, namely: "All their laws are principally made up of sets of obligations due from members of the same great family towards one another—which obligations of family names are much stronger than those of blood." There are not only gentes within the local tribes, but the gentile bond is such as to constitute, in effect, a stock-tribe of all the gentes of the same family name, Totem, or Kobong, wherever they are situated.
In the work just quoted. Sir George Grey refers to his "Vocabulary of the Dialects of South-Western Australia," as giving under each family name its derivations, as far as he could collect them tram the statements of the natives. Unfortunately, he seems to have been able to collect the meaning in eight cases only, and we have been unable to enlarge the list.4 Subjoined are the derivations in the eight cases:—
1. Ballaroke. Ballar-wak, Ballar, is given in the vocabulary as a very small species of Opossum with this note: "Some natives say that the Ballaroke family derive their name from having in former times subsisted principally on this little animal." Balla-ga-ra is also a species of opossum.
2. Djin-be-nong-era, a species of duck. "The Ngo-taks formerly belonged to this class of birds, before they were changed into men."
3. Karbunga, a species of water-fowl; the mountain duck. "The No-gonyuks are said to be these birds transformed into men."
4. Kij-jin-broon, a species of water-fowl. "The Didaroke family, a branch of the Ngo-taks, are said to be these birds transformed into men."
5. Koo-la-ma, a species of water-fowl. "The Dtondarups (the second name in the list of family names) are said by the natives to be these birds transformed into men."
6. Kul-jak, a species of swan. "The family of the Ballarwaks are said to owe their origin to the transformation of these birds into men."
7. Nag-koom, a species of small fish. "From subsisting in former times principally on this fish, the Nagamook family are said to have obtained their name."
8. Nam-yum-go; an emu, the local name for the Dtondarup family in the Varse district.
In this imperfect list we have eight families, or branches of
families, derived from beasts, birds, or fishes; and in five cases ihe statement
that the tribesmen believe themselves to be of the stock of the bird or beast,
and that their progenitors had been trans- [p.411] formed into men. We have an Opossum tribe,
an Emu tribe, a Swan tribe, a Duck tribe, a Fish tribe, and three water-fowl
tribes; and along with them, we have the general statement that all the tribes
have Kobongs or Totems, animal or vegetable, after which they are named. The
Opossums are bound together by what may be called a common faith and numerous
mutual rights and obligations thence derived; so are the Emus, Ducks, and Swans;
the stock names being thereby perpetuated, while the persons having them are
diffused throughout the country by the law which makes it incest for an Opossum
to marry an Opossum, a Duck a Duck, and so on. No one has yet taken the trouble
of making the inquiry, but our persuasion is that this Totemism, as it has been
called, will be found to prevail, or have prevailed, through the whole of
Oceania. It is mentioned in the Report of the United States Exploring
Expedition5 that the great Deity of the Tahitians, Taaroa, is named from the
Taro-plant; and a legend is given which connects the Marquesan and Tahitian
traditions, in explanation of the fact of—as we infer—the prevalence of
vegetable names (presumably as tribal) both in Marquesas and Tahiti. The legend
is, that the eponymous Oataia "named his children from the various plants which
he brought with him from Vavau." The first king on the Tahitian list is Owatea,
who is identified with Oataia of the Marquesans. His wife, in either case, is
Papa—"mother of the islands"—and is the same with the wife of the great god
Taaroa.6 The Royal line is named from the Taro plant in this way: Owatea and
Papa had a deformed child whom they buried: from it sprang the Taro plant, whose
stalk is called haloa, which name they gave to their son and heir. This we must
regard as a sample of the legends which are formed on an advance from Totemism
taking place, in explanation of its origin or [p.412] relics. Karnes taken from vegetables appear
to prevail in the Sandwich Islands.
2. Totems in America.—Of these we have pretty full accounts. One is to be found in Dr. Gallatin's "Synopsis of the Indian Tribes," contained in the "Archaeologia Americana." He says:—
"Independent of political or geographical divisions [i.e., of divisions of the native races into local tribes or nations], that into families or clans has been established from time immemorial.... At .present, or till very lately, every nation was divided into a number of clans varying in the several nations from three to eight or ten, the members of which respectively were dispersed indiscriminately throughout the whole nation. It has been fully ascertained that the inviolable regulations by which those clans were perpetuated amongst the southern nations, were, first that no man could marry in his own clan;7 secondly, that every child belongs to his or her mother's clan. Among the Choctaws, there are two great divisions, each of which is subdivided into four clans; and no man can marry in any of the four clans belonging to his division. Amongst the Cherokees, the Creeks, and the Natches, the restriction does not extend beyond the clan to which the man belongs.
"There are sufficient proofs that the same division into clans, commonly called tribes, exists amongst all the other Indian nations [i.e., all the others as well as the southern Indians east of the Mississippi, of whom he is writing]. But it is not so clear that they are subject to the same regulations. According to Charlevoix, most nations are divided into three families or tribes. One of them is considered the first, and has a kind of pre-eminence. Those tribes are mixed without being confounded. Each tribe has the name of an animal. Among the Hurons, the first tribe is that of the Bear; the two others, of the Wolf and the Turtle. The Iroquois nation has the same divisions, only the Turtle family is divided into two, the Great and the Little.
"The accounts are not so explicit with respect to the Lenape tribes. Mr. Heckewelder, indeed, says that the Delawares were divided into three tribes, but one of them, the Wolf, or Minsi, had altogether separated from the others, and was a distinct nation or tribe [not ceasing, however, to be a clan in the sense now under consideration]. According to Mr. Johnston, the Shawnees have four tribes: the Chillicothe, the Piqua, the Kiskapocoke, and the Mequachake. The first two, from having given names to distinct towns, would seem to be living in separate places; but the fact that the Mequachake can alone perform the religious ceremonies of the nation gives it the character of a clan. Whether the Totem or family name of the Chippeways descends in a regular manner has not been clearly explained. But Dr. James informs us that no man is allowed to change his Totem, which descends to all the children a man may have, and that the restraint on intermarriage it imposes is scrupulously regarded. The Chippeways and kindred tribes are much more subdivided than the other Indians are into clans. Dr. James gives a catalogue of eighteen Totems, and says many more might be enumerated."8
The Totems, and the restraints they impose, are found with the Iroquois as with the Delawares and Sioux tribes. The Omahaws (among the Sioux) are in two great tribes, the one divided into eight, the other into five bands.
"Each of these bands derives its name from some animal, part of an animal, or other substance, which is considered as the peculiar sacred object, or Medicine, [p.413] as the Canadians call it, of the band. The most ancient is that of the red maize; the most powerful, that of the Wose-Ishta ("Male-deer"). The Puncas are divided into similar hands."9
We have made these long citations because they show us the Totems or Kobongs, as
in Australia, descending as a general rule under the same system of kinship
(through mothers only), and attended by the same law of intermarriage, namely
exogamy, leading to the interfusion of the stock tribes throughout the country;
and the constitution into Gentes in the local tribes of all persons haying the
same Totem. The laws of blood-feud, of mutual rights and obligations between
those of the same stock, constitute stock-tribes of all having the same Totem.10
And we can see in the account cited how, at a stage considerably in advance of
the Australian, the solidarity of the Gentes in the local tribes has under these
laws become so great as to enable the Gentes, in some cases, to withdraw from
the local tribes, in which they were developed, and stand, like the Wolves of
the Delawares, by themselves, in local tribes of one stock. On a change of
kinship, which would permit the Totem to descend from the father instead of the
mother—as it is said to do among the Chippeways—the Gentes would, even supposing
exogamy to continue in force, become permanent homogeneous groups after their
Let us obtain a list of the American Totems.
"Nearly all, if not all, of the Indian nations upon this continent," says Mr. Lewis H. Morgan, of Rochester, State of New York, "were anciently sub-divided into Tribes or Families. These tribes, with a few exceptions, were named after animals. Many of them are now thus subdivided [so they have been advancing]. It is so with the Iroquois, Delawares, Iowas. Creeks, Mohaves, Wyandottes, Winnebagoes, Otoes, Kaws, Shawnees, Chootaws, Otawas, Objibewas, Potowottomies, &c. [We can supply from the "Archaeologia Americana" the Cherokees, Natches, and Sioux.]
"The following tribes [or families] are known to exist, or to have existed, in the several Indian nations—the number ranging from three to eighteen in each. The Wolf, Bear, Beaver, Turtle, Deer, Snipe, Heron, Hawk, Crane, Duck, Loon, Turkey, Musk-rat, Sable, Pike, Cat-fish, Sturgeon, Carp, BuffaIo, Elk, Reindeer, Eagle, Hare, Rabbit, and Snake; also the Reed-grass, Sand, Water, Rock, and Tobacco-plant."11
To this list we may add from the "Archaeologia" and other sources, the Tortoise, the Turtle—in two divisions, the Great Turtle and the Little Turtle—the Red-Maize, the Male Deer, the Wind, the Tiger, the Bird, the Root, the Birch-rind, the Thick-wood, the Sheep, the Brush-wood, the Moose-deer, the Cat, the Trout, the Leaves, the Crow, the Sun, the Rising Sun, and the Grey Snow, the Sun and the Snow being regarded as beings. There are thus forty-eight Totems enumerated for American tribes, not counting the Male Deer or the Little Turtle, and we know there were others.
The following quotation from the "Archaeologia'' illustrates the effect of these names on narratives respecting the tribes and the actings of the tribes-men or tribes-women:—
"Some superiority is everywhere ascribed to one of the clans:—to the Unamis ('the Tortoise') among the Delawares; to the Wase-ishta ('Male-deer') among the Omahaws; to the Bear tribe among the Hurons and five nations. Charlevoix says that when the Mohawks put to death Father Ioguese it was the work of the Bear [clan] alone, and notwithstanding all the efforts of the Wolf and the Turtle to save him."12
Of course the indefinite article would be employed, instead of the definite, in
speaking of individuals. The Bear, is the tribe or clan; a Bear, a tribesman. In
speaking of their marriages, it would be said, for instance, that "a Bear
married. a Wolf," and "a Turtle a Beaver." In cases of nursing, a man's
foster-mother might be a She-Wolf, a She-Bear, or a Tigress.
3. Relations between Men and Totems.—Let us now see how these who have Totems regard them; and what, generally speaking, are their religious views. Grey says that "there is a mysterious connection between an Australian and his Kobong, be it animal or vegetable." It is his "friend" or "protector," and is thus much like the "genius" of the early Italian. If it is an animal, he will not kill one of the species to which it belongs, should he find it asleep; he always kills it reluctantly, and never without affording it a chance of escape. "The family belief," says Sir George, "is that some one individual of the species is their dearest friend, to kill whom would be a great crime. So a native who has a vegetable Kobong may not gather it under certain circumstances, and at a particular period of the year."13 We previously saw that the belief, in certain cases at least, is that the family were of the species of the Totem before they were turned into men.
It may be asked. What are their views of the power by which these transformations were effected? We cannot answer this question; but one thing seems to be clear, that their speculations have not carried them as yet beyond the contemplation of the material terrestrial world they inhabit, and that in that world everything is to them at once material and spiritual, the animate and the inanimate being almost undistinguished. Like many races in Africa, they do not believe in death from natural causes, and think they would live for ever were it not for murderers and sorcerers. The latter they call Boyl-as. A Boyl-a gets powers over a man if he obtains possession of anything that is his.14 A Boyl-a may cause death in many ways; he may cause a man to be killed "by accident," or he may render himself invisible and come nightly and "feast" on his [p.415] victim's flesh. He can transport himself through the air at pleasure; and when he makes himself invisible, he can be seen only by other Boyl-as. He enters his victim like a piece of quartz, and as such may be drawn out of him by the enchantments of friendly Boyl-as. Pieces of quartz that have been so drawn out are preserved as the greatest curiosities. As some one is always the cause of death, the law is that when any one dies, some one else must be killed—the Boyl-a, or the murderer, or some relative of the one or the other. Of course the Boyl-as are objects of great dread. They consume the flesh of their victims slowly, as fire would;15 they can hear from afar; they come "moving along in the sky;'' and they can only be counteracted by other Boyl-as. Besides the Boyl-as, there is another object of terror—the Wau-gul. It is an aquatic monster, residing in fresh water, and has supernatural powers. It also can ''consume" the natives like the Boyl-as; but it confines its action mostly to women, who pine away almost imperceptibly and die. Nightmare is caused by an evil spirit that may be driven away by muttering imprecations and twirling a burning brand. Shining stones or pieces of crystal, called "Teyl," they respect almost to veneration. None but Boyl-as venture to touch them. They believe in ghosts; and on one occasion Sir George Grey was taken by an old lady to be the ghost of her son, who had lately died! Such is the creed of this primitive race. They have no God in the proper sense of the word; and the only benign beings they know are their Totems. The Boyl-as of course practise imposture,16 but are probably self-deluded as well to a great extent. Speculation has not reached as yet among them to the heavens. Their supematurals are all naturals, for even the Wau-gul—no doubt a convenient fiction of the Boyl-as for protection under the law of retaliation, and perhaps also in explanation to themselves of deaths they know they had nothing to do with—is a living creature, the tenant of a stream or lake. Even their ghosts may return to them, if precautions are not taken to secure them in their burying-places—their "houses," as they are called, and in which, even after death, they are not incapable of action.17
It will have been seen that the Totems are, as we may say, religiously regarded by the Australians, and that the Boyl-as resemble the genii of the Arabian Nights, excepting that while they are genii they are also men. The Wau-gul might well grow into the water- [p.416] kelpie, water-horse or bull. It would be curious to know whether it is a fish or an aquatic kangaroo or opossum!
The American Indians, though they occupy a distinctly higher platform, have still much in common with the aborigines of Australia. Dr. Gay, who resided for several weeks among the Omahaws, states that among them the Totem of each band ''is considered as the peculiar sacred object (Medicine, the Canadians call it) of the band,"18 and all we know supports the view that in every case the Totem is religiously regarded. One author, Mr. Long, in a work published in 1791, describing the manners and customs of the North American Indians, holds Totemism to be a religious superstition, and says the Indian believes that his Totem, "or favourite spirit," watches over him. "The Totem," he says, "they conceive, assumes the shape of some beast or other, and therefore they never kill him, or eat the animal whose form they think the Totem bears."19 In illustration of the truth of this, he relates what once befell an Indian whose Totem was the bear. The man dreamed he should find a herd of elks, moose, &c., at a certain place, if he went thither. Having a superstitious reverence for his dream, he went—unaccompanied, as he could get no one to go with him—saw the herd, fired, and shot a bear!" "Shocked at the transaction," says Mr. Long, "and dreading the displeasure of the Master of Life, whom he conceived he had offended, he fell down and lay senseless for some time." On recovering, and finding that nothing had befallen him, he hastened towards his home, when (according to his own report) he was met on the way by a large bear, who (he narrated) asked him what had induced him to kill his Totem. On explaining the circumstances and his misfortune, he was forgiven, but was dismissed with a caution to be communicated to the Indians, ''that their Totems might be safe, and the Master of Life not angry with them." "As he entered my house," says Mr. Long, who writes as if he saw the man immediately after his accident, "he looked at me very earnestly, and pronounced these words in his own language, 'Beaver, my faith is lost; my Totem is angry; I shall never be able to hunt any more.'" Should one be surprised to find that admonitory bear of the man's imagination worshipped as a god further on in the history of Bear tribes advancing undisturbed by external influences, correlated with the Master of Life in the Olympus, or even preferred to, or identified with him? The Master of Life of this story, we infer from other passages in the [p.417] work quoted, is Kitchu Manitoo, a high rock in Lake Superior, which is worshipped as a god by the Chippeway Indians, and also by the Mathangweessawauks, whoever they may be.20 Is Kitchu Manitoo, it may be asked, the commencement of pillar-worship, of Siva-ism? He is the Master of Life, and, in some tribes, the Great Spirit. The accounts of him are most vague, and show a faith shading up from the "great black man in the woods" of the Fuegians to the Master of Life, with a high rock for his representation, and thence to the Great Spirit—who had no representation—whose temple the Incas are said to have found standing and deserted on their arrival at Cuzco. In two cases only have we certain information of the ideas of God which the Indians entertained. (1) In Gookin's History of the "Christian Indians'' is preserved a contract in the form of question and answer between them and our Government. It opens as follows: "Qu. 1. To worship the only true God, who made heaven and earth. Ans. We do desire to reverence the God of the English, because we see he doth better to the English than other gods do to others." (2) Of the Pawnees, whose "Great Spirit" is Nahcondu, Dr. Gallatin writes, "Like all other Indians, they put more faith in their dreams, omens, and jugglers, in the power of imaginary deities of their own creation, and of those consecrated relics (the Totems) to which the Canadians have given the singular appellation of Medicine."21
The American Indians, like the aborigines of Australia, regarded themselves, we have every reason to believe, as being of the breed of the Totem. We know this was the view of the Sun-tribes—which we shall notice presently—and of several Snake-tribes. That the Caribs were of the stock of the Serpent we learn from Mr. Brett.22 And on this point—the regular authorities being silent—we are entitled, we think, to found on evidence furnished by Mr. Fenimore Cooper. His view appears in "The Last of the Mohicans." Magna, a Fox, with a party of warriors, comprising a Beaver, happening to pass a colony of real beavers, the Beaver refused to pass without addressing his kinsfolk. "There would have been a species of profanity in the omission," says Mr. Cooper, "had this man passed so powerful a community of his fancied kinsmen without bestowing some evidence of regard. Accordingly, he paused and spoke in words as kind and friendly as if he were addressing more intelligent beings. He called the animals his cousins," and so on, concluding his address by begging them to bestow on his tribe "a portion of the [p.418] wisdom for which they were so renowned." Incas, again, Mr. Cooper represents as claiming to be of the stock of die Tortoise, "that great-grandfather of all nations;" and, indeed, all his Indians appear to regard themselves, and one another, as inheritors of mental and physical qualities from their respective Totems.
One other and last relation between the Totem and its owners, both in America and Australia, remains to be noticed. Grey tells us that the Australians use the Totem as the family crest or ensign, and expresses the opinion that our heraldic bearings are traces of the Totem stage lingering in civilised nations. It is well known that the Totem was also used as an ensign by the American Indians, who tattooed the figure of it on their bodies, and, not content with this, painted and dressed themselves so as to resemble it. Every reader of stories about these Indians must be familiar with the fact. Magua, for example, in the beaver scene, from the account of which we have just quoted, wore ''his ancient garb, bearing the outline of a fox on the dressed skin which formed his robe;" while the Beaver chief "carried the beaver as his peculiar symbol." The accounts we have of the old Mexicans in war show that they had similar badges: every chief having his sign—an animal, or animals head, or a plant; and every company having a similar symbol on its standard.
4. Traditions of Totems in Central Asia.—The Totem stage appears to have been passed through by numerous tribes of Central Asia. KM. Valikhanof inform us that a heritage of the nomadic races in that part of the world is a profound regard for, and an abundance of traditions respecting old times, preserved by their elders in legends and ballads, and that these traditions refer the origin of their tribes to animals as progenitors.
"The story of the origin of the Dikokamenni Kirghiz," they say,23 "the red greyhound and a certain queen with her forty handmaidens is of ancient date. A characteristic feature in Central Asiatic traditions is the derivation of their origin from some animal. According to the testimony of Chinese history the Goa-qui (Kaotsche), otherwise known as the Tele or Chili people, sprang from a wolf and a beautiful Hun princess ... who married the wolf. The Tugns (called the Dulgasses by Pere Hyacinthe) professed to derive their origin from a she-wolf; and the Tufans (Thibetians) from a dog. The Chinese assert that Balachi, hereditary chief of the Mongol Khans, was the son of a blue wolf and a white hind.24 [The authority cited for this is "Memoires relatifs a l'Asie," by Klaproth, p. 204.] ... It is evident from these instances that this kind of tradition in Central Asia and America is the most ancient, and eyen seems to be regarded as a descent to be proud of. The out-spoken yet exalted tone of the Kirghiz legends, considered indecent by the present [p.419] generation of Kirghiz, is a strong proof that they have descended in their original form. The tradition of the origin of the ninety-nine Kipebuk branches has been preserved among the Uzbeks and Kaisaks in such an indelicate shape that it is doubtful whether it will ever be possible to present it to the general reader."
It is accordingly not given; but surely the essence might have been, though not
the shape. We learn from the same authorities that the genealogical tables of
the Kaisaks, Uzbeks, and Kogais, show that "they are a medley of different
Turkish and Mongol tribes." The names of several tribes are given, but none have
been examined etymologically to ascertain whether they comprise the names of
animals or plants. The interfusion, or "medley," of the tribes (we are without a
statement of the origin of it, but nearly all these tribes are exogamous, that
is, prohibit marriage within the clan), and the general statement (though it is
feebly supported by details) that they draw their origin back to animals, make
it probable that we have in the Kirghiz, Uzbeks, and Nogais a series of tribes
that anciently passed through the Totem stage. This view is confirmed by what
was recently stated at a meeting of the Geographical Society by Captain T. G.
Montgomerie; namely, that round Cashmere, and among the aboriginal hill tribes
on the Himalayan slopes, tribes of men are usually (or frequently, we have not
the report before us), named, or we think he said "nicknamed" from animals now.
If so, we may believe inquiry will bring to light a series of tribes in that
quarter still existing in the Totem stage. The statement was made in support of
the hypothesis that an Ant tribe had existed to the north of Cashmere, put
forward in explanation of what Herodotus relates that the gold-fields there were
worked by ants.
5. The Sun as a Totem: hints of a Totem Olympus.—We saw that in the local tribes or nations in America, some one of the tribes of descent had a superiority ascribed to it—that the Bear, for instance, was the leading tribe among the Hurons. This superiority infers subordination, of course; in other words, a political system. It is stated in the Archaeologia that "it is among the batches alone that we find, connected together, a highly privileged class, a despotic government and something like a regular form of religious worship." The Notches occupied three villages near the town that has preserved their name, and were in four clans. What their Totems were is not stated; but "the privileged class" and the sovereign had for their Totem the sun. This seems a legitimate inference from their being called Suns, and claiming to be descended from the sun—the Sun-tribe being so far like any other. "The hereditary dignity of Chief, or Great Sun," we are told, "descended as usual by the female line, and he, as well as all the other members of his clan, whether male or female, could only marry persons of an inferior [e.g., another] clan."25 [p.420] That is, the clan or tribe was in the same case with any other, except that it was dominant as the Bear was among the Hurons.26 A Sun could not marry a Sun any more than a Beaver could many a Beaver; and the Sun name was taken from the mother.
If the sun could become a Totem, why not the moon? That they were both beings we can see in numerous cases; we have distinct proof of it among the Indians in the case of the Chippeways.27 If they were Totems they will explain for us the Solar and Lunar races of the Aryans. We have them in Peru as married persons, and also as brother and sister. The Incas were Suns, as their name and all the traditions imply—a Sun-tribe, nothing less or more; their first parents, children of the sun, sent to the earth to found society, as the reader may see in Prescott's opening chapters. Acosta tells us the brother of the Inca succeeded in preference to his sons,28 and if so, this points to kinship among the Peruvian Sun-tribe, having been at one time through mothers only—a note of the Totem stage. The pride of power led the tribe to give up exogamy and become a caste; but then to keep the stock pure, the Inca always married a sister, and when a son succeeded, it was as heir of the Coya, the lawful sister- queen, showing the lingering preference for the mother's side. We infer the presence of Sun-tribes among the Hurons, the Bayagoulas, now extinct, the Cherokees, the Choctaws, and the Caddoes of Red River, all of whom there is reason to believe more or less formally worshipped the sun. The Katches had sun temples and perpetual fires.29 The Sun-tribes may have been very powerful, but it is only what we should expect, among a race simple enough to believe anything, that a peculiar sanctity, and corresponding privileges, would readily be conceded to those believed to be descended from the great Lord of Day; and that the supremacy in many groups should on this account be the more readily obtained by the solar-stock. It is also apparent that this Totem might well command a general veneration—the worship of all the tribes in the group; but it is equally mani- [p.421] fest that the Sun would not, any more than the Master of Life, where it took the first place in the State religion, interfere with the allegiance due from the stock tribes composing the nation to their respective Totems. The Incas, as Mr. Prescott points out, had the good policy to collect all the tribal gods into their temples in and round Cuzco, in which the two leading gods were the Master of Life and the sun. In the temples, Mr. Prescott tells us, "there were animals also to be found,'' but he does not specify them, stating only that "the llama with its golden fleece was the most conspicuous." Were these animals the Totems, or their emblems, of our friends the Bears and Beavers?30
6. Totem Gods—a Totem Olympus.—Among the Fijians we find a state of affairs such as may have preceded the consolidation of the monarchy and the Olympus of the Incas. They are proud of their pedigrees, and Toki, one of their chiefs, claims to be the descendant of a Turtle. Others have fishes for their progenitors. Their greatest god, the Creator, who is omniscient, omnipotent, and so on, in the opinion of his special votaries, is Nuengei, "whose shrine is the Serpent." Some of their gods are "enshrined" in birds, fishes, or plants; some, in the same way, in men. Their second god in importance is Tui Lakemba, who claims the Hawk as his shrine; but another god disputes his right, and claims the Hawk for himself. The Shark is a great god; also the Crab. "One god," says Mr. Williams, "is supposed to inhabit the eel, and another the common fowl, and so on, until nearly every animal becomes the shrine of some deity. He who worships the Eel-god must never eat of that fish, and thus of the rest; so that some are tabu from eating human flesh because the shrine of their god is in a man. .... The Land-Crab is the shrine of Roko Suka, formerly worshipped in Tiliva, where land-crabs are rarely seen." When a land-crab favours them with a call, they make formal presents to him, "to prevent the deity leaving with the impression that he was neglected, and visiting his remiss worshippers with drought, dearth, or death." These gods are tribal, and no one can doubt but they are Totems [p.422] who have made such progress as we above suggested the Bear might make, and are become the objects of a more or less regular worship—the Serpent-tribe dominant, and the Hawk-tribe in the second place. The Men-gods are a new element in the Olympus; but the appear as "shrines" merely like the other animals, and were no doubt arrived at by an extension to man of conclusions speculatively reached as to the nature of Totem-gods in general. The Fijians have filled the world with spirits and demons. They are incessantly plagued by ghosts, witches, or wizards. Vegetables and stones, nay, even tools and weapons, pots and canoes, have souls that are immortal, and that, like the souls of men, pass on at last to Jf&u/u, the abode of departed spirits. They worship pillars and rocks; but, so far as we know, they do not worship the Sun unless their men- gods are of the solar stock.31
7. The mental condition of men in the Totem stage.—The state of mind of men in the Totem stage is familiar enough, from the accounts we have of the lower races of men. The absence of scientific knowledge nowise implies an absence of speculation; it rather necessitates the presence of a great amount of it. Some explanation of the phenomena of life a man must feign for himself; and to judge from the universality of it, the simplest hypothesis, and the first to occur to men, seems to have been that natural phenomena are ascribable to the presence in animals, plants, and things, and in the forces of nature, of such spirits prompting to action as men are conscious they themselves possess. So far as we know, this has been at some time or other the faith of all the races of men; and again, so far as we know, it is a faith that has nowhere been given up as unsatisfactory otherwise than gradually on its being perceived, from case to case, that the behaviour of the forces of nature and of the bodies they act upon is not wayward or wilful, but conformable to law; and until the law has been ascertained. This animation hypothesis, held as a truth, is at the root of all the mythologies. It has been called Fetichism; which, according to the common accounts of it, ascribes a life and personality resembling our own, not only to animals and plants, but to rocks, mountains,32 streams, winds, the heavenly bodies, the earth itself, and even the heavens. Fetichism thus resembles Totemism; which, indeed, is Fetichism plus certain peculiarities. These peculiarities are, (1) the appropriation of a special Fetich to the tribe, (2) its hereditary transmission through mothers, and (3) its connection with the jus connubii. Our own belief is that the accompaniments of Fetichism have not been well observed, and that it will [p.423] yet be found that in many cases the Fetich is the Totem. Be that as it may, we may safely affirm that as Fetichism dies slowly, withdrawing its spirits from one sphere after another on their being brought within the domain of science, so it grew slowly through various stages of development, bringing the realms of nature one by one within the scope of the hypothesis which is its foundation. Our information is incomplete; but from all we know, the aborigines of Australia are, as theorists, far in advance of the Bushmen, Veddahs, Andamans, and Fuegians, while it appears they themselves have many steps to take before reaching the fulness of the animism of some American Indians. They have not yet, for example, so far as we know, vivified the heavenly bodies. The Indians, again, have not yet advanced so far as the New Zealanders, who assign spirits to groves and forests,33 as did the Greeks and Romans, while none of the peoples last mentioned reached that perfection of Fetichism allied to an ontology which is Pantheism.34
The justification of the statement that there is no race of men that has not come through this primitive stage of speculative belief, will be found in this exposition in its entirety.35 We may here say that such a stage is demonstrated for the Hindoos and Egyptians by their doctrine of transmigration. It is of the essence of that doctrine that everything has a soul or spirit, and that the spirits are mostly human in the sense of having once been in human bodies. All the spirits are of course ultimately divine—detached portions of the Deity.
We find in the Code of Manu that "vegetables, and mineral-substances, worms, insects, reptiles—some very minute, some rather larger—fishes, snakes, tortoises, cattle, shakals, are the lowest forms to which the dark quality leads [the soul of a man]."36 A man may after death, according to the shade of the dark quality, become an elephant, horse, lion, tiger, boar, or a man of the servile class; while, in virtue of the good quality, he may rise to the rank of the genii, to be a regent of the stars, or even a god. This implies, of course, the existence of spirits resembling our own of various ranks, from those that dwell in minerals and vegetables up to that of Brahma. We have a similar implication from the Egyptian doctrine. Let us consider how such a doctrine could have arisen.37
The doctrine connects itself at once with the Cosmogony and with ethics. Mann's
account of the genesis, from the first divine idea to the seed and the golden
egg and the waters; to the Vedas milked out from fire, air, and the sun; and to
the final evolution of all Beings, animals, and vegetables, will be admitted to
be as unscientific, or foolish, as anything the Australians could devise,
supposing them to have imagination enough to shape so grand a theory; and it is
not a whit more ingenious than the Australian view of life, taking success in
getting at the truth as the test of ingenuity. The truth, it may be said, is
beyond the reach of speculation. No doubt; this fantastical doctrine, however,
may safely be assumed not to contain it. "A transmigratory soul" is not an
hypothesis like phlogiston: the latter explained some facts; the former, none.
How then did it arise? It resulted from ethical considerations, and the theory
of the Cosmos. But whence came the latter? Its source, we think, is indubitable.
It was a speculation to explain the facts, real and imaginary, of existence.
That is, in the order of events, Fetichism, which assigns ''souls" to all
things, came first, and afterwards the cosmical theory, which explained,
inter alia, "the souls of all things," the ethical doctrine regulating their
transferences merely. In other words, had the "souls" not been pre-existing we
should not have had the theory—an unquestionable product of human effort to
explain facts—nor anything resembling it. This we submit is the common-sense
view. The doctrine supervened on a system of ideas comprising all the elements
with which it had to deal. The windows in heaven, and the firmament separating
the waters above from the waters below them, do not more clearly demonstrate the
old theory of rain, than this doctrine demonstrates pre-existing Fetichism.
That the doctrine of transmigration was invented at a pretty late date in the progress of the Hindu races we may be certain. There is but one sentence in the Rig-Veda (Hymn i. 164) which has even been supposed to imply transmigration, and it does not do so, we are assured, when the words are taken literally in their usual sense. Yet the belief in the soul's life after death may be traced in some of the hymns of the Veda. This belief, however, assumes many forms, and the present writer has no certain information as to its Vedic form. Of the forms it assumes many are highly curious. The Australian and Fijian we saw. Among the Tahitians human souls were supposed to be the food of their god, and they offered to him [p.425] human sacrifices that he might be fed. The Khonds have a limited quantity of soul as tribal property, and they explain their female infanticide by saying that the fewer their women are the more soul there will be for the men. The customs of some tribes in Madagascar show that they think that one man may have several souls; and not a few tribes, holding that the souls of the dead return in their new-born babies, bury in the houses or near the doors to facilitate the return.
It is familiar that men everywhere in ancient times believed spirits to inhabit trees and groves, and to move in the winds and stars, and that they personified almost every phase of nature. We have now seen that such beliefs cannot be regarded as having been deduced from the grander doctrines of the ancient religions; but that the latter must be regarded as having been constructed upon such beliefs as their foundations. Demons and Genii, and the spirits of plants and minerals, were older than Brahma; let us hope they will not survive him. They are everywhere lively still, even in the most advanced nations; and we have not to go very far back in time to find them playing a most important part in our medical theories. Demons—a species of disembodied Boyl-as—were connected with diseases by the Jews and early Christians, and it is familiar how on one occasion when driven out of a man they entered into a herd of swine. The genii of the early Italians—so like the Totem—are familiar, and even more so are the genii of the Arabian Nights. The Mahometans, if they are true to their prophet, must still believe in them. In that very curious book "Mishcat-ul-Mas'abih" a record of the sayings and doings of the prophet, bearing to be made by those who knew him best—his wives and disciples—we find the following, which is pertinent to our subject:—
"Ibn-Omer said, 'I heard his highness say, "Kill snakes, and kill the snake which has two black lines upon its back, and kill the snake called abter, on account of its small tail; for verily these two kinds of snake blind the eyes as soon as they are looked at; and if a pregnant woman should see them, she would miscarry from fright." Ibn-Omer says, 'Just as I was about killing a snake, Abu-Lab-Bahansri called out to me not to kill it. Then I said, "His highness ordered me to kill them; why do you forbid?" He said, "His highness, after giving the order for killing them, said, You must not kill the snakes that live in the houses, because they are not snakes, but a kind of genii." Abii-Sayib said, 'We went to Abu-Said-Khud'hri; and whilst we were sitting, we heard a shaking under his bedstead; and we looked and saw a snake. Then I got up to kill it, and Abu-Said was saying his prayers, and he made a sign to me to sit down, and I did so. And when ho had finished his prayers, he made a sign towards a room in his house, and said, "There was a youth in my family lived there who had newly married." Then Abu-Said said, "We came out of Medinah along with the Prophet, to a trench which was digging for fighting, and this youth would ask the Prophet's permission to return to his house every day at noon, which was granted. Then one day the youth asked his highnesses leave, who said. Put on your armour, because I am alarmed about you, from the evil designs of the tribe of Beni-Kuraidhah. Then the [p.426] youth took his arms, and returned towards his house; and when he arrived, he saw his wife standing between two doors; and the youth was about piercing her with a spear, being seized with jealousy at seeing her standing out of hit room; and she said, Withhold your spear, and come into the room that you may see what has brought me out. Then the youth went into the room, and beheld a large snake coiled up sleeping upon his bed, and he struck his spear into the snake; then the snake attacked the youth, and bit him, and it was not known which of them died first, the snake or the youth. Then I went to the Prophet and mentioned the occurrence, and said, Supplicate God to give life to the youth. Then his highness said, Ask God to forgive your friend; wherefore do you wish a prayer to be made for his life? After that he said, In these houses are the genii, some of them believers, and some infidels; therefore when you see anything of those inhabitants turn them out, but do not hurry in killing them, but say, Do not incommode me; if you do, I shall kill you. Then if he goes away, so much the better; but if not, kill it because it is an infidel genius. And his highness said to the youth's tribe, Take him away and bury him. And in one tradition it is thus that his highness said, Verily there are genii in Medinah which have embraced Islam; then when you see any one of them, warn him three days; and if he appears after that, kill him, because he is none but an infidel." Omm Sharic said, 'His highness ordered a chameleon to be killed, and said, "It was a chameleon which blew the fire into which Nimrod threw Abraham."' ... Abuhurairah 'A. G. S. "An ant bit a prophet, and he ordered the ant-hill to be burnt, which was done. Then God sent a voice to the prophet, saying, Have you burnt, on account of one biting you, a whole multitude of those that remembered God, and repeated his name?"'38
His highness's scientific views on other subjects were in keeping with his
zoology. "The genii," he lays it down, "are of three kinds. One kind have wings
and fly, another are snakes and dogs, and the third move about from place to
place like men."39 The third are not so unlike the Boyl-as. In Mahomet's system
the devil and bad genii are at the root of all diseases except fever, which
results from the heat of hell-fire, an element of which the Australians are as
yet ignorant. He believed, of course, in the evil eye, and in spells and
amulets, as so many of us still do; but perhaps he nowhere appears to more
advantage than in his astronomy. Stars, he says, were created for three
purposes—to embellish the regions, to stone the devil, and for guidance in the
forest and on the sea. Our poor wolves, because beavers, and opossums, must be
tenderly regarded, and may, we think, be believed to be thoroughly earnest in
their faith, when views like these appear as propounded by the founder of one of
the greatest existing religions. Of the traces of Fetichism among the Greeks and
Romans, it would be waste of time to say anything.
We have said enough to prepare the reader for the examination we are about to enter upon, of the evidence of the worship of animals and vegetables among the ancients; to give him the feeling that it is not very improbable that in classical regions we shall find Totems, or something like them.
Let us, however, before proceeding with that examination, state the results we have reached. We have found that there are tribes of men (called primitive) now existing on the earth in the Totem stage, each named after some animal or plant, which is its symbol or ensign, and which by the tribesmen is religiously regarded; having kinship through mothers only, and exogamy as their marriage law. In several cases we have seen, the tribesmen believe themselves to be descended from the Totem, and in every case to be, nominally at least, of its breed or species. We have seen a relation existing between the tribesmen and their Totem, as in the case of the bear, that might well grow into that of worshipper and god, leading to the establishment of religious ceremonials to allay the Totem's just anger, or secure his continued protection. We have seen in the case of the sun, conceived as a being, and having his tribe like any other animal, a first place acquired and the honours of a regular worship among tribes still in the Totem stage, and that it is not improbable the cultus of other Totems became regular as sun worship advanced; and in the case of the Fijians, where the serpent and not the sun introduced regular religious observances, we have a more or less regular worship of the other Totems—as we seem entitled to consider them—advanced to the status of gods.40 We have also seen that while the intellectual condition of men that accompanies Totemism is well established for all the lower races of men now existing, there is much evidence that the higher races had anciently been in a similar condition. We have Totemism in various phases attending that condition, and having reason to think that the higher races had once been in the same condition, we have a probability that they also may once have had Totems.
THE WORSHIP OF ANIMALS AND PLANTS
Part II.—Totem-gods among the Ancients.
We now proceed to examine the case of the ancient nations.
Inasmuch as these had, before the dawn of their histories, advanced far in
civilisation (otherwise their histories, which depend on monuments and literary
records, could not have commenced) we should expect that in the interval which
intervened between their being in the Totem stage—supposing they were ever in
it—and the beginning of authentic records, the Totems, if they were to become
gods, would be promoted to a distinct place as the gods of the tribes that
possessed them, and be the objects to them of regular religious worship. Looking
again to the results of exogamy and female kinship, we might expect that while
here and there, perhaps, a tribe might appear with a single animal god, as a
general rule tribes and nations should have as many animal and vegetable gods as
there were distinct stocks in the population. Some one animal we should expect
to find in a first place among the animal gods of a people as being the god of
the dominant tribe; bat we should not expect to find the same animal dominant in
all quarters, or worshipped even everywhere within the same nation Moreover,
since if the ancient nations came through the Totem stage their animal and
vegetable gods must have been of more ancient standing than the anthropomorphic
gods, such as Zeus, Apollo, and Poseidon, we should expect to find in the sacred
legends some hints of that priority.. If we find any great number of such gods
worshipped by the ancients, and if we find hints of their priority; still more
if we find tribes named after the sacred animals, and having them for their
ensigns; and, lastly, should we find the worshippers believing themselves to be,
or having traditions, such as the Korghiz have, that they were of the stock or
breed of the animal they worshipped—then we think we may safely conclude that so
many concurring indications of the Totem stage having been passed through are
not misleading—that, in fact, the ancient nations had in the prehistoric times
been in the same case as that in which we now find the natives of Australia. It
will be a confirmation of this conclusion should we find the hypothesis that
they had been in the Totem stage, to make intelligible numerous legends that
have hitherto appeared entirely without meaning. It will be a further
confirmation should we find that there is evidence that the ancient nations had
been exogamous, and had the system of kinship through females only. What
evidence then have we to show that the ancient nations
[p.563] came through the Totem stage? If they did, it was in prehistoric
times. About these we have some facts preserved in the signs of the Zodiac, the
majority of which are animals, or compounds of human and animal forms. We have
another set of facts in the fanciful forms of those constellations which were
figured, prehistorically, in animal forms.41
Some of the stellar groups, we know, were named after gods or deified heroes. Were the animal groups named after gods also, or how was it the animals came to be promoted to the heavens? There is nothing in the grouping of the stars to suggest the animal forms: no one can seriously pretend to perceive materials for any such suggestion. The stars, we must believe, were long familiar objects of study and observation before they were grouped and named; that they were conceived to be beings we may say we know. How came the early students of the heavens to name the groups from animals, and even many of the individual stars? The probability is, that in ancient as in modern times, stars, when named, were given names of distinction, that commanded respect, if not veneration; and the suggestion therefore is, that the animals whose names were transferred to the stars or stellar groups, were on earth highly if not religiously regarded. The legends that have come down to us explanatory of the transference to the heavens of particular animals, bear out this suggestion. It will immediately be shown that nearly all the animals so honoured were anciently worshipped as gods.
Let us see what the animals are. There is first of all the serpent in the constellation Serpentarius, which some said represented Aesculapius; there are also Scorpio and Draco—the scorpion and dragon; there is the horse—Pegasus; the bull—Taurus; the lion—Leo; the dog—Canis (major and minor); the swan—Cygnus; the doves (according to some)—the Pleiades; the ram—Aries; the goat—Capricornus; the fishes—Pisces; the bear—Ursa (major and minor); the crab—Cancer; and the asses' colts—the Aselli. There are others, but this selection will suffice for our purposes at present.
1. The Serpent.—We take the case of the serpent first, because [p.564] for several reasons it has been more studied than any other. The serpent faith was very wide-spread, and it has attracted special notice from the part assigned to the serpent in Genesis in connection with the fall of man. Faber and Bryant have both pretty fully investigated this subject, which has also been treated in a separate work by Mr. Bathurst Deane.42 Lately (in 1864) M. Boudin handled it in what may be called a large pamphlet rather than a book,43 and last year Mr. Fergusson's elaborate work44 threw much light upon it, at the same time that it has done more than any previous work to draw public attention to this extraordinary religion.
It is unnecessary to adduce the evidence which establishes the prevalence, in ancient and modem times, of this worship. It is a fact conceded on all hands, and in Mr. Fergusson's book it is demonstrated. That work, also, is very important in this respect, that it abounds in photographic illustrations from the Buddhist Topes of Sanchi and Amravati, which enable the reader to realise the fact that the worship was real worship. Men and women are exhibited in the sculptures in the act of adoring the Serpent God, so that the actuality of the worship is, by the book, as vividly impressed on the mind as it could be by attendance at divine service in a Serpent Temple—say at Cambodia. In Cambodia, indeed, one would have found the god to be a living serpent—a Totem—whereas these sculptures show that the living serpent had, among the Buddhists, lost rank, the god being a heavenly (Ophi-morphic) being whose symbol was a serpent of five, seven, or nine heads, such as never had been seen upon earth. In short, we are enabled to see from Mr. Fergusson's work that the serpent religion, starting from the worship of the living animal as its root, had grown into a refined faith, comprising a belief in a spirit world in which the Serpent God held high rank; and in an Olympus in which other gods were combined with him, and in which, below the gods, were angelic beings of various orders of standing and power. It is remarkable that the divine nature of these angelic beings in human form is demonstrated by serpents springing from behind their backs or from their shoulders, as the divinity of angels and cherubs in our own symbolism is indicated by their wings.
Mr. Fergusson's introductory essay shows that the worship of the serpent has, at some time or other, found a place in the religious system of every race of men. It had its place in Egypt and in Palestine, even among the Hebrews; in Tyre and Babylon, in Greece and Rome; among the Celts and Scandinavians in Europe; in Persia and Arabia; in Cashmere and India; in China and Thibet; in [p.565] Mexico and Peru; in Abyssinia, and generally throughout Africa, where it still flourishes as the state religion in Dahomey; in Java and Ceylon; among the Fijians, with whom, as we saw, it still prevails; and in various quarters in Oceania. Not less well established is the fact that it was a terribly real faith, with its priests and temples, its highly-organised ecclesiasticism and ritual, its offerings and sacrifices, all ordered according to a code. The code, the ideas of the divine government, the god himself even, varied from point to point, there being no more uniformity observable here than elsewhere in a matter of faith. In one place the god was a living serpent; in another a collection of serpents, as if the whole species was religiously regarded. Here, again, the object of worship was an image of a living serpent; there, an image of a creature of the religious imagination—a spiritual ideal—the five-headed, seven-headed, or nine-headed Naga. The god in some systems stood alone, was the god—God; in others he had associates, sometimes equal, sometimes even superior to himself, such as the sun, or fire, an anthropomorphic god, the emblems of the procreative power, some other animal, like the horse, or some tree or vegetable, or the ocean. But under all the varieties the fact is manifest of the serpent having attained divine honours; the character of being a good, wise, beneficent, powerful deity, to adore and propitiate whom was man's duty and privilege. We have cited no authorities in support of these statements, because the facts are indisputable and well known, and a general reference to the works of Bryant and Fergusson is therefore sufficient.45 Two points, however, must be touched upon before we [p.566] can advance with our argument. The first respects the antiquity of the faith; and the second, the relations between the god and his worshippers.
(1.) Of the great antiquity of the faith there can be no doubt. Compared with it, all the religions are modem; they imply it at their foundations, and their earliest history is the record of its more or less complete suppression or subordination. The cultus prevailed, for example, among the Hebrews before the true faith. "With the knowledge we now possess," says Mr. Fergusson, "it does not seem so difficult to understand what was meant by the curse of the serpent [in Genesis] When the writers of the Pentateuch set themselves to introduce the purer and loftier worship of Elohim, or Jehovah, it was first necessary to get rid of that earlier form of faith which the primitive inhabitants of the earth had fashioned for themselves." The curse, of course, was not on the serpent, but on the cultus. We find a similar story in Persia and in India, in both of which places this religion prevailed. "The serpent that beguiled Eve," says Max Muller, "seems hardly to invite comparison with the much grander conception of that terrible power of Vritra and Ahriman in the Veda and Avesta."46 In the Avesta there is a great battle between Thraetaona and Azhi dahaka, the destroying serpent.47 The greatest exploit of Indra was the slaying of the serpent Ahi.45 "Where, Maruts," he is made to say in one of the Vedic hymns, "was that custom of yours that you should join me who am alone in the killing of Ahi." In another song Traitana takes the place of Indra in this battle; more frequently it is Trita who fights, but other gods also share in the same honour.49
The result of Mr. Fergusson's investigations is to represent serpent-worship as the basis of the religions of India, exciting Sivaism, in which the bull has had the first place.50 In Africa we most probably have the faith as it existed before the dawn of history.
"We know from the Egyptian monuments," says Mr. Fergusson, "that neither the physical features nor the social status of the negro have altered in the slightest degree during the last four thousand years. If the type was then fixed which has since remained unaltered, why not his religion also? There seems no a priori difficulty. No other people in the world seem so unchanged und unchangeable; movements and mixtures of races have taken place elsewhere. Christianity has swept serpent-worship out of what were the limits of the Roman world, and Mahomedanism has done the same over the greater part of Northern Africa. Neither influence has yet penetrated to the Gold Coast; and there, apparently, the negro holds his old faith and his old feelings fast, in spite of the progress of the rest of the world. It may be very horrible, but so far as we at present know, it is the oldest of human faiths, and is now practised with more completeness at Dahomey than anywhere else, at least at the present day."
(2.) It was common for those who had this worship to believe that the serpent was their progenitor. They were called, and called themselves, Serpents, after, and as being of the breed of their god. Whole peoples, says Bryant, had the serpent-name, and counted themselves as being of the Serpent-breed. The Ethiopians, for example, derived their name from the Serpent-God, Ops. So, he says, did the Elopians, Europeans, Oropians, Asopians, Inopians, and Ophionians.51 The original title of all of these was Ophites, "In Phrygia and upon the Hellespont, whither they (the Ophites) sent out colonies very early, were a people styled [Greek], or of the Serpent-breed, who were said to retain an affinity and correspondence with serpents."52 In Rhodes, an old name for which was Ophiusa; in Tenos, one of the Cyclades; in Cyprus, also of old styled Ophiusa and Ophiodes; in Crete and in the island Seriphus, it is related there were Serpent-tribes, or, as fable put it, swarms of Serpents, the personality of the tribes-men being lost in their name, as derived from the god. That this is the fact may be inferred from the tradition regarding the swarm at Paphos, where the serpents had two legs—[Greek].53 Similarly at this day in India there are numerous tribes of Nagas on the north-eastern frontier, i.e., literally. Serpents, who were undoubtedly so named from the Serpent-God, as the Snake Indians are named from their Totem.
The name Nag has passed into a family or stock named among Hindus generally.
Colonel Meadows Taylor says, "It is a common name both for males and females
among all classes of Hindus, from Brahmins down to the lowest classes of Sudras
and Mlechhas."54 The Athenians were esteemed Serpentigens; Sgeus, one of their
kings, was reputed of the Serpent-breed; and the honour of having been first
king of their country they assigned either to [Greek], a dragon, or to Cecrops,
who was half a snake—probably as being on the mother's side not of the Serpent
stock. Sparta is said of old to have swarmed with serpents; and the same is
related of Amyclae, in Italy, which was a Spartan colony, the meaning of the
tradition being that the inhabitants in either case were what in India would be
called Nagas, and, in America, Snakes.55 The kings of Abyssinia put the Serpent
first on their list of kings as the progenitor of the royal line. In Peru, where
the worship of the serpent was conjoined (as in many other cases) with
sun-worship, the principal Deity in the Pantheon was the Sun-Serpent, whose
wife—the female Serpent or female Sun—brought forth at one birth a boy and girl
who became the first parents of mankind. So the Caribs—a fact already glanced
at—relate that the first of their race was half a serpent, being the son of a
Warm woman by a river-god. Being slain and cut in pieces by his mother's
brothers, the pieces, when collected under a mass of leaves, grew into a mighty
warrior, the progenitor of the Carib nation.56
The legends of Cashmere throw not a little light on these beliefs. They show us a doctrine resembling that worked out in the story of Elsie Venner—the serpent nature in the human body capable of being displaced by a proper human nature. An ancestor of Sakya Muni, for example, fell in love with a serpent-king's daughter, and married her. She could retain her human body, but occasionally a nine-headed snake sprang out of her neck. Her husband having struck it off one time when it appeared, she remained human ever after. Others of these legends represent a serpent-king (Naga Rajah) as "quitting his tank," becoming converted, and building churches; and a sinful Brahman as being turned into a Naga, and spending his life for some years thereafter in a lake.
It was a natural consequence of the serpent being believed, where [p.569] he was dominant, to be the first father, that he should be believed to be the first instructor of men. Accordingly we find that it was "the feathered serpent" who taught the Aztecs a knowledge of laws and of agriculture, and the principles of religion; and Cecrops (who was half a serpent) that introduced marriage to Greece, and taught the people laws and the arts of life.
Let us now see the results we have reached. They are—1. That the serpent was in numerous quarters of the world worshipped as a god by the most diverse races of men. 2. That serpent-worship is of the highest antiquity. 3. That the worshippers, in many cases, believed themselves to be of the Serpent-breed, derived from a serpent ancestor. 4. That the worshippers were in numerous cases named after the god—Serpents. We now notice (5) that the serpent was used as a badge in many cases among the tribes that had the cultus. It was so used, for example, in Egypt, where was the sacred serpent Thermuthis.
"The natives are said to have made use of it as a royal tiara,'' says Bryant, "with which they ornamented the statues of Isis. We learn from Diodorus Siculus that the kings of Egypt wore high bonnets which terminated in a round ball; and the whole was surrounded with figures of asps. The priests likewise on their bonnets had the representation of serpents."57
Menelaus, a Spartan—and Sparta, we saw, was Ophite—is represented as having a serpent for a device upon his shield. One of the names of the serpent-god was Pitan—whence Pitanatoo and Serpentigentis or Ophite were equivalents.
"A brigade or portion of infantry was, among some Greeks, named Pitanates, and the soldiers, in consequence of it, must have been termed Pitanatæ—undoubtedly because they had the pitan or serpent for their standard. Analogous to this there were soldiers called Draconarii among other nations. I believe that in vast countries the military standard was an emblem of the deity there worshipped."58
The deity might also be expected to find his place on the coins of his
worshippers, and the ancient coins having the serpent are accordingly numerous.
It appears on early Egyptian coins of uncertain towns, and also on other early
African coins; on early coins (all of date B.C.) of Heraclea in Lucania; of
Perinthus in Thracia; of Homolium in Thessalia; of Cassope in Epirus; of
Buthrotum and Corcyra in Epirus; of Amastris in Paphlagonia; of Cyzicus and
Pergamus in Mysia; of Dardanus in Troas; of Cos, [p.570] an island of Caria; and of Magnesia,
Nacrasa, and Thyatiray in Lydia.59
2. The Horse.—The Horse figures in the heavens as Pegasus, and we find him on the coins of numerous cities.
"He is on the coins of various cities of Hispania and Qallia; of Fanum in Umbria; Beneventnm in Sanmimn; Nuceria in Campania; Aipi and Luceria; Salapia in Apulia; Grmnentom in Lucania; Thnrium in Apulia; Midia in Sicilia, and also Camarina, Oelas, and Panormus, in Sicilia; of Syracuse; Melita (Malta); Panticapaeum in Taurica; Gipsela, Maronea, Aegospotamus, and Cardia, all in Thracia; Amphipolis, Bottisea, and Thessalonica, all in Macodonia. On the coins of Thessalia in genere, and on those of Atrax, Grannon, Demetrias, Elatea, Gyrton, Lanssa, Pelinna, Phalanna, Narcadon, FheraB, Perreebia, Ctemene, Sootussa, and Tricca, in Thessalia; of Alyzia in Acarnania; Locri-Opuntii in Locris; Phoci in Phocis; Tanagra in Boeotia; Phenens in Arcadia; Gargara in Mysia; Parium in Mysia; Alexandria in Troas; Cyme in JBolis; Colophon in Ionia; Magnesia in Ionia; Mylasa in Caria; Tarmessus in Pisidia; Antioch in Cicilia; Adana in Cicilia; Aninesum in Lydia; Epictetus in Phrygia; Larissa in Seleucia; Cyrene in Cyrenaica; Tarentum in Calabria, and," adds Mr. Sim, "perhaps on many others. The coins are all of date before the Christian era."
Was the Horse, who was thus honoured, a god? In the photographs in Mr. Fergusson's book we have some evidence that he was a god among the serpent-worshipping Buddhists. "The Horse" first occurs in Fig. 1, Plate xxxv. Mr. Fergusson remarks on it, "In this bas-relief the principal object is the Sacred Horse, richly caparisoned, who heads the procession, and towards whom all eyes are turned; ... behind him a chief in his chariot, bearing the umbrella of State, not over himself, but apparently in honour of the horse." It next occurs along with Siddhartha on Plate lix., but the worship in this case seems to be all given to the prince. It occurs again on Plates lxxx. and lxxxi. On these Mr. Fergusson observes:—
"Fig. 2 and 3 of this plate (i.e. lxxx.), and fig. 3 of Plate lxxxi., Instead of the emblems we are usually accustomed to, contain two medallions, the upper representing the worship of the Horse, the lower, Buddha, seated Cross-legged, surrounded by listeners or adorers. As we have frequently had occasion to remark, the Horse plays an important part in the sculptures at Amrayati. It is once represented as honoured at Sanchi; but this form of worship occurs here several times, but nowhere so prominently as in those three Dagobas (and it is to be presumed that there was a fourth). It is not easy to say what we are to understand from the prominence of the Horse in such a position as this. Is it an importation from Scythia, brought by immigrants from that country? Is it the Horse of the Sun or of Poseidon? Is it the Avalokiles'vaja of the Thibetan fables? Some one must answer who is more familiar than I am with Eastern mythology. At present it will be sufficient to recall to memory how important a part the Horse sacrifice, or Asvamedha, plays in the Mahabhrata, [p.571] and in all the mythic history of India. What is still more curious is, that the worship of the horse still seems to linger in remote parts of India. At least, in a recent work by Mr. Hislop, missionary at Nagpore, edited by Sir E. Temple, he [Mr. Hislop] describes the religion of the Gonds in the following nine words:—'All introduce figures of the horse in their worship.' Other instances might, no doubt, be found if looked for; but the subject is new and unthought of."
If Mr. Fergusson had looked further in Mr. Hislop's book he would have found
that the fact of Horse-worship is not left to inference or conjecture. In a
foot-note at p. 51, Sir R. Temple says:—"The god Koda Pen, or horse-god, is
sometimes worshipped by the Gonds, and sometimes there are sacred images of this
animal." So we have in India a horse-god now. What tribes beside the Gonds have
The Horse occurs again in Mr. Fergusson's plates. In Plate xcv., Fig. 4, he is introduced in mid air, alongside the wheel (a Buddhist idol60), as an object of equal reverence; and on a piece of sculpture, where the wheel just above him is the special object of worship. In Plate xcvi., Fig. 3, he issues from the portal with the umbrella of State borne over him, the hero of the representation. The same subject is repeated on another slab, Plate xcviii. Fig. 2. The opinion formed by Mr. Fergusson is that the bas-reliefs show that the Horse was an object of reverence, if not exactly of worship, at Amravati, and that the reverence paid to him is the counterpart of the worship of the Bull Naudi by the Sivites.
Let us now see what evidence there is of this worship elsewhere. Mr. Bryant supplies a goodly array of facts. In his Essay61 on Metis and Hippa, after disposing of the former as one of the most ancient deities of "the Amonians," represented under the symbol of a beautiful female countenance surrounded with serpents, he proceeds to say:—
"Hippa was another goddess of like antiquity, and equally obsolete. Some traces, however, are to be still found in the Orphic verses, by which we may discover her original character and department. She is there represented as the nurse of Dionysius, and seems to have been the same as Cybele, who was worshipped in the mountains of Phrygia, and by the Lydians upon Tmolus. She is said to have been the Soul of the World—[Greek];62 and the person who received and fostered Dionysius when he came from the thigh of his father. This history relates to his second birth, when he returned to a second state of childhood. Dionysius was the chief god of the Gentile world, and worshipped under various titles, which at length came to be looked on as different deities. Most of those secondary deities had the title of Hippius and Hippia; and as they had female attendants in their temples, these, too, had the name of Hippai. What may have been the original of the term Ilippa and Hippus will be matter of future discussion. Thus much is certain, that the Greeks uniformly referred it to horses."
Ares was Hippius; so was Poseidon, although a god of the sea, being so called
from raising a horse out of the earth in his contest with Athene for the
superiority at Athens; but Athene herself was Hippia, as were also Demeter and
Hera. Demeter, styled Hippa, the Greeks represented as turned into a mare;63 Hippius Poseidon, in like manner represented as a horse, they supposed in that
shape to have had an intimate connection with the goddess.64 The nymph Ocyroe was
changed into a mare, and so was Philyra, whom Saturn, in the shape of a horse,
followed neighing over the mountains of Thessaly.65
Bryant, who conceived that the ancients knew nothing of their own mythologies, and whose great discovery was that every mythological fact anywhere to be found related either to Noah, the ark, or the deluge, thinks the Greeks were quite wrong in fancying Hippa and Hippus to have had anything to do with the horse. These gods, he says, came from Egypt, and were one with the sun and Osiris, and ultimately with the ark.66 He tells us, however, that the horse (like the ox and eagle, which we shall see were gods) was a sacred symbol in Egypt, where almost every animal, from beetles to bulls, was worshipped, so that the Egyptians made the mistake equally with the Greeks, if there was one mistake or not, there is no question of the reality of the faith that followed on it. The horse-gods and mare-goddesses had their temples and regular worship, and not only gods and goddesses, but places, and presumably tribes of men, were named from the horse. There were the Hippici Montes in Sarmatia; [Greek] in Lycia; [Greek] in Libya; [Greek] in Egypt, and a town Hippos, both in Sicily and in Arabia Felix. The horse-name occurs frequently in composition, as in Hipporum, Hippouris, Hippana, Hipponesus, Hippocrene, and many others; and, indeed, horse-names are so frequent in Homer alone—a fact observed by Mr. Gladstone—as to suggest that there were horse-tribes in, and bordering on, Greece, as there were Nagas and Ophites. One of the twelve Athenian tribes was Hippothoontis, their eponymous progenitor Hippothoon, who was nurtured by mares! Aeolus and his family were Hippotades, and a village in the tribe Aeneis was Hippotamada. There was a tribe, Hipporeee, in Upper Ethiopia, and the Hippopodes were a people of Scythia, who had horses' feet!67 There was a city Hipponesus, in Caria, and another of that name in Lydia. There were two towns, Hippo in Africa, and a [p.573] town, Hippola, in the Peloponnesus; also one in Spain, a town of the Bruttii, now Monte Leone.
The horse appears on the coins of four cities of Thrace, where Dionysius Hippius was worshipped, and where, also, were the horses of Diomedes, that fed on human flesh—a suggestion that these horse-tribes men were cannibals. Bryant says these horses were the priests of the god; his theory also is that they were men. He tells us the god was worshipped on islands opposite Apulia; and on the coins of four cities in Apulia we have the horse, that accordingly may be assumed to have been a god on the mainland also. When we turn to Thessaly—equorum altrix—on the coins of fourteen towns in which we find the horse, we are in the country of the Centaurs, half men and half horses—no doubt men who were yet called horses, after their animal god. Their battle with the Lapithaa, springing out of a quarrel at the marriage of Hippodamia, is famous in fable. Chiron, the most celebrated of the Centaurs, was a son of Saturn (by repute), who changed himself into a horse to avoid his wife Rhea. Intimate relations these between the horse and the oldest anthropomorphic gods. He was the instructor of mankind in the use of plants, the study of medical herbs, and the polite arts, having in these even the great serpent Aesculapius for a pupil. Finally, Jupiter made a constellation of him under the name Sagittarius.
Pausanias says that Demeter, worshipped by the Phigalians, was represented as a woman with the head of a horse.68 Marus Balus, an old Italian god, who lived three times, was bi-faced like Janus, having a human face before and a horse's behind;69 and in Hippa Triceps, figured on Plate xiii., vol. ii., in Bryant's work, we have a female with three horse-heads—a horse divinity recalling the serpentine Zohak of the Persians, and the three-headed Naga. In Pegasus we have a winged horse sprung from the blood of Medusa, and that flew up to heaven immediately on being born. He was the favourite of the Muses, figured in various exploits on earth, and was finally placed among the constellations. He was the special insigne of Corinth, and occurs on ancient coins of that place, of Syracuse and Corcyra.70 A Gaulish coin belonging to the first century B.C. has the horse with a human head. We have heavenly horses in Homer; the horses, ordinary and winged, of Agni, Indra, and Soma, and the eight-legged horse of Odin. There is a controversy as to whether. Agni himself was not a horse.71 In Max Muller's "Rigveda Sanhita " (p. 15) the reader will find the distinguished professor combating [p.574] Messrs. Boehtlingk and Roth over certain Vedic passages, in which these gentlemen, in their Dictionary, say:—"He (Agni) himself appears as a red horse." "We cannot pretend to enter into the merits of the controversy, but the reader may already be satisfied that an Agni Hippius should create no more wonder than a Hippius Poseidon.72 We conclude, then, that the horse had been anciently a god in India, in Egypt, in Greece, and many other quarters; that it was such before most of the deities figuring in the Olympus appeared; that it became the insigne of many tribes of men; and that it is certain there were numerous tribes named after it.
3. The Bull.—The Bull figures in the heavens; and bulls, bisons, minotaurs, and parts of these on coins are too numerous for specification. A few will be found figured in the ''Numismata Spanhemii." As the bull and cow are well-known sacred animals, we may be brief with them.
"The living animal," says Bryant, "was in many places held sacred, and reverenced as a deity. One instance of this was at Memphis, where they worshipped the sacred bull Apis; and another was to be found at Heliopolis where they held the bull Mnevis in equal veneration. The like custom was observed in Mo-memphis, Aphroditopolis, and Chusa, with this difference, that the object of adoration in these places was an heifer or cow."73
The animal was also worshipped under symbols, or as represented by images. We
see this illustrated in the case of the Jews, who fell into the idolatry with
the sanction of Aaron himself.74 An apology made for Aaron is, that he adopted
this image not from Apis or Osiris, but from the Cherubim having the faces of
oxen!75 The idolatry was probably never fully suppressed. It was openly renewed
under Jeroboam, who made two calves, and set one up in Bethel, the other in Dan.
In this case, as in the preceding, the calf was recognised as the god that had
brought the people out of the land of Egypt! The calves of Jeroboam are spoken
of by Hosea (x. 15) as young cotes; as also by the Septuagint and by Josephus,
who says that Jeroboam made two heifers of gold, and consecrated to them two
temples. The Bull Nandi is, at the present day, a quasi-god in India, worshipped
by the Sivites; while by all Hindus the cow is religiously [p.575] regarded. Of course, in Bryant's system,
the bull is Noah, while the crescent on the side of Apis is the Ark. Every one
knows what cows are in the Dawn system of Mr. Max Muller.
As in the case of the serpent and horse, the religious imagination conjured into existence a variety of spiritual bovine beings—bulls with men's bodies, men with bull's bodies, bulls with two heads, and so forth. Some of these will be found figured in Plate xvi. of Bryant's "Ancient Mythology," vol. ii., where the most prominent figure is a human body with two bulls' heads, worshipped by a man presenting to him a cone on the palm of each hand—the Assyrian Linga. Of course the bull stood in parental relations to his worshippers. Bryant assures us Apis means father, and he derives from it the names of various lands. Mnevis, or Mnenis, he identifies with Minos, whose city was Minoa, and emblem the Minotaur; also with King Menes, the first lawgiver who raised men from the savage state. He was to the Bull tribes what Cecrops was to the Pelasgic Nagas. There was an Apia, also identified by Bryant with Rhea and Demeter. Astarte, we saw, had, according to Sanchoniatho, a bull's head, and Diana was worshipped by the Scuthse, under the title of Tauropolus and Taurione. In the Orphic fragments Dionysius is represented as having the countenance of a bull, and also as being a bull. In Argos he was [Greek], the offspring of a bull; [Greek], is one of his epithets in the Orphic hymns. Poseidon was Taureus as well as Hippius, and so also was Oceanus. The bull-faced people are frequent in the legends of India, where the bull is a god; and in Japan we find a deity, Goso Tennoo—the ox-headed prince of heaven.76
The people of the Tauric Chersonesus were named, according to Eustathius, from the bull—Taurus—[Greek]. So were the following mountains, places, and peoples:—Taurus, Taurania, Taurica, Taurinium, Taurcum, Taurenta, Tauropolis, Tauropolium, Taurominium, Taurantes, Tauri, Taurini, and Taurisci. How far the god might be followed as giving names to other places and peoples by the process of etymologically analysing the names in different languages, we have not the means of ascertaining.
We have found the bull figured in the heavens and on numerous coins, and giving his name to numerous tribes of men, worshipped as a god, and regarded as the father and first lawgiver by his worshippers. We have found him also in intimate relations with the earlier gods and goddesses, who either drew titles from him or wore his form, as if they supervened upon a system in which he had been chief, and from which, in the process of time, they displaced him. His case thus resembles that of the two animal gods previously considered.
4. The Lion.—The Lion is in the heavens as Leo, and figures on the ancient coins of many cities, e.g.:—
"On coins of Hispania and Gallia;77 Teate in Mamicini; Capoa in Campania; Arpi in Apulia; Yennaia in Apulia; Peestom in Laconia; Heraclea and Volia in Laconia; Bhegium in Bruttium; Leontini, Panormus, Syracuse, and Mcssana, in Sicilia; Chersonesus Taurica; Panticapseum; Tonus in Mossia Infer; Abdera, Perinthus, Cardia, Lysimacliia, and Chersonesus, in Thracna; Thasos; Amphipolis, Macedonia; Thessalia in genere; Clorcyra in Epiras; Heraclea in Acarnania; Corinthus in Achaia; Gortyna in Greta; Adrianotem rel Hadrianothera in Bithynia; Metronm in Bithynia; Germe in Mysta; Magnesia and Miletus in Ionia; Smyrna in Ionia; Acrasus, Apollonia, Attalia, Blaundos, Gordas-Julia, Hyrcania, Magnesia, Philadelphia, Ssetteni, Sardes, Silandus, Temenothyree, Thyatira, all in Lydia, being thirteen towns; Acluenia, Cadi, Cybira, Peltse, Sala, and Sinaos, towns in Phrygia; Pessinns in Galatia; Gyrene in Cyrenaica; in Libya in genere. The coins are all of date before the Christian era."
Was the lion who was thus honoured a god? He was; but his
worship must hare early become obsolete, as we have only one well-vouched
instance of it within the historical period, namely, in Leontopolis, the capital
of a district of the same name in Egypt. Ælian
and Porphyry both say it was worshipped there—was the deity of the place.78 There
is a considerable amount of evidence, however, that this animal had, in
pre-historic times, been more generally worshipped, and that tribes of men had
been named after him.
We have become familiar with compounds of human and bestial forms in connection with the worship of the serpent, horse, and bull; the serpent body with human head; the female human form with one or more horse-heads; the Minotaur; and should expect that if the lion were a god, he should, by the same mental processes, be made to enter into similar compounds. Since we have him in one place as a god, and have him in the heavens and on numerous coins, and, what is familiar as the symbol of many tribes, should we find such a compound of the human and leonine forms worshipped, venerated, or feared, or with a remarkable hold on the imaginations of men, it will not be unreasonable to infer that the compound had an origin similar to the others we have become acquainted with. Now we have such a compound in the Sphinx, which therefore may throw some light on the cultus of the lion.79 In the Egyptian hieroglyphics, we are told, the sphinx bears the name of Neb or Lord, and Akar or Intelligence—the form of it being a [p.577] lion's body with human head. The Great Sphinx at Gizeh is colossal, and hewn out of the natural rock.80 It is of great antiquity—an age at least equal to the Pyramids. In front of the breast of this sphinx was found, in 1816, a small chapel formed of three hieroglyphical tablets, dedicated by Thothmes III. and Rameses II. to the sphinx, whom, it is said, they adored as Haremukhu, i.e., the sun on the horizon.81 The fourth tablet, which formed the front, had a door in the centre, and two couchant lions placed upon it. "A small lion was found on the pavement, and an altar between its fore-paws, apparently for sacrifices offered to it in the time of the Romans."82 In 1852 discovery was made of another temple to the south of the sphinx, built at the time of the fourth dynasty, of huge blocks of alabaster and granite, and which was most probably, like the former, devoted to its worship. Numerous sphinxes have been found elsewhere in Egypt, as at Memphis and at Tanis. That found at the latter place is assigned to the age of the Shepherd dynasty. Sphinxes have also been found in Assyria and Babylonia, and they are not uncommon on Phoenician works of art. Mr. Layard mentions having dug out of the Mound of Nimroud "a crouching lion, rudely carved in basalt, which appeared to have fallen from the building above, and to have been exposed for centuries to the atmosphere;" also a pair of gigantic winged bulls, and a pair of small winged lions, whose heads were gone. Human-headed lions he found, of course; also human figures with lions' heads.83
The Egyptian sphinx had the whole body leonine, except the face, and this would appear to be the most ancient form; the sphinxes with wings are later, and are supposed to have originated with the Babylonians or Assyrians. The Greek sphinxes were still further from the primitive type; they were all winged, and had other elements in their composition besides the human and leonine. Probably they were unrelated to the Egyptian as an original. The Theban sphinx, whose myth first appears in Hesiod (Theog. 326), had a lion's body, female head, bird's wings, and serpent's tail—a suitable emblem, we should say, for a composite local tribe, comprising Nagas (snakes) as well as lions, and, say, eagles or doves. She was a supernatural being, the progeny of the two-headed dog of Geryon, by Chimaera; or of Typhon, by Echidna. If of the latter parentage, she was a snake on both sides of the house; if of the former, she combined the leonine with the serpent nature—as the Chimaera had a lion's head as one of her three. Indeed, on either [p.578] view she had lion kindred as well as Naga, for Typhon, although a Naga had one celebrated lion among his offspring, the Nemean lion to wit (mother unknown), who infested the neighbourhood of Nemea, filling its inhabitants with continual alarms. The first labour of Hercules was to destroy him, and the Nemean games—instituted in honour of one who had fallen a victim to a snake—were renewed to commemorate the destruction of a lionI A strong suggestion, this, of the new-comer, the Heraclidae being alike antipathetical to the snakes and lions—to the tribes, as we read it, who had these animals as gods, and were called after them.
Lion names were common, and the name remains. We believe the result of inquiry will be to establish, by etymological evidence, that the animal gave its name to numerous tribes. Such evidence as we have to adduce of this fact, however, will be better appreciated when produced further on in this exposition.
5. The Dog.—The Dog gives its name to three constellations—Canis Major, Canis Minor, and Canicula, as well as to the stars Canis Sirius (Cohen Sehur), the brightest in the heavens; Procyon and Cunosoura, ''the dog's tail." It appears on various ancient coins; for example, on uncertain coins of Etruria; on coins of Pisaunmi in Umbria; Hatria in Ficenmn; Larinum in Frttani; on the coins of Campania in genere; notably of Kuceria in Campania; of Valentia in Bruttium; Agyrium in Sicilia; of Erix, Messana, Motya, Panormus, Segesta (very many), and Selinus, all in Sicilia; of Chersonesus Taurica; Phalanna in Thessalia; Celta-Aidone in Epirus; Corcyra in Epirus; Same in Cephallenia; Cydonia in Creta; Colophon in Ionia, and Phocas in Ionia. Besides these, which are all of date B.C., there are coins figured in the "Numismata Spanhemii" with the legend of the dog Cerberus, and one in Mr. Evans's "British Coins," of which that learned author says:—
"The reverse is very remarkable, and must be regarded as in some manner connected with the early British mythology, though I must confess myself entirely at a loss to offer any satisfactory elucidation of the device. The attitude of the dog [which has one of its fore feet placed on a serpent] is very like that in which it is represented on the small brass coins of Cambrinisii fabric, bearing the name of Roma, but there is no serpent on those coins. The type is hitherto unpublished, and belongs to the third class of the coins of Cimobeline—those with the name of his capital upon them."84
With such facts before us, and the knowledge we have already attained to of their probable significance, it need not surprise us to find that the dog was a deity. Bryant, after doing all he could to work him into his Arksdieme, has to confess that his view, that the belief in the worship of the dog was derived from Cahen being the Egyptian name for a priest or sacred official, won't meet the facts.
"Though I have endeavoured to show," he says, "that the term of which I have been treating was greatly misapplied in being so uniformly referred to dogs, yet I do not mean to insinuate that it did not sometimes relate to them. They were distinguished by this sacred title, and were held in some degree of veneration."85
The facts are as follows:—Juvenal states that dogs were worshipped in some
places, "oppida tota canem venerantur;"86 Diodoms Siculus says the same thing;87
Plutarch, relates that in Egypt they were holy, but not after the time of Cambyses, when they misbehaved themselves by devouring the bull Apis, whom that
king slew;88 and Herodotus
informs us they were so regarded by the Egyptians in his own time that when a
dog died the members of the family it belonged to shaved themselves all over.89
The dog was called Cahen and Cohen—a title given, by the Egyptians to the animal and vegetable gods they worshipped in general—(query, an equivalent of Totem?); and while the living dog was thus esteemed, there were spiritual dog-beings or gods, such as Canuphis, or Cneph (Anuphis and Anubis of the Greeks and Romans), some represented as having the human body and dog's head, and others conceived as having the full canine figure, with one, two, or more heads, just as in the case of the heavenly Nagas, bulls and horses. As the animals last named gave titles to the gods who superseded them, so did the dog; Hercules, Hermes, and even Zeus were Cahen. Hecate had three heads—one a dog's, one a horse's, and one a boar's—which suggests, on the system of interpretation we have been propounding, that she originated in a compromise of a local tribe, which contained gentes of the dog, horse, and boar stocks. The boar will be shown to have been a god—at least a Totem. Cerberus is mentioned by Homer, and we learn from Hesiod that he had fifty heads. In the gardens of Electra there was a golden dog, and also gaping dogs that were at once statues and yet alive. Gold and silver dogs, creations of Vulcan, guarded the house of Alcinous.90 In a temple of Vulcan near Mount Etna was a breed of dogs that treated good men gently, and were ferocious to bad men, which is curious, as we have similar fables respecting serpents in Syria (given by Aristotle), and birds in the islands of Diomedes (given by Pliny). In the myth of Cephalus we have "a dog that was sure of his prey, and a dart that never missed its aim,"—the dog here being familiar to every reader of Campbell's Celtic tales, or the collections of Grimm and Dasent. On these dog-beings Bryant has some remarks in which we are disposed to concur. "When I read of the brazen dog of Vulcan," he says, "of the dog of Erigone, of Orion, of Geryon [a two- [p.580] headed dog], of Orus, of Hercules, of Amphiloehus, of Hecate, I cannot but suppose that they were titles of so many deities, or else of their priests, who were denominated from their office."91
There were dog-tribes as a matter of course. Such we must assume the Cynocephali in Libya to have been, whom Herodotus mentions as a race of men with the heads of dogs; and the Cunodontes, both named, as Bryant observes, from their god—fable adding in each case the physical peculiarity in explanation of the dog-name. Ælian and Plutarch, besides bearing witness to the veneration paid to dogs in Egypt, relate that the people of Ethiopia had a dog for their king; that he was kept in great state, being surrounded with a numerous body of officers and guards, and in all respects royally treated. Plutarch speaks of him as being worshipped with a degree of religious reverence.92 No doubt they had heard something like this, and misunderstood it. The king was a dog, in the same way that a Naga Rajah is a serpent, and the reference is to a dog-tribe. What the lamented Speke tells of the traditions of the Wahuma in Central Africa suggests to us that inquiry may yet show that there was a tribe in that quarter with the dog for its Totem, and it is probably there still.93
6. The Swan.—The Swan is in the heavens as Cycnus, and figures on the coins of Gamarina in Sicilia; Leontini in Sicilia; Argesa in Thessalia; Clazomene in Ionia; on the coins of other uncertain cities of Ionia, and of Eion in Macedonia. The coins of Eion, says Mr. Sim, are of date 500 B.C., while the others having the swan are probably of date about 300 B.C.
We have no direct evidence of the swan having been a god—that is, having temples of his own; but two great gods, Zeus and Bralinia, wore his form, and the latter was named after him; and there is a considerable quantity of myth and fable explainable on the supposition that the bird had been at least a Totem. Bryant says it was undoubtedly the insigne of Canaan, as the eagle and vulture were of Egypt, and the dove of Babylonia. The evidence for this, however, seems not very satisfactory; but part of it is philological, and we are incompetent to judge of it. One fact he founds on it is that there was but one philosopher styled Cygnus he could recollect—Antiochus the Academic, mentioned by Cicero and Strabo, surnamed the Swan, and he came from Ascalon in Palestine. The fact is of some importance, as giving us the swan as a stock name in that country. Mr. Evans inclines to think the swan was Phoenician. It is found figured on ancient Phoenician works of art.
Three persons are named by Ovid as having been changed into swans:—a son of Poseidon, who was killed by Achilles before the Metamorphosis; a son of Apollo, who in a fit of vexation committed [p.581] suicide, and was changed into a swan;94 and a son of Sthenelus, of Liguria, who in his affliction for the death of his friend Phaethon was changed into a swan. Of the last story there is another version given by Lucian, who speaks of swans in the plural in his jocular account of an attempt to discover the sweet-singing birds when boating on the Eridanus. In the Prometheus of Aeschylus, lo is directed to proceed till she reaches the Gorgonian plains, where reside the three daughters of Phorcys in the shape of swans, with one eye and one tooth between them. Socrates is represented as speaking of swans as his fellow-servants, and Porphyry assures us that he was very serious in doing so. Calchas, a priest of Apollo, was called a swan; and at the first institution of the rites of Apollo it is said many swans came from Asia, and went round the island Delos for the space of seven days. The companions of Diomedes, lamenting his death, were changed into birds resembling swans. They settled in some islands in the Adriatic, and were remarkable for the tameness with which they approached the Greeks, and for the horror with which they shunned all other nations. Lastly, the singing of swans was very celebrated, and spoken of not only by the poets, but by such men as Plato, Plutarch, Pliny, and Cicero as a thing well known. Their melancholy strains were never so sweet as when they were dying. The only instance of the form of this bird being assumed by a Greek god is in the case of Leda or Nemesis. Zeus, in the form of a swan, deceived the lady. She produced two eggs in consequence, from one of which sprang Pollux and Helena, and from the other Castor and Clytæmnestra.
In explanation of some of these histories Bryant has a long argument, the purpose of which is to show that in those places reputed to have been much frequented by swans celebrated for their singing—as on the rivers Eridanus and Strymon—colonies from Canaan had settled. In early times, he says, colonies went by the name of the deities they worshipped, or by the name of the insigne of their country; so that, when swans were spoken of, settlers from Canaan were really intended. Thus the ancients, instead of saying that Egyptians, Canaanites, or Tynans carried off such and such persons, said Jupiter, in the shape of an eagle, swan, or bull, did so; the eagle meaning Egypt, the swan Canaan, and the bull Tyre. The Phorcides were thus Canaanitish settlers among the Atlantes of Mauritania; the Delian and Pythian swans, priests of Apollo; and the swans that went round Delos, a choir of the settlers officiating at the opening of the new temple. The sweet singing was the property, of course, not of the birds, but of the settlers, who delighted in singing mournful dirges for the loss of Adonis or Thamuz, such as were customary in their native land, [p.582] The traces of the Swata as a Totem In India are more distinct. It is said in the Bhagavata Purana (ix. 14, 48) that at one time there existed but one Veda, one God (Agni), and one caste. This we learn from the Commentator was in the Krita age, and the one caste, he tells us, was called "ansa"—the Swan. The Hansas again are, in the Vishnu Purana, said to be one of four castes or tribes existing in a district exterior to India (v. 20, 4); and finally, we learn from the Linga Purana that Hansa was a name of Brahma himself—Brahma was called the Swan. How this god, reputed among some tribes to have been the Creator, came to be so named is explained at length in the last-mentioned Purana. When he and Vishnu had grown hot in controversy as to which of them had made all things, there suddenly appeared before them a luminous Linga "encircled with a thousand wreaths of flame, incapable of diminution or increase, without beginning, middle, or end, incomparable, indescribable, indefinable, the source of all things." What happened on this appearing Brahma thus recounts:—"Bewildered by its thousand flames, the divine Hari (Vishnu) said to me (Brahma), who was myself bewildered, 'Let us on the spot examine the source of (this) fire. I will go down the unequalled pillar of fire, and thou shouldst quickly proceed strenuously upwards.' Having thus spoken, the universal-formed (Vishnu) took the shape of a boar, and I immediately assumed the character of a swan. Ever since then men call me Hansa (Swan), for Hansa is Viraj.95 Whoever shall call me 'Hansa Hansa' shall become a Hansa." There follows an account of their respective expeditions to explore the Linga, which occupied them for a thousand years. The one found no top to it, the other no base. Bewildered, they both vowed to it, saying, "What is this?"—in answer to which the eternal loud-resounding Linga is reported to have said "Om."96
It is reasonable to conclude that we have a Swan-tribe in the Indian Hansas: the tradition that Brahma was a Hansa is not likely to have originated except with swans. Again, the inhabitants of islands who, though in the swan form, were yet human, like the birds of Diomedes, can only mean a Swan-tribe, we think. The fact of the swan figuring in the heavens and on ancient coins, taken along with the fact that it was a tribal name, makes it probable that the swan was a god, and highly probable that it was at least a Totem elsewhere than in Australia, where it is a Totem now.
(To be continued.)
THE WORSHIP OF ANIMALS AND PLANTS.
Part II. (concluded).—Totem Gods among the Ancients.
7. The Dove.—The Dove, or Pigeon, is figured on coins in
Spanhemii,"97 of Eryx in Sicilia (where we shall see was worshipped). Mr. Sim
states that it is figured on the coins in Scione in Macedonia; Halonnesus, an island
of Thessalia; Cassope in Epirus; Leucas in Acamania; Seriphus and Siphnus,
islands in the Aegean Sea; Antioch in Caria; Side in Pamphylia; and on uncertain
coins of Cilicia, all of date B.C. It is a question whether the Pleiades derived
their name from the doves direct, [Greek], the virgin companions of Artemis,
who with their mother Pleione, when pursued by Orion in Boeotia, were rescued,
changed into doves, and put in the heavens; or from the word [Greek], to sail,
the most favourable season for setting sail being supposed to be the time
of the heliacal rising of these stars. But there is no doubt that omens were
taken from doves at the setting out on a voyage, and that the two accounts are
reconciled by a third, namely, that these stars came to be called doves from the
coincidence of their rising and the seasons esteemed most favourable for taking
such auguries, and for setting sail. It is unnecessary, however, to found on the
doves being a constellation; as, whether they were or not, there is abundant
evidence that the dove was a deity. The cultus is treated of at some length in
Selden's "De Diis Syris,"98 and at great length in Bryant's work the dove being
very important to the Arkite scheme of that writer.99
It seems to be agreed that Ion, Ionah, and Ionas, were names of the dove, whence came the Greek Oinas, whence again were derived many terms related to augury and prophecy. That there were persons called [Greek], or doves, in various places, is also agreed upon. They were said to have been the most ancient prophetesses at Dodona, and also at Thebes; and indeed the oracles at Dodona and in Libya were founded by two doves that came from Thebes. Herodotus' account of these black pigeons that flew from Egypt, and settled the one as Dodona and the other in Libya, is familiar. He states that, according to the priestesses of Dodona, the pigeon that arrived there spoke from a beech tree in a human voice, directing a temple to be founded on Zeus; but that the priests of Thebes, on the other hand, assigned the founding of Dodona to one of two of their sacred women who have been carried off by Phoenicians. These women were called doves, [p.195] being ministers (says Bryant) to the dove-god. It is thus he explains the several narratives of women being, like the daughters of Anius, turned into doves. They became priestesses. It seems certain that in some temples the deity had no representation but the dove. He was in the shape of that bird. Athenaeus states that Zeus was changed into a pigeon, and Bryant says this notion prevailed in Achia, and particularly at Ægium.
It was not merely Zeus, however, to whom doves were "ministers." They were sacred to Venus. "Ejusdem Dea quemadmodum ministræ habitis fuerint, docet optime historia ilia de Columbis circa Erycem Montem in Sicilia volitantibus et diebus quas, [Greek] nominabat incolæ."100 A dove, also, was the sole emblem of Semiramis, who was worshipped as a deity. Selden quotes Johannes Drusius as follows:—"Samaritanus circumcidit in nomine imaginis Columbam referentis, quam inventam in vertice Montis Oarizim certo quodam ritu colunt;" and says, "Aliam quam Semiramidis figuram heic non intelligo cujus etiam nomen Syris seu Babyloniis Columbam Montanam denotare volunt nonnulli." The legend was that, on her death Semiramis was changed into a dove, and under that form got divine honours; but Bryant, we think, is right in maintaining that she never existed, and that her title Samarim, or Semiramis, was a stock name. He says that it belonged to the Babylonians, and to all others as well who acknowledged Semiramis, the dove, and took it as their national insigne, i.e. Totem. That the Babylonians did this seems to be well made out. One of the gates of their city, Herodotus mentions, had the dove on it, and was called Semiramis. The Babylonians according to Bryant (and Selden vouches that many have taken that view) were also called Ionim, or children of the dove; and their city Ionah, the dove being the national ensign, and was depicted on the military standard.
"Hence," says Bryant, "the prophet Jeremiah, speaking of the land of Israel being laid waste by the Babylonians, mentions the latter by the name of Ionah, which passage is rendered in the Vulgate, facta est terra eorum in desolationem a facie iræ Columbæ. In another place the prophet foretells that the Jews should take advantage of the invasion of Babylonia, and retire to their own land, and he puts these words into the mouths of the people at that season:—"Arm, and let us go again to our own people, and to the land of our nativity, from the oppressing sword.' But the word sword here is Ionah, and [the passage] signifies from the oppression of the Dove—the tyranny of the Ionim. It is accordingly rendered in the Vulgate a facie gladii Columbæ. The like occurs in the 50th chapter of the same prophet."101
Worshippers of the dove—originally the dove was an arkite symbol, says Bryant,
but it came to be regarded with idolatrous veneration—existed in Chaldea, among
other districts in Babylonia. The Samari- [p.196] tans worshipped it, as the Jews alleged,
and had a representation of it in Mount Garizim, already noticed in a passage
cited from Selden. The Assyrians worshipped it; [Greek], says Diodorus,102 on which passage Bryant remarks, "It was, we
find, worshipped as a deity." The worship prevailed in Syria, about Emesa and
Hierapolis, and ''there was Samarim in those parts,'' says Bryant. The dove, in
fact, was generally received—was almost as great a god as the serpent. Pausanias mentions that Aesculapius, when exposed as a child, was
preserved by a dove,
which thus appears fostering a Naga. It became an emblem with the Hebrews, and
is still, as every one knows a symbol of the Holy Ghost—who once appeared in its
shape. We have seen, however, that it was a reality long before it became a
Christian symbol. To put this beyond doubt we must cite Clement Alexandrinus,103
who says its worship was the basest idolatry, remarking that the people styled Syro-Phoenicians reverenced, some of them doves, others fish, as zealously as
the people of Elis worshipped Zeus. Xenophon, long before, noticed that in those
parts divine honours were paid to doves. Diodorus says the worship was universal
in Syria. It was most marked at Ascalon and Hierapolis as we know on the authority
of Philo Judaeus and Lucian, both of whom attest that the veneration of the
people extended to the living bird. Lucian relates of the people of the latter
city, that the pigeon was the only bird they never tasted, as it was held by them
to be particularly sacred. We must believe it was so regarded by the Babylonians,
who were named from it, and counted themselves to be its offspring; and we must
believe that there were tribes elsewhere than in Babylonia that took its name and
claimed the descent.
8. The Ram.—The Ram is in the heavens as Aries. It appears on the coins of many cities, as Capi in Gallia; Panormus in Sicily; Perinthus, Hephœstia, and Samothrace, in Thracia; Halonne on an island of Thessalia; Issa, an island of lllyria; Phea in Cranium and Same, in Cephallenia; Clazomene in Ionia; uncertain cities of Cilicia; Antioch in Seleucia; Damascus in Syria; Heraclia in Cyrenaica; and of some other towns in Africa. These coins are all of date b.c. A coin of Panormus has the ram is very remarkable and suggestive. It is figured in the "Numismata Spanhemii," tom. i., p. 204, along with the Yoni upon which it is staring.
The ram was sacred to Jupiter Ammon, and probably had been the Libyan oracle, a position not inferior to that of the Dove [p.197] at Dodona. The story is, that Jupiter, in the form of a ram, ram incarnation—relieved Hercules, or Bacchus, and his army when they were in straits, from thirst, in the deserts of Africa, who, out of gratitude, erected a temple to the god, represented with the horns of a ram.104 There were some three hundred Jupiters, as we know, and if one of them got a place in a group in which the sheep stock was dominant, it would be a small tribute to the Totem of the dominant tribe to give Jupiter ram's horns. So, where a horse or bull tribe was dominant, he might reasonably be Hippius or Taureus, and have, say, the head of a horse or bull, or some other element of the one or the other in his composition.105
There are the usual stories indicating that there had been supernatural, if not divine, ram-beings. In the fable of Phryxus a ram with a golden fleece rescued the son and daughter of Athamas from their stepmother, Ino, carrying them through the air. This ram was said to be the offspring of Poseidon and Theophane. The lady being changed into a sheep, the god took the form of a ram to woo her in.106 The offspring of the connection was thereafter by the gods gifted to Athamas, the father of Phryxus, as a reward for his piety. The recovery of the golden fleece from Colchis, as every one knows, was the object of the Argonautic Expedition, an expedition of the most famous sort, ranking even with the hunt of the Calydonian Boar. These legends are intelligible if we conceive that there was a sheep-tribe, and an idol of the ram believed to be a god and an object of worship, that was stolen and sought to be recovered and restored to its shrine. The reader will [p.198] remember the Golden Fleeced Llama in the Temple of the Incas. Evidence, beyond what lies in these facts and legends, that the living animal was religiously regarded, we have none, except a few Vedic facts—under noted—and the fact that sheep were worshipped in Egypt. There were numerous tribes of men in Egypt—a fact on which many races impinged; and, in our view, we have that an explanation of the multiplicity of the forms in Egypt's animal and vegetable worship. It was not that all Egyptians worshipped every creature, from bulls to beetles, and crocodiles to cats, but that there were certain of them presumably of distinct tribes, gentes or stocks, to whom one or other of the animals was sacred and the others detestable. This is borne out by what Cunaeus says (De Rep. Heb., lib. i., c. 4), as quoted by Lewis, in the close of the third volume of the "Origines Hebrææ," in explanation of the saying that every shepherd was an abomination to the Egyptians, "That nation," he says of the Egyptians, "who reverenced, some sheep, some goats, some other four-footed beasts; being persuaded there was in them something of divinity." It is more forcibly borne out by what is stated by Wilkinson. "It frequently happened," he says, "in the worship of the sacred animals, that those which were adored in some parts of Egypt were abhorred and treated as the enemies of mankind in other provinces, deadly conflicts occasionally resulting from this worship and detestation of the same animal."107 This is quite intelligible on the hypothesis that the animal gods were tribal, or, more probably, gentile, i.e., Totem-gods; but how is this explicable on the supposition that they were emblems?
We appeal to the following passage from the Tattiriya Sanhita (Black Yajurveda) as conclusive evidence of the soundness of these views in these papers propounded so far as the Vedic races are concerned. If any one will furnish an explanation of the passages different from that we offer, and as satisfactory, we shall abandon our hypothesis.
"Prajapati (the Procreator) desired 'may I propagate.' He formed the Trivrit (stoma) from his mouth. After it were produced, the deity Agni, the metre Gayatri, ... of men, the Brahman; of beasts, the goats. Hence they are the chiefs because they were created from the mouth. From his breast, from his arms, he formed the Panchadasa (stoma). After it were created the god Indra, the Trishtubh metre, ... of men, the Kajana (Kshattriyas), of beasts, the sheep. Hence they are vigorous, because they were created from vigour. From his middle he formed the Saptadasa (stoma). After it were created the gods (called) the Visve-devas, the Jagar metre ... of men, the Vaisya; of beasts, kine. Hence these (kine) are to be EATEN, because they were created from [p.199] receptacle of food," &c. Along with Sudras, in the lowest place, was produced the horse. The narrative is that Agni, the Brahman caste and the goat, were first created; next Indra, the Kshattriya caste and sheep; thirdly, the Vaisya caste and kine; lastly, the Sudras and horse. And the kine, as having come from the middle, were to be eaten; which, by implication, goats and sheep were not to be! If the reader will look at the foot-note on page 197, he will see that in another account kine were the first creatures produced after men, and it is familiar that in later times the cow came to be in India the most sacred thing on earth, next to a Brahman—(see Manu., c. xi. 60, and 79, 80)—not to be eaten or injured, while goats and sheep might be. What, then, is the explanation of this? It is that the cow-stock came slowly into the first place; that the contributories to the Vedic literature, even subsequently to the embellishment of castes, were still so far in the Totem stage as to their Totem preferences; that men of the goat, sheep, horse, serpent tribes were contributories to the Vedas, as well as, or even more prominently than, men of the cow, ox, or bull tribes. In accordance with our hypothesis that Indra should be identified with the horse by men of the horse-stock, as we saw he was; similarly that the sheep-tribe, taking him up, should make of him a ram. Mr. Muir assures us some Vedic writers did. As with Indra so with Agni, and the other gods speculatively produced; the god whoever he was that was put in the first place by a tribe, was identified with its Totem. On this view, Agni being represented as produced along with Brahmans and goats, may be believed to be in the writer's opinion (clearly a man of the goat-stock) foremost of the gods. He should therefore be a goat. Accordingly it did not surprise us when we found that Agni, as connected with the creation, was a he-goat, and, in a procreative view, a she-goat, "the unborn female," the mother, we presume, of all creatures.108 The goat, we shall see, gave its name to a Brahmanic gotra.
9. The Goat.—The Goat is in the heavens as Capricornus, and figures on many ancient coins, all of date b.c.; on coins of Thermæ, or Himera, in Sicilia; Ægospotamus Chersonesus, Thracia; Ænus in Thracia; Macedonia in genere; Issa, an island of Illyria; Pharos in Illyria; Ægira in Achaia; Elyrus in Greta; Syrus Insula; Antandarus in Mysia; Parium in Mysia; Ægæ in Ælis; Ephesus in Ionia; Ægæ in Cilicia; Cyzicus in Mysia; Augusta in Cilicia; Tralles in Lydia; Commagene in genere. It appears on two British coins figured in Mr. Evans' book, and on some coins in the Gaulish series.109
There is no doubt that the goat was a god, as the reader will find who consults
any classical dictionary, art. Pan.110 The readiest to the present writer's hand
is Lempriere, who has the following:—"Egypt, in the town of Mendes, which word
signifies a goat, there was a sacred goat kept with the most religious sanctity.
The death of this animal was always attended with the greatest solemnities, and
like that of another, Apis, became the cause of a universal mourning." Pan
himself had a body compounded of the human and goat forms—was a goat-being of
the same order of beings as the Minotaur, Sphinx, Hippa, and others as we have seen.
Fable represented him as the offspring of various deities—Mercury and Jupiter in
particular. He took the complete form of a goat on some occasions, as once to woo
Diana. What form had she? He was alive in the time of the wars with the giants,
and when the gods fled from their enemies to Egypt he assumed the form of a goat,
and they all immediately followed his example! The particular goat whom fable
put in the heavens was Amalthæa, the daughter of a king of Crete, who fed
Jupiter with goat's milk when he was a child. So there was a lady who was yet a
goat, and a king, who was her father, in Crete where Jupiter was a baby. The
goat was no doubt a Totem-god long before Jupiter was thought of.
We saw in Egypt a town named from the goat. Were there tribes named from it also? It was, as we above-stated, a stock name in India.
Bryant takes no notice of the goat. The crescent on the bull Apis being, in his opinion, the Ark, he could work the bull into the Arkite system. The goat, however, presented no points of contact wit Noah, the Ark, or the Deluge, unless indeed in the case of Capricornus, qui desinit in piscem. Lewis, in his "Origines" (vol. ii. p. 21), points out that the Hebrews used to offer sacrifices to Seiris who were demons in the form of goats. His explanation is that they did so in imitation of the ancient Zabii. "It seems most reasonable," he says—than another hypothesis, which need not be cited here—"to believe the old Hebrews worshipped the Demons adored by the ancient Zabii, who appeared in the shape of goats, and this practice was universally spread in the time of Moses, which occasions that this kind of idolatry was so strictly forbidden in the injunctions." In the Olympus of Mohammed are seven regions, and above the seventh, eight angels in the shape of goats. On their back stands the throne of god.111
10. The Fishes.—The fishes may be rapidly disposed of. They are in the heavens, and very common on coins. They were worshipped [p.201] in most places where doves were, as among the Syrians, Babylonians, Phoenicians. In Egypt the fish had a prominent place in conjunction with Isis, who was figured with it on her head. The fishes in the heavens are spoken of by Hyginus as persons, and he quotes Eratosthenes as saying that the fish was the father of mankind: "Eratosthenes ex eo pisce natos homines dicit."112 The Phoenician god Dagon, also the Assyrian Oannes, was a man-fish, one of familiar compounds. Dagon invented agriculture, of course, and many other arts, and was worshipped in many places. Berosus, quoted by Eusebius,113 says Oannes had the body of a fish, and below the fish-head, placed upon the body, a human head coming out under the other. He had a man's feet coming out under the tail, and a human voice. He used to come every morning out of the sea to Babylon to teach the arts and sciences, returning to the sea in the evening. Derceto was another such compound—a woman to the waist, for the rest a fish. According to some she was human in the face only. She was a Syrian goddess, and the Syrians, according to Diodorus Siculus, would eat no fishes, "but they worshipped fishes as gods." There is a story in explanation of this, to the effect that, ashamed of an indiscretion, the goddess plunged into a lake near Aacalon, where she had a temple, and became a fish. Ovid calls her Dione, and gives a somewhat different history of the plunge. He presents her as received in the water by two fishes, which afterwards became the Pisces of the heavens. The fish was sacred to Venus. A considerable variety of fishes are figured on ancient coins, the cetus and dolphin being the most frequent. We have no list of any number of them, but a few are figured in the "Numismata Spanhemii.'' A variety of them will be found figured at p. 339 of vol. iii. of Mr. Campbell's "Celtic Tales," being "all the fish figured on the sculptured stones of Scotland." Fish, in Mr. Campbell's opinion, "clearly have to do with Celtic mythology." We have seen fishes having stock names to tribes of men now existing, and can understand how, having been Totems, they should have become gods to the tribes that had them in that character. Of course in Bryant's system the fish is the Ark, while Dagon, Oannes, &c., are the Patriarch Noah.
As to one fish we are able, thanks to Plutarch, to put his Totem-ship beyond doubt. "The Egyptians in general," says that writer, "do not abstain from all sorts of sea-fish; but some from one sort, some from another. Thus, for instance, the inhabitants of Oxyrynchus [Piketown] will not touch any that is taken with an angle: far as they pay an especial reverence to the pike, from whence BORROW THEIR NAME [i.e., they are Pikes], they are afraid lest perhaps the hook may be defiled by having been some time or other [p.202] employed in catching their favourite fish. The people of Syrene, in like manner, abstain from the Phagrus, or sea-bream.'' Can any one doubt that in Oxyrynchus there was a Pike-tribe?114
11. The Bear.—The Bear is in the heavens as Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, the former distinguished as early as the time of Homer by the name of Arktos. He occurs on various Gaulish coins; on coins of Urso in Spain, and on a coin of Orgetorix, chief of the Helvetii.115 He probably occurs on other coins, but we have no list of them.116
The constellation connects itself with the names of Callisto and Arcas. Callisto was changed into a bear for a fault committed with Jupiter, of which Arcas was the fruit. Jupiter, to atone for the metamorphosis, made her a constellation along with her son. This Arcas, of the bear stock, reigned in Pelasgia, which from him took the name Arcadia. He taught the people agriculture, of course, and other arts, e.g.., the spinning of wool. The Greek name for the constellation enters into Arcturus. There was another star near the Bear, called Arctophylax, and a mountain near Propontis was named Arctos, and said to be inhabited by giants and monsters. Were they a bear-tribe? The island of Cyzicus was called Arctone and the Arctanes were a tribe of Epirus. The suggestion is, that the bear gave its name to a stock, and was a god; that there were bear-tribes in Arcadia once as there are bear-tribes now in America.117
The bear, as a god, probably became, in most places, obsolete very early, having no special claim to a place in the religion of the Life powers—the first great speculative faith that supervened on the primitive animal and vegetable worship, and with which most of the other animals we have been considering undoubtedly came to be connected. It is curious that we have him as an eponymous progenitor elsewhere than in Arcadia. For example, a bear was the progenitor of the kings of Denmark. In Olaus Magnus' History,118 it is gravely related how this came about, the narrative being quoted, "Exhistori chariasimi ante-cessoris," of the author—the Archbishops of Upsalla. It opens thus: ''Cujusdam patrisfamilias in agro Suietico filial liberalis formas, cum ancillulis lusum egressam, eximinæ granditat ursus, deturbatis comitibus complexus rapuit." The lady being carried off by the bear, had by him a son, "Ut ergo duplicis mater [p.203] benigna artifex natura nuptiarum deformitatem feminis aptitodine coloraiet, generationis monstrum usitato partu edidit." She gave him his father's name. His grandson begat Ulfo, "a quo Rex Sueno et cetera Danorum Regum stemmata, ceu quodam derivata principio, longo successionis ordine (teste Saxone) profluxerunt. Quomodo autem similes partus judicabuntur, August. De Civ. Dei plurima dicit de simili propagine, utri sexui magis sit attribuenda." On which Olaus Magnus piously remarks, "Crediderim ego id a vindice Deo effectum, ut Dani, qui de sanguinis nobilitate plus nimio gloriantur, Suetiamque frequentius, quam felicius impugnare consueverant, Regibus a fera Suetica genitis obnixos vertices indinare cogerentur. Quam acer autem hic Ulpho Sprachaleg Suecus ursi nepos fuerit in bello, quam etiam astuti et vafri ingenii supra videre licet!"
Joannes Scheffer mentions as one of the primitive gods of the Lapps, "Hyse," whose function it was "lupis et ursis imperare." Whether this king of the wolves and bears was a wolf or a bear, and what was his nature or functions, does not appear. In Scheffer's chapter, "De Sacris Magicis et Magia Lapponum," we find the Bear on the Magic Tympanum along with Thor, Christ, the Sun, and the serpent—who were gods to them—and some other animals, e.g., the wolf and reindeer; and in his chapter on the wild beasts of the country, he tells us they call the bear the lord of the woods, "vocant eum dominum sylvarum," which is explained to mean that he is "rus omnium animalium reliquorum;'' so that the king of the wolves and bears might well be a bear, and could not well be a wolf.119 There is no clear evidence, however, of the worship of the animal by the Lapps.
The King of the Bears occurs again in the ancient literature of India. Krishna appears in the Mahabharata as married to Jamba who is the daughter of the King of the Monkeys (we have no doubt there were tribes in India with the monkey for their Totem); a lady who the Vishnu Purana is daughter of the king, not of the monkeys, but of the bears. Jambavat, the lady's father, appears again in the Bhagavata Purana, and there he is not only the King of the Bears, but a celestial personage. Hari having gained a victory the gods assemble to do homage to him, and celebrate his triumph, which is proclaimed by Jambavat. "Jambavat, King of the Bears, swift as thought, proclaimed this victory, the occasion of great festivity, with sounds of kettledrums, in all the regions!"—a proceeding competent to a celestial only, we should say, and which illustrates the facts above founded on as furnished by Scheffer.120
12. The Crab.—The crab stands next. He is in the heavens as
Cancer, and on the
coins of Cumæ in Campania, Butontimi in Apulia, Bruttium
in genere, Crotona in
Bruttium, Terina in Bruttium, Agrigentum in Sicilia, Erix in Sicilia, Himera in
Sicilia, Panormi in Sicilia, Priapus in Mysia, Cos, island of Caria, Sozusa in
Cyrenaicæ (on the obverse is an animal like a mouse). The dates of these coins
range from 300 b.c. to 100 b.c. There are probably many others having the crab.
We do not know much of him in mythology but we saw him as a god now worshipped
by a tribe in Fiji. The reason assigned for putting him in the heavens is of an
intense degree of silliness than that usually given for so promoting an animal.
When Hercules was attacking the Hydra—the many headed Naga—"Juno, jealous of his
glory, sent a sea-crab to bite his foot. This new enemy was soon despatched, and
Juno unable to succeed in her attempt to lessen the fame of Hercules, placed the
crab among the constellations, where it now bears the name of Cancer."121 It will
be admitted that this story, read literally is quite ridiculous. If we take
Hercules to stand for a tribe—the Heraclidæ [what does this name
etymologically?], the Hydra for a Serpent-tribe or nation, and the sea-crab for
a Crab-tribe, the story becomes intelligible. The Crabs, having come to the
relief of the Serpents, when attacked by the Heraclidæ, were defeated along
with their allies. The introduction of Juno into the legend probably was of late
date, and had for its object to explain why Cancer was a constellation—a fact
that would cease to be easily accounted for when, as a Totem-god, the crab had
become obscure or obsolete.
We have now examined the list of animals set down for consideration, excepting the Asselli—the little asses, and them we can pass over, as they would take much space, and there are more important animals to attend to. The Jews said the Samaritans worshipped the Ass, and the Samaritans said the Jews worshipped it. The Romans and others joined chorus with the Samaritans. The reader who is curious on this subject, will find in Kitto's "Encyclopaedia"—the edition before last—sub voce Ass, some guidance in his inquiries. The story Tacitus gives in the Annals is well known, and so is the controversy between Josephus and Apion as to whether the Jews had the cultus. Some light on the subject is thrown by the book of Zacharias in the Apocryphal New Testament, and also in ''Lacon," and in Hallam's ''Middle Ages," in both of which there are accounts of the Assinarii and the Festival of the Ass. The reader will recall Balaam's ass, and the ass of Silenus; the asses that helped Bacchus in his Indian expedition; and that in Egypt [p.205] the ass was "the symbol of Typhon." We may be pretty sure he was the Totem of some tribes of men who were of importance, otherwise he would not have been promoted to the heavens. He furnished a stock name to the Arabs.122
It would be out of place, even were we able to do it, to attempt to exhaust the subject in an article of this description. There are two creatures, however, which it is as well we should notice before going with on with our argument. They are the Bee and the Eagle. It is pretty certain, we think, that both of them were Totems promoted to be gods.
13. The Bee.—There was a goddess Melitta, or Melissa, whom Bryant identifies with Seira and Demeter.123 She was represented by a bee and there were tribes named after her, "Melittio," or "Melissse," that is, Bees. Bryant says they were her priests. It is certain they are numerous enough to send out colonies. This is admitted, and at the colonists were always called Bees, Bryant says that was a reminder of the Greek writers. "The Grecians have sadly confounded histories where they are mentioned by interpreting the Melisssa."' He admits the bee, however, to have been the hieroglyphic Melissa. "It is to be found as a sacred and provincial emblem on coins which were struck at places where she was worshipped [the italics are ours]. But the Greeks did not properly distinguish between the original and the substitute, and from thence the mistake arose." The Greeks, we submit, knew quite well what they meant, and it is the moderns who should be reflected upon for misunderstanding them. They called them bees, as we, in referring to American tribes, would speak of bears, wolves, and eagles; and the Bee that had originally been a Totem had become a Totem-goddess. The following passage, from Bryant, we submit is almost perfectly sensible when read in the light of our hypothesis:—
"Philostratus mentions that, when the Athenians sent their first colony to Ionia, the Muses led the way in the form of Bees. And Herodotus says that the northern side of the Danube was occupied by Bees. When the shepherd Comatus was enclosed in an ark, Bees were supposed to have fed him. Jove also, upon Mount Ida, was said to have been nourished by Bees. When the temple at Delphi was a second time erected it was built by Bees."
There was, we may conclude, not only a Bee-tribe, but there were
gentes of the bee stock spread over a vast tract of country, as they should be owing to
incidents of the Totem stage. What Bryant says [p.206] of the
bee coins shows the importance of
the sort of evidence ancient coins furnish. We have the bee on ancient coins of
Athens, whence Philostratus says bees set out; on coins of Elyrus in Crete,
where Melitta, daughter of a king Bees lived, and helped the goat Amalthæa to
nurture Jove; on the coins of Coressia, Julis, and Sicinus, towns in the island
of Ceos; on the coins of Praasus in Crete; of Ephesus in Ionia, whose coins also
give the bee and half-stag; of Cyon in Caria; Taba in Caria; Elasusa, island of
Cilicia, and of Acraaus, in Lydia. These coins are all of date B.C.
14. The Eagle.—This bird could perhaps be made as much of as the serpent, horse, or bull. We must dispose of it in a few sentences. Bryant says it was the ensign of the Egyptians, who were named after it; but more probably the dominant tribe only was so named. The eagle was Nisroch, the god of Nineveh. It was also the symbol of the kings of Chaldæa. Of course it got to be compounded with the human form, to have two and three heads, and so on. Mr. Layard remarks of these compounds of the eagle, bull, and lion, as follows:—"It is worthy of observation that wherever they (that is, the human-headed lions and bulls) are either in contest with the man or with the eagle-headed figure, appear to be vanquished." And he adds, "I have already ventured to suggest the idea which these singular forms were intended to convey—the union of the greatest intellectual and physical powers but certainly their position with reference to other symbolical figures would point to an inferiority (that is, of the lions and bulls) in the celestial hierarchy."124 Of the emblem hypothesis we shall have something to say presently. Meantime, it suffices, as regards the eagle, to find a tribe named from it, and that in one quarter it was a greater god than the horse or bull. Among the Jewish tribes (the later Jews, say) the eagle was the emblem of the tribe of Dan, the ox of Ephraim, and the lion of the tribe of Judah,125 the lion here appearing as belonging to the dominant tribe. The Roman eagle will occur to every one, and in Rome eagle was a gentile name. A great many places were named from the bird, notably Aquileia, known as Roma secunda. We must say no more of the eagle however. It is everywhere. The coins having it belong to all places and dates, and are far too numerous for enumeration.
The list of animals that were Totems among the ancients might be [p.207] extended, by evidence of varying degrees of force, to comprise the tiger, wolf, cat, panther, elephant,126 stag, boar, fox, rat, and rabbit; the raven, hawk, and cock; the ant, butterfly, and grass-hopper; the creatures, in short, that figure in heraldry. Strange it may seem, there is a Lord of tigers now, and he is a good god, as a Totem should be.127 The Bygahs or Jogees regard him so much they won't eat him—a poor compliment, but it is significant. In the Bygah's mythology a milch tigress was foster-mother to the first man. "Coeval with the creation of the world were created one Naga Jogee, and his wife, Mussumat Naga. One day they went into the forest to dig for roots, and from the earth they dug up a boy-child, who was nursed for them, under the direction of Mahadeo, by a milch tigress.''128 Major M'Pherson, in his paper on the religion of the Khonds, says that people believe "natural tigers to kill game only to benefit men, who generally find it but partially devoured, and share it; while the tigers which kill men are either Tari (a goddess), who has assumed the form of a tiger for purposes of wrath or men, who, by the aid of a god, have assumed the form of tigers, and are called 'Mleepa Tigers.'''129 The way in which the beneficent nature of the Totem is here, by fictions, put beyond suspicion, is delightfully simple.130 "Mleepa" or "Were" wolves are also common, as every one knows; and it is equally familiar that the wolf has often [p.208] been a foster-mother, as she was to Romulus and Remus. The tiger and wolf are Totems in America, as are several others on the list above-given. It is altogether out of the question, however, to attempt to deal here with such a list. Enough has been said to prove that the most savage animal may be accepted by a tribe of men as a Totem, and be thereafter developed into a great and benign god.131 We must also dispose of the worship of plants in a summary manner. This matters the less that the worship of a considerable variety of them is established in Mr. Fergusson's recent publication on "Tree and Serpent Worship."132 Among these we have the Pear-tree, Oak, Asclepias—a creeping shrub—(the Soma, a great Indian god), the Pipal, the Fig-tree, the Bela, the Tulsi plant, the Tamarisk, and the Elapatia and Talok trees. To this list we may add the Olive, Laurel, Lotus, Palm, Pomegranate and Poppy. A [p.209] spiritual ideal of a tree we have in Yggdrasil. Some of these became great gods, and got a place in the religion of the Life-Powers. In one or two cases the legends that give us the earliest account of plant worship give us also a primitive mother for the tribe having the worship and the suggestion of kinship through the mother only having existed in the tribe. Thus in the legend of Athens, which introduces the Olive, as we have it from Varro (Apud August. de Civi. Dei, xviii. 9), we learn that "a double wonder" appeared springing out of the earth—namely, the Olive-tree and Water—the Oracle declared the Olive to signify Athene, and the Water Poseidon, and that the citizens must choose from which of the two they would name their town. Men and women voted together, and the latter carried the honour for Athene by majority. Poseidon was thereon enraged, and to appease him men were deprived, among other privileges, of that of having their children named after them. So that anciently, the story bears, children in Athens took their names from their mothers, as they do among the Australians and American Indians. The case of the Ioxidæ again gives us the suggestion of female supremacy in legend which also informs us that ''they reverenced as holy, and worshipped," a certain marsh plant, which no doubt was their Totem.133
With these few observations on plant worship we must pass on to our argument. We shall consider first the explanations that have been offered of divine honours being paid to such beasts as the serpent and lion, and to trees, &c.; and after showing that they are unsatisfactory, we shall proceed to consider the weight of the evidence direct and indirect that goes to show the soundness of our hypothesis.
1. The Emblem Hypothesis.—Suppose we knew that all men were, as Bryant believed, derived from one family since 2348 b.c.—the date being the Deluge—that writer's Arkite system would still be worth nothing, either as an explanation of animal worship, or as evidence of the Deluge having occurred. He does not pretend to include nearly all the animals or plants that have been worshipped in his list of Arkite emblems; and, accordingly, to give a reasonable colour to his hypothesis that there had been any Arkite emblems at all that had degenerated into gods, he ought to have excluded the possibility of those he includes having become gods through the operation of such causes as led to the worship of the others. Such causes, whatever they were, being admitted to have been in operation, will explain all the cases; and before an hypothesis of special causes in some causes can be entertained, the operation of the general causes as regards [p.210] them must be shown either to be insufficient or to be excluded. However, Bryant has not attempted, or even thought of attempting, to show; and, therefore, even could we make the necessary summation as to the history of human tribes, we must still conclude this learned and, in a confused sort of way, ingenious man he succeeded in nothing—not even in setting up a respectable hypothesis. It is simply impossible, however, with our modern information on history of several nations having been carried beyond the proper time assigned to Noah and his family—to make such a support as Bryant requires to set out with. Moreover his system depends on not one, but a series of hypothesis, to support it, and they are all bad. 1. There is the hypothesis that the animals had been emblems. This is bad, as we have shown. 2. There is the hypothesis that the emblems degenerated into gods. This is not supported by the instance adduced of such degeneration having, historically, taken place, or even by a further analysis of the probable steps than which it could have happened. 3. There is the hypothesis that through the idolatry of some one animal of a species thus included, a religious regard came to be extended to the species. This is applies to the same remark as we have made on the preceding hypothesis. The far-fetching processes by which even a poor appearance of them has been made for the emblems as at all probable, we need not remark upon. At the same time, as we have amply acknowledged we have profited much by Bryant's researches at one point. It is necessary in his scheme, as in ours, that it should be shown that the Totems—as we say; the animal emblems, as he says—were previous to the gods of the mythologies.
Another emblem hypothesis represents each animal as, in some way not now to be understood, typical of the nature of some one or all of the gods. This again is a fanciful explanation surrounded by the same sort of difficulties. How came men to think of taking animals and plants to represent their gods? We can understand the sense only when we conceive their gods as spiritual ideals of animals and plants. Besides, the hypothesis assumes the deities as existing prior to the animal gods, and this is contrary to the evidence. And also should the selection of an animal to be the type of a god render the species sacred? We do not religiously regard the pigeon, though the dove is one of our most mysterious symbols. We can understand on the other hand, how it decayed into a symbol, knowing it to have been a god that had grown obsolete. The fish is a Christian symbol but we have not a religious regard for fishes. When the fish-god was a power, however, his worshippers religiously regarded the fish-tribe. They would not eat them. It has been true of these as of most symbols; facts come first, and symbols are facts in decadence.
There is yet another form of the emblem hypothesis. It is [p.211] mentioned in a passage cited from Mr. Layard, and which, almost in a sentence, that author states and abandons. This is the hypothesis that the compounds of various animal and human forms ''were intended to convey the union of the greatest intellectual and physical powers." This altogether fails to touch the fact of the real worship of living animals. Moreover, as an explanation of the compounds it is untenable. It simply won't hold of the Naga compounds. They are not intended to convey anything of the sort. Will it hold of the dog compounds? As to the bull, lion, and eagle compounds, we saw Mr. Layard's opinion to be that it will not hold; the evidence showing the creatures to have a place, and to be subordinated to one another in the celestial hierarchy. The fact is, though we now make use of lions, sphinxes, and so on, to convey such ideas as he refers to, we demonstrate in doing so only the poverty of the modern imagination and the feebleness of our art instincts; inasmuch as being incapable of inventions, we mimick old forms derived from the religious faiths of long past and misunderstood generations.
While no cases are producible in support of the emblem
hypothesis of animals regarded as emblems merely, or illustrating their transition
from being emblems to being themselves objects of adoration, we are not without
cases to show that the animal-gods were prolongations of the Totems. We have
such a case, for example, in Peru. The Peruvians, according to Acosta,
worshipped the sun, moon, planets, and stars; fountains and rivers; rocks, great
stones, hills, and mountains; land (Tellus) and sea (Poseidon)—all these objects
being regarded as persons. They worshipped Thunder, believing him to be a man in
the heavens with a sling and mace! Of lesser objects on earth, he tells us, they
worshipped fruits and roots, some small stones, and the metals; while among the
animals they worshipped he makes special mention of the bear, lion, tiger, and
snake. Now we are able from this author to see what were the speculations of
a people in the stage in which, having animals as gods on earth, they also
worshipped stars in heaven. Of his account of star-worship in Peru, we cite the
following version from Lord Herbert of Chedbury:—"They particularly adored
that constellation which we call Cabrillas, or the goat, and they Colca; and
commanded that such offerings should be made to some stars, and such to others,
those being particularly worshipped according as every one's necessity required.
The Opisons adored the star Urchuchilly, feigning it to be a Ram of divers
colours, who only took care of the preservation of cattel; and it is thought to
be the same which the astrologers call Lyra. Besides these two, they worshipped two
others that are near them, and say that one of them is a Sheep and the other a
Lamb. There are some who adore another star that ruled over the Serpents
[p.212] and Adders, from which they promised safety
to themselves and also who worshipped the star called the Tiger, who they believed
preside over tigers, lions, and bears. They were of opinion that there was not any
least or bird upon the earth whose SHAPE OR IMAGE DID NOT SHINE IN THE HEAVENS, by
whose influence its similitude generated on the earth, and its species
increased."134 Thus it
is that the beings in the stars were believed to have the animal types
and to be powers in the celestial hierarchy.
This case proves (1) a connection, such as we have been endeavouring to trace, to have existed between the worship of animals and the nomenclature of the heavens; (2) that the celestial beings were conceived to be in the shape of the animals, and to have special relations to their breed on earth; and (3) while it indicates the personal, or of tribal preferences for particular stars as animal gods, it shows the process to have been in operation by which, on the consolidation of the political system, the divine functions are distributed among the tribal, or rather we should say gentile, gods of a group.135
Now of two things one. Either the Peruvians, as some mention, independently achieved the civilisation they had, starting from the Totem stage in which their neighbours remained, or their formation, including the religious doctrines, were derived by them from some one or other of those nations we call the ancient. On the other view, of course, the animal gods are the prolongations of the Totem; on the latter we have in the case of the Peruvians a reflection of the religious system of some one or other of the ancient nations, so that on the least favourable of the alternatives we have them; so that in some one at least of the ancient nations that worship the animals—and they all did—the animals were not emblems, but were exact images of the gods. What was true in one case, the prolongation is, was true in all. That is to say, there are not only facts here to support the emblem hypothesis in any of its forms, but the assumption derivable from the facts we have is against that hypothesis.
2. Mr. Fergusson's Explanations.—So much for the emblems thesis. There is no other that we know of except in the special case of the serpent and tree, in regard to which views have been put forward by Mr. Fergusson. Tree worship he conceives to have sprung from a perception of the beauty and utility of trees. "With all their poetry and all their usefulness," he says, "we can hardly be as- [p.213] tonished that the primitive races of mankind should have considered trees as the choicest gifts of the gods to men, and should have believed that their spirits still delighted to dwell among their branches, or spoke oracles through the rustling of their leaves." Of this it suffices to say, it does not at all meet the case of the shrubs, creepers, marsh-plants, and weeds, that have been worshipped, and is obviously not the key to the mysteries of plant worship. His account of the origin of serpent worship is, if possible, even more unsatisfactory. He ascribes it to the terror with which the serpent inspired men to the perception of his remarkable nature, the ease and swiftness of his motions, and his powers of quickly dealing death by sudden spring or mysterious deadly poison. To this the objection is that the serpent religion is not a religion of fear but of love. The serpent, like the tiger and bull, is a benign god. He is a protector, teacher, and father. How came a religion beginning in terror to be transformed into a religion of love? The terror hypothesis will, we submit, not meet the case, even of the serpent. And no such hypothesis, it is obvious, can be extended to cover the run of cases to explain the worship, say, of the dog, the dove, or the bee.
The hypothesis we put forward starts from a basis of ascertained facts. It is not an hypothesis explanatory of the origin of Totemism be it remembered, but an hypothesis explanatory of the animal and plant worship of the ancient nations. It is quite intelligible that animal worship growing from the religious regard for the Totem or Kobong—the friend and protector—should, irrespective of the nature of the animal, be a religion of love. What we say is our hypothesis explains the facts. It admits an endless variety of plants and animals to the pantheon as tribal gods; it explains why the tribes would be named from the animal or plant, and why the tribesmen would even, as we saw in some cases they did, esteem themselves as if the species of the Totem-god. It explains why in Egypt, Greece, India, and elsewhere, there should be a number of such gods, by showing that there should be as many as there were stocks, counting themselves distinct, in the population; and it also explains why in one place one animal should be pre-eminent and in another subordinate, the gods following the fortunes of the tribes. It explains, moreover, on rational principles, for the first time, the strange relations represented by the concurring legends of many lands as having existed between various animals and the anthropomorphic gods; it throws a new light on the materials employed in the so-called science of heraldry, showing whence they were drawn; and, lastly, it enables us to see sense and a simple meaning in many legends, and in some historical narratives, that appeared to be simple nonsense till looked at in the light of this hypothesis. Since it is so simple and [p.214] so comprehensive, and has a basis of facts for its foundation in existing Totem-races; since we have seen reason to believe that the mental condition of these races and the beliefs they entertain have been at some time the mental condition and beliefs of all advanced races; and since the only assumption we make is that the races have been progressive, which in other matters they undoubtedly have been, it seems impossible to resist the conclusion that our hypothesis is a sound one—that the ancient nations came through the Totem stage.
Some facts which make for our hypothesis cannot be too literally insisted on. We have found in numerous cases what seems to be evidence that from the earliest times animals were worshipped by tribes of men who were named after them, and believed to be of their breed. We have seen in several cases the oldest anthropomorphic gods having titles derived from the animals, or believed to be of their breed, or to have been fostered by them; and the conclusion seems to be forced upon us that these gods were preceded by the animals as Totems, if not as gods—and that the latter being by them the same kind of relation that we know in India the same relation had to Buddha, and bears to Vishnu. On the rise of Buddhism among the Nagas, serpent worship was for a time repressed and subordinated; but the serpents were too strong. They re-assembled themselves, and the old serpent faith revived with a human figure on the Olympus! The heavenly Naga is even now the shield or protector of Vishnu.
The early history of Vishnu strikingly illustrates our views on the Rig-Veda; he is a representation of the sun, with powers derived from Indra, is not as yet among the Adityas, and, from being the Lord of the Creation, he is not even a god of the first rank. He and Brahma, indeed, as Muller observes, properly belong to a secondary, post-Vedic, formation of the gods.136 In the Brahmanic period we see him strongly impressing upon the popular imagination, and the germs of those legends appear, that reached their full development in the Epics and Puranas, and through which he attained a first rank, nay, even became a supreme god, as he appears in the Ramayana. These legends relate to his incarnations, of which the first was in a fish, the second in a tortoise, the third in a boar, and the fourth in a man-lion. In the fish legend, among other details comprised in the form it finally [p.215] assumed, represents the fish as instructing Manu in all wisdom. The legend wanting this detail is in the Mahabharata; and there the fish is Brahma: and we have its original in the White Yajur-Veda, where the fish represents no god in particular, and the legend is introduced merely to explain certain sacrificial ceremonies. The legend of the tortoise-incarnation of Vishnu, again, is post-Vedic, while the idea of the Lord of the Creation becoming a tortoise is Vedic. It occurs in the Yajur-veda. In the Ramayana and Linga-Purana it is Brahma, not Vishnu, who, as Creator of the Universe, becomes a boar. This belief first appears in the Black Yajur-veda, and there it is the Lord of Creation who is the boar, and not either Vishnu or Brahma. The original legend of the incarnation, moreover, represents it as cosmical; it is emblematical according to a later conception; while a third form of the legend has Vishnu for some time incarnate in the boar. During the avatara the gods, their very existence being threatened by an enemy, implored the aid of Vishnu, who "at that period was the mysterious or primitive boar." He slew the invader, which was but one of his many exploits in this character. As a man-lion he was of fearful aspect and size; as a boar he was gigantic; as a tortoise he was gigantic; as a fish he filled the ocean.137 In his fifth and subsequent avataras he was incarnate in men-gods, such as Krishna and Buddha, whose histories have been traced, the intention of the incarnations being obvious, namely, to effect a compromise with other religions, and if possible draw their adherents within the fold of Brahmanism—a policy that altogether has been highly successful. Was this the policy of the earlier incarnations? We at once recognise the fish and man-lion as Totem gods, and can see how the policy that dictated an incarnation in Buddha, and is now suggesting an avatara in Christ, to reconcile Brahmanism and Christianity, should have dictated an incarnation in the fish and man-lion. What, then, of the tortoise and the boar? We say they were Totem-gods, and their avataras dictated by the same policy. Of the tortoise in mythology, except in this case, the present writer is almost ignorant;138 but he is a Totem in America, and figures, as does the turtle, on coins of Ægina of ancient date, ranging from 700 b.c. to 450 or 400 b.c, and was presumably a Totem-god. Of the boar there is no doubt. He is worshipped now in China, and was worshipped among the Celts; is a Totem, and figures on the coins of many cities, and the crests of many noble families with whose genealogies legends connect him.139 Since [p.216] the Vedic legends show the fish, tortoise, and boar to have been earlier than Vishnu; to have had to do with the creation with which he only lately came to be connected; and since we have the key to the fictions by which each of them was at the later time made out to have been Vishnu, and so robbed of its primitive character by him; so we cannot doubt but that we possess in this case so many illustrations of the manner in which Zeus, Poseidon, Demeter, Athene, and others of the Egyptian and Greek gods superseded the Totem-gods of the earlier time, derived names from them, and came to be worshipped under their forms.140 The hypothesis that similar occurrences had taken place among Horse, Bull, Ram, and Goat tribes will explain the peculiar relations which we have seen existed between these gods and these animals respectively, and we know of no other hypothesis on which they can be, at least so well, explained. That Dionysus or Poseidon, for instance, should be [Greek] is a fact presenting no difficulty on our hypothesis any more than that either of them should have been figured as a bull or with a bull's head. To what other hypothesis will the fact not be a stumbling-block? Since these and all the other gods of their class were false gods that were gradually developed by the religious imagination, the fancy of poetical persons and the interested imposture that is everywhere promitive of novelties in religion; since the whole of the facts we have been surveying demonstrate a progress in religious speculation from savage fetichism; and since among the lowest races of men we find no such gods figuring as Zeus and his companions, we see already, at this stage of the argument, to be justified in arriving at the conclusion that the ancient nations came through the Totemic stage, and that Totemism was the foundation of their mythologies.
1 Sanchoniatho's "Phoenician History," By the Right Rev. H. Cumberland. London, 1720, pp. 2, 3, 23 et seq. Eusebius, Praepar. Evangel. lib. i. cap. 16.
2 While the materials we have bearing on this subject are deemed worthy of being submitted for consideration, the investigation is yet far from being complete, and its completion will demand the co-operation of many. In the inquiry as here exhibited, it will be seen that several persons have given assistance. Did our hypothesis not seem sound, we should not propound it; but, be it understood, it is submitted as an hypothesis only, in the hope that it may be tested by others better qualified for such investigations. The ancient mythologies have been so often crossed upon one another, interfused, and in appearance confounded with the intermixtures, intercommunications, and varying developments of the tribes of men who initiated them and modified them in successive generations, that it may appear a hopeless task to endeavour to throw new light upon them, still more hopeless to trace them to their beginnings. The only chance of dealing with them successfully, however, is to make them the subject of an hypothesis; and though some may think the chance too small to justify the labour; that this species of inquiry should be excluded from human endeavour—we do not at all agree with them. Their opinion is opposed by the lessons taught by the history of scientific discovery. These show that the inquirer who has facts to go upon should never despair; that in such a case as the present even a failure is a step of progress as demonstrating a line along which the truth does not lie—one more key on the bunch to be labelled as unsuited to the lock. A negative result may forward an investigation. Whether we have hit the truth or not, we trust we have at least been preparing the way for those who in the fulness of time will reach it.
3 Grey's "Travels in North-Western and Western Australia," vol. ii. pp. 225, seq.; and p. 230.
4 The linguists of the United States Exploring Expedition seem not to have paid attention to this subject.
5 Vol. vi. p. 133.
6 This Papa appears in the New Zealand mythology as the mother of all beings; She is the earth; her husband, Bangi, the heavens. The two clave together during 1000 divisions of time, each division a being called Po; and their children, who "were ever thinking" what the difference might be between darkness and light, after meditating their murder, resolved at last to rend them apart. In the family were the following goods: the father of forests, birds, insects, and all things that we in woods; the father of winds and storms; the father of cultivated food; the father of fish and reptiles; the father of uncultivated food; and the father of fierce human beings. They all, in turn—except the father of storms—essay to rend their parents apart. Success at last attends the efforts of Tane-Nahuta, father of forests, who, with his head planted on his mother and feet against his father, thrusting, separated them. "Far beneath he pierces down the earth; far above he thrusts up the sky." On the separation multitudes of human beings were discovered that had been begotten by Banga and Papa, and lay concealed between their bodies. What follows introduces new gods, and explains the war of the elements. The whole of this mythology is scientific in this sense, that it is a series of hypotheses to explain phenomena. The part assigned to the forest god illustrates this. It may be believed the tree god was highly esteemed considering how much was due to him.—Grey's "Polynesian Mythology."
7 What is called the Clan here is identical with the Australian family, as will presently appear.
8 "Archaeologia Americana," vol. ii. p. 109.
9 "Archaeologia Americana," vol. ii. p. 100.
10 Idem, vol. ii. p. 111.
11 Circular letter issued by Mr. Morgan, quoted in the Cambrian Journal for 1860, p. 119.
12 Arch. Amer. vol. ii. p. 113.
13 Sir George Grey's Travels, 1.c. vol. ii. p. 211.
14 Idem, vol. ii. p. 328.
15 Grey's Travels, vol. ii. p. 839.
16 Idem, vol. ii. p. 218. "The whole tendency of their superstition is to deprive certain classes of benefits which are enjoyed by others."
17 Idem, vol. ii. p. 836. "After burial, the dead man can insert a mysterious bone into each of three doctors, who sleep on the grave for the purpose. By means of .this bone, the doctors can kill any one they wish by causing it to enter into his body."
18 Arch. Amer. vol. ii. p. 112. The personification of inanimate objects, the animism, as Mr. Tylor calls it, of the Indians is nearly as complete as in Australia. See "Arch. Amer.," vol. ii. pp. 25, 166, 169. No distinction between the animate and inanimate is made in the languages of the Esquimaux, the Choctaws, the Muskhogee, and the Oaddo. Only the Iroquois, Cherokee, and the Algonkin Lenape have it, so far as is known, and with them it is partial.
19 Long's Voyages, p. 86.
20 Long, l.c. pp. 68 et seq., and p. 139. In Long's opinion Totemism resembles the idea of Destiny, and he says it is not confined to savages, as "many instances might be adduced from history to prove." Very probably. The one instance he cites is that of a Jew banker, of the court of Louis XIV, of France, "who had a black hen, to which he thought his destiny attached." They died together.
21 "Arch. Amer.," vol. ii. p. 130.
22 Brett's "Tribes of Guiana," pp. 390-393.
23 "The Russians in Central Asia." London, 1865, Translated by the Messers. Michell.
24 In the "Archaeologia Americana," vol. ii. p. 112, it is noticed that among the Creeks the villages are divided into white and red, "distinguished from each other by poles of those respective colours." Query—Would a Deer in a white village be a White Deer, and a Wolf in a red village be a Red Wolf?
25 L.c. vol. ii, p. 116.
26 Are the accounts incomplete? and is the dominant tribe among the Hurons also the Sun tribe? The chief of the Hurons, Charlevoix states, is believed to have issued from the sun, and the dignity of chieftainship is hereditary through females only. It is a possible explanation that the chiefs of the Bear-tribe may have invented for themselves a solar origin, in which case the chief would be a Bear, and yet a Sun. Peru presents us with an instance of a Sun that is yet a Serpent, for which a similar explanation would suffice—namely, that the Snake-tribe was dominant, and that its chief families assumed the Sun as their Totem.
27 "Archaeologia Americana," vol. i. p. 352. The sun and moon were occasionally given to fighting it appears.
28 Lib. vi. cap. xii., cited by Prescott.
29 "Archaeologia Americana," vol. ii. pp. 113, 114. Was Helios, who had herds of oxen on the island of Trinacria, chief of a Sun-tribe there? The Heliadee are suggestive of a sun-stock. Max Muller complains of Mr. Grote's disposition "to insist on the purely literal meaning of the whole of Greek mythology." We shall see by-and-by that Mr. Grote's disposition is the right one.
30 The mythologies of Peru and Mexico have yet to be explored, and may be expected to prove a fact worthy to be worked. The few facts we have yield a strong suggestion that the Toltecs, Chimenecs, Aztecs, and Tezucans were groups, compounded like the Natches, of tribes with Totems—the Sun dominant, in Peru at least. The legend o the founding of Tenochtitlan gives a prickly-pear, an eagle, a serpent, and the sun. The Mexicans had the eagle on their standard, and the serpent at least among their gods. The war god, Huitzilopotchli, means, literally, "a humming-bird" and "left." He was figured with the feathers of the humming-bird on his left foot. If the humming-bird was a Totem, this is the only case, excepting one serpent god in the same Olympus, of a Totem becoming a God of Terror that we are acquainted with. The years in the fifty-two years Mexican Cycle were named from plants and animals—a list of them is not accessible. Their law of succession was polyandrous, from brother to brother, and to sister's sons, failing brothers. This demonstrates for them the stage of female kinship. We know nothing of the law of intermarriage.
31 "Fiji and the Fijians," by Thomas Williams, vol. i pp. 114, 121, 216 ff.
32 Himayat (the Himalayas) was a great Hindu god. He had goddess daughters; one, Qanga (the Ganges), another, Uma, "the most excellent of goddesses." See Muir, "Sanskrit Texts," Part iv. pp. 366 ff.
33 See "The Adventures of Kata," and "The Children of Heaven and Earth," in Grey's Polynesian Mythology.
34 A striking illustration of the graduality of the evolution of fetichism can be found in "Fiji and the Fijians," i.e. p. 241. The Fijians are far in advance of the Tongans.
35 Two papers having a bearing on this matter, written by Mr. E. B. Tylor, the one on "The Early Mental Condition of Man," and the other on "Traces of Savage Thought in Modern Civilisation," both read before the Royal Institution, London, and worthy of being consulted.
36 Code, chap. xii. w. 42, 43; and see idem, chap, iv. 49, 50.
37 The systems of transmigration have been various. In the Brahmanic the purified soul returns to Brahma; in the Buddhistic it attains Nirvana. The Egyptian resembled the Brahmanic, as did the Grecian, which was neither indigenous to Greece nor a popular faith. The Jews may have had their system from the Greek philosophers. It is taught in the Kabbala, and resembles the Brahmanic. The soul of Adam reappeared in David, and was to reappear in the Messiah. Some early Christians held the doctrine, but it was never the creed of the Church. It was the creed of the Manichaeans. Origen believed it; so, lately, did Lessing. It was indigenous in Germany and in ancient Mexico.
38 vol. ii. p. 310. Chap in. Part I. "In explanation of animals, lawful and unlawful to be eaten."
39 Idem, vol. ii p. 314.
40 In some quarters in America, images of animals have been found in excavations, and one view is that they were idols. It will be remembered there were such images in the Sun Temples of the Incas.
41 The Zodiacal constellations figured on the porticoes of the Temples of Denderah and Esne, in Egypt, are of great antiquity. M. Dupuis, in his 'Origins des Cultes,' has, from a careful investigation of the position of these signs, and calculating precession at its usual rate, arrived at the conclusion that the earliest of them dates from 4,000 B.C. M. Fourier, in his 'Recherches sur la Science,' makes the representations at Esne 1,800 years older than M. Dupuis....The truth seems to be that nothing is as yet definitely known of these ancient representations; for the manner in which the investigations have been mixed up with the Biblical question of the antiquity of man has prevented any truly scientific research."— Chambers's Encyc. Art. Zodiac. The ancient Zodiacal figures of the Hindus, ancient Persians, Chinese, and Japanese, in some respects resemble those of the Egyptians. Mr. Williams, of the Astronomical Society, informs me that three of the Chinese signs are named from the quail. The symbols of the years in the Aztec Cycle were named after plants and animals. Neither these nor the two hundred gods in the Aztec Olympus have yet been examined.
42 "The Worship of the Serpent" London, 1830.
43 "Culte du Phallus; Culte du Serpent Etudes Anthropologiques." Paris, 1864.
44 "Tree and Serpent Worship," by James Fergusson, F.R.S. India Museum, London.
45 As to the doctrine of the serpent faith, we have, unfortunately, but meagre accounts. The Dahomans have both an earthly serpent and a heavenly. The earthly serpent (called Danh gbwe) is the first person in their Trinity, the others being trees and the ocean. Burton says of this serpent, "It is esteemed the supreme bliss and general good. It has a thousand Danh-si, or snake wives, married and single votaries, and its influence cannot be meddled with by the two others [trees and ocean] which are subject to it." It is believed to be immortal, omniscient, and all-powerful. In its worship there are solemn processions; prayers are addressed to it on every occasion, and answered by the snakes in conversation with the high-priest. The heavenly serpent is called Danh, and has for his emblem a coiled and homed snake of clay in a pot or calabash. He is the god of wealth. The priestesses, in this serpent system, are girls resembling the Nautch girls in the temples of Southern India, and when of age they are married to the god, who himself sets his seal upon them, marking them with his image under circumstances and with mysteries that are undivulged. Ancestral worship is conjoined with that of the snake in Dahomey, as it has been and is in other places, and with it almost certainly, and not with serpent-worship, are connected the horrible human sacrifices that occur on the coast of Guinea. The state of our information on the Dahoman religion is to be regretted, as a minute knowledge of the belief of the worshippers, and of their traditions regarding the history of their religion, would be valuable in this inquiry. It is equally to be regretted that we are without details as to the beliefs of the snake-worshippers of India, who, we learn from the Indian newspapers, are to be found throughout our Eastern empire. How much have we yet to learn of our contemporaries even under the same Government with ourselves! As we write, a letter appears from Bishop Crowther, respecting serpent-worship at Brass, a station of the Niger mission. "No poultry," the Bishop says, "can be reared on account of the snake cobra, which is held sacred here. Not to be killed because sacred, they become possessors of the bushes, and prove a great nuisance to the country. They very often visited the poultry coop at night, and swallowed as many as they wanted; in consequence of which no poultry could be kept, either by the natives themselves, or by the supercargoes in their establishments on shore: neither gloats, sheep, nor small pigs escaped them. Thus the country is often impoverished by them." To support the superstition there are two articles in the treaty made and sanctioned by her Britannic Majesty's Consul for the Bight of Biafra and the Island of Fernando Po on November 17, 1856, one of which runs thus:—
'Article 12. That long detention having heretofore occurred in trade, and much angry feeling having been excited in the natives from the destruction by white men in their ignorance of a certain species of boa-constrictor that visits the houses, and which is ju-ju, or sacred, to the Brassmen, it is hereby forbidden to all British subjects to harm or destroy any such snake, but they are required, on finding the reptile on the premises, to give notice thereof to the chief man in town, who is to come and remove it away.'"
46 "Chips from a German Workshop," vol. i. p. 165.
47 Idem, p. 100.
48 Muller's "Rig-Veda Sanhita," vol. i. p. 165.
49 The Vedic Ahi was three-headed, like the heavenly Nagas in Mr. Fergusson's photographs, or like the Persian Zohak, only one of Zohak's three heads had become human.
50 This, we shall see, is a very partial view. Besides the serpent and bull, the sun and moon; the sheep, goat, and elephant; and the tortoise, fish, boar, and lion, enter (as Totems) into the bases of the Hindu mythologies. Fire also we may believe was a Totem in India. The Fiqua tribe (one of the tribes of the 8hawanoese) are descended from a fabulous man generated in a fire.—Arch. Amer., vol. i. p. 275.
51 Ancient Mythology, vol. i. p. 481. The references to Bryant are to the Second Edition. Lond., 1775.
52 See Bryant ut supra; Strabo, L. xiii. p. 880; Pliny, L. vii. c. 2. "Graces Pergamenus in Hellesponto circa Parium, genus hominum fuisse tradit, quos Ophiogenee vocat."
53 Apollon. Discolus. Mirab. c. 39. Cited by Bryant, l.c. vol. i p. 482.
54 "Tree and Serpent Worship," Appendix D. We infer from the statement that yag is the name of a gotra.
55 It is remarkable how many fables become intelligible when read in the light of this and similar facts which we will produce. Take, for example, the case of Cadmus as interpreted in this light by Mr. Fergusson: "Cadmus fought and killed the dragon that devoured his men, and, sowing his teeth, raised soldiers for his own purpose. In Indian language, he killed the Naga Rajah [Serpent-king] of Thebes, and made Sepoys of his subjects."
56 Brett's "Indian Tribes of Guiana," pp. 390-393.
57 Ancient Mythology, vol. i. p. 475.
58 Bryant, idem, p. 488, and authorities there cited. Bryant, in a foot-note, says the serpent was among the insignia of many countries, and quotes Sidon. Apollinaris, Cann. 6, v. 409:—
Discurrit per utramque aciem."
In India a golden serpent was the banner of the Havasa Indrajit. Muir's Texts, iv. 349.
59 The lists of coins cited in this paper have been furnished to the writer by an accomplished numismatist, Mr. George Sim, Curator of the Coins in the Antiquarian Museum, Edinburgh.
60 See Ezekiel, chap, x., ii, 8 ff.
61 Vol. ii. p. 25.
62 See, in proof of this, Orphic Frag. 43; Orpheus Gesneri, Lipsiæ, 1764, p. 401.
63 Pausanias, 1. 8, 2, 1 4; and see Smith's Dict. s.v. Arion.
64 Ovid, Metam. 1. 6, v. 117; Oridius Janii, vol. ii. p. 344.
65 Idem, 1. 2, v. 668; l.c. vol. ii. p. 141; Virg. Georg. 1. 3, v. 91.
66 Vol. ii. p. 408. That the Totem should be identified with the Son is what we should expect.
67 Arion was a horse, with a man's feet and a human voice.
68 L. 8, p. 272. Ed. Francofurti, 1683.
69 Ælian. Var. Hist. 1. 9, c. 16. Cited by Bryant, l. c. ii. 409.
70 Spanhemii Numismata, vol. i. p. 274, et seq,
71 Whether he was a horse or not, he was certainly a goat, as we shall see. Like the other men-gods, he was in turn identified with the Totem, whatever it was, of the tribe that took him up.
72 See "Rigveda Sanhita," pp. 14-15; and see p. 27. In the Padma Purana, Krishna in the form of a horse is represented as rescuing the Vedas when "the worlds" were burnt up (Muir's Texts, iii., second edition, p. 28); and in the Vishnu Purana we have the Sun as a horse teaching a horse-tribe—men called Vagins (i.e., horses), from being instructed by the Sun-horse (Muir's Texts, iii., second ed., 51, and see p. 52). The horse gives his name to a Brahmanic gotra. The Sun (Aditya) appears again as a horse in the Satapatha Brahmana (Id. iv. 62, and see vol. I. second ed. pp. 11 and 12, where the horse is also identified with Yama and Trita. We have no doubt that these partial contributions to ancient Indian literature were made by men of the horse stock.
73 Vol. ii. p. 416.
74 See a curious chapter on this subject in Lewis, "Origines," vol. iii. p. 32.
75 The later Jews say that the insigne of the tribe of Epbraim was an ox.
76 Kaempfer's "Japan," p. 418, cited by Bryant.
77 Mr. John Evans, in his work on British Coins, p. 180, says the Lion frequently occurs on Gaulish coins.
78 Bryant's "Observations and Inquiries," Cambridge, 1767, p. 128. Ælian de Animal, lib. 12, c. 7.
79 The reader will find along treatise on the Sphinx in the "Numismata Spanhemii," where also the Sphinx is figured on several coins. It is hardly necessary to say it is common on coins.
80 It is upwards of 172 feet long and 66 feet high.
81 "Isis sub forma Leonis itidem et cum facie muliebri oocorit non nunquam in nummis Egyptiorum sicuti in quodam Antonii Pii quern feruit Glusa Medicea."—Spanhemii Numismata, tom. i. De Sphinge in nummis.
82 See article Sphinx, Chambers's Encyc, and authorities there cited.
83 Nineveh, vol. ii. p. 463.
84 Evans, "British Coins," p. 316.
85 L.c. vol. i. p. 361.
86 Sat. 16, v. 8.
87 Lib. i. p. 16.
88 Is. et Os., Ed. Cantab. 1744, Squire's Trans., p. 61.
89 L. 2, c 66.
90 Odyss. 1. 7, v. 92. The reference is wrong in Bryant.
91 Bryant, l.c. vol. i. p. 347.
92 Bryant, l.c. vol. i. p. 329: Ælian, l.c. p. 246 (lib. vii. c. 40).
93 Speke's Journal, pp. 252, 257.
94 Besides these there are two mythical persons of the name, both sons of Ares.
95 Viraj appears to be the first-begotten of the male and female divisions of the Procreator. We formerly saw that according to another set of the Vedic writers Viraj was a cow!
96 Muir's "Sanskrit Texts," vol. i. Second Edition, pp. 158, 498. Vol. iv. pp. 328, 329.
97 Tom. i p. 168.
98 Ed. Lipsiae, 1672; Syntagma ii. cap. 8. De Dagone.
99 L.c. vol. ii. 281, et seq.
100 Selden, l.c., p. 274. This temple of Venus at Eryx was celebrated.
101 L.c. vol. ii. p. 299 ff.
102 L.c. ii. p. 107; Ed. Amstelodami, 1746, p. 341.
103 What follows here is abridged from Bryant, vol. ii p. 312.
104 The god Ammon of Thebes was ram-headed. See Kenrick's "Egypt of Herodotus," p. 44, and the notes p. 67, on the ram-sphinxes of Karnak. See also Lord Herbert of Chadbury's "Religion of the Gentiles," p. 45, where the Ram-god is identified with the sun. His worshippers would not eat mutton!
105 We saw in America a considerable number of Suns and Sun-tribes, and we remember the policy of the Incas. There were far more Zeuses in Greek legend than Suns in America. Take the story of Endymion as handled in Muller's Chips (vol. ii. p. 78). Endymion is son of Zeus and also of Aethlios, king of Elis—an Inca—who is, of course, himself a son of Zeus. Many cases resemble this. "The same custom," i.e., of taking the Sun for father (or, as we say, Totem), says Muler, "prevailed in India," and gave rise to the two great royal families of Ancient India—the so-called Solar and Lunar races."
106 Incarnations of gods in animal forms for such a purpose as we have here are feigned in many mythologies. Perhaps the most curious instance of the fiction is that which occurs in the Brahadaranyaka Upanishad (Muir's Texts, vol. i. pp. 24, 25), where Parusha (the Procreator) having divided into male and female parts, the following incidents occurred. "He cohabited with her (i.e., his female division). From them Men were born. She reflected, 'How does he, after having produced me from himself, cohabit with me? Ah! let me disappear!' She became a cow and the other a bull, and he cohabited with her. From them kine were produced. The one became a mare, and the other a stallion; the one a she-ass, the other a male ass. He cohabited with her. The one became a she-goat, &c., &c." The speculation as to the of the origin of the different species of animals here contained is in several respects more primitive than that of the Khonds on the same subject, as given by Major M'Pherson.
107 Ancient Egyptians, vol. iv., p. 159.
108 See Muir's Sanskrit Texts, vol. i, 2nd ed., p. 16; and vol. iii. 2nd ed., pp. 810.
109 Evans, l.c.. p. 111.
110 See also art. Lupercalia.
111 Mischat Ul-Masabih, Calcutta, 1810, vol. ii. p. 612.
112 Hyginus, Poet Aston, L 2, c. 80, p. 275, ed. Hamburgi, 1674.
113 Lewis, "Origines," vol. iii p. 81.
114 Isis and Osiris, § 7 1. c. p. 15. Trans, p. 8. The word translated pike is given in "Liddell and Scott" as meaning a species of sturgeon.
115 Revue Numismatique, 1860. Plate IV.
116 Mr. Sim's note is, "Bears are only to be found on uncertain coins of Gall Some of these have the wild boar on the obverse. Some have two bears. They are all earlier than Julius Caesar.
117 We have the bear as an object of worship in Athens, with a strange history explanation of the fact. See Suidas.
118 P. 702, ed. Basilæ, lib. xviii. c 30.
119 Schefferi Lapponia, ed. Frankofurti, 1673, pp. 59, 126, and 386. There was a wolf-man in Arcadia (and he was worshipped), namely, Lycaon, as well as a bear-man, who was king of thee country; and Pan's Greek name was Lyceus, from [Greek], a wolf.
120 Muir's Sanskrit Texts, vol. iv., pp. 158 and 126; see also p. 412.
121 Article Hydra, in Lempriere's Dictionary. This account is substantially the same with that given in the most recent Encyclopaedia.
122 See Mishcat ul Masabih, 1.c. vol. ii. p. 93, foot-note respecting Hixnar, or the ass (that is, he was surnamed ass), "the last Khalifah of the dynasty of Ommiah." The ass was here in the royal line.
123 He identifies the hive of Venus, "that hive of many names, the mighty fountain whence all kings are descended," with the Ark. An Hindu would almost certainly pronounce it the Scyphus and Ark also, to answer to the Yoni.
124 Nineveh, vol. ii. p. 460.
125 See Lewis, "Origines;" chapter on coins. It is Aben Ezra, says Lewis, who give the tradition which assigns the Lion, Ox, and Eagle to the tribes of Jndah, Ephraim and Dan respectively, as ensigns. In the Douay Bible (2nd edition, edited by Haydon and Hamill. Two vols. Dublin. No date) the reader will see on a plate at p. 18 vol. i., the ensigns of the tribes according to, at least, some authority esteemed by Catholics. The plate illustrates v. 2 cap. ii. of Numbers, where the ensigns and standards of the Hebrews are referred to. On Judah's standard is the Lion; on Dan's, the Eagle; on Napthah's, the Hind or Hart; on Benjamin's, the Wolf; on Manasseh's, the Horse [or Ass]; on Ephraim's, the Bull or Ox; on Asher's, a Tree; on Issachar's, the Sun and Moon; and on Gad's, a cone on an altar—the Assyrian Linga! In Jacob's dying speech, Genesis xlix, to the eponymous progenitors of the tribes in which their fortunes are indicated, Judah is spoken of as ''a lion's whelp;" Issachar as ''a strong man," Dan as "a snake in the way;" Benjamin as "a ravenous wolf;" Napthali as ''a hind [or hart] let loose;" and Joseph as "a fruitful bough." Compare our version with the Vulgate. The wolf, hind, and lion only are the same in the speech and in the plate of the Douay Bible. In connection with the subject of this note, Ezekiel x. 8-22, is worth looking at, it being kept in view what the faces of the cherubims were. And see ''Seder Olam Rabba," p. 58, Trans. Chron. Institute of London, vol. ii. part ii; and Carpzov's ''Apparatus Historico-criticus, &c.," Frankfort and Leipzig, 1748.
126 The Elephant is a Totem-god now in Brahmah, where the king is styled "King" of the Rising Sun, Lord of the Celestial Elephant, and Master of Many White Elephants, and "Great Chief of Righteousness." [There is a Rising Sun tribe among the Cheppeyans, in North America. Arch. Amer. vol. ii. p. 18.] It occurs with Totem marks in the Sataapatha Brahmana, and is there identified with Vivasat (the Sun) the son of Aditi (see Muir's Texts, vol. iv. p. 13)—a sun-elephant corresponding to the sun-serpent of Peru. Elsewhere we have Ganesh, an elephant-headed divinity, "the mother of the universe," an object of worship at this day. "Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet," 1863, p. 311.
127 He is mentioned in Mr. Justice Campbell's "Ethnology of India," p. 9.
128 Brygnt's Mythology, p. 62 of the Report of the Indian Ethnological Committee, 1865-67, Nagpore, 1868.
129 Religion of the Khonds, p. 25.
130 "Mleepa" tigers, Du Chaillu states, are to be found in Africa. They also occur in among the Arawaks, who call them "Kaimana Tigers." See Brett, l.c. p. 868.
131 We may here, in a foot-note, dispose of
a few facts which, indeed, are those that, now four years ago, suggested this
inquiry, though the writer has been unable to work upon it till recently. The
fact of Serpent and Bull tribes being known to exist, and to have existed,
seemed to offer an explanation of the myth of Cadmus, at Thebes, and of the cow that led him thither. On the same
suggestion it occurred that there might have been a Snake-tribe in Khodes.
Phorbas obtained the supremacy by freeing the island of snakes. The myth of the
Ants and Ægina next strengthened the suggestion of the presence of tribes with
Totems. The ants in the island were miraculously tamed into men—the [Greek]
into the Myrmidons—Ants, that is, quite on the level of the Australian
opossums. Then occurred the Calydonian boar hunt—there is something like it in
the Celtic tales, and in the Highlands, we have no doubt, inquiry will yet
establish the Totem stage. It seemed incredible that the slaughter of a boar
should have employed the whole chivalry of Greece—an army of warriors—and that
the feat should ever after rank among the proudest exploits of the nation. The
question rose, Was there a Boar-tribe? The Oracle enjoined Adrastus to give his
daughters in marriage, one to a boar, and the other to a lion. This was complied
with by their marrying Tydious and Polynices respectively! Tydious came from
Calydon, and was son of Ganeus, king of the country. He was therefore possibly a
boar, if the question above put was to be answered in the affirmative. Was
Polynices, then, a lion, and was there a lion-tribe? As he was the son of
Oedipus, from the land of the sphinx, it seemed not improbable, on the
Totem-view, that he might be a lion. And so the matter appeared worthy of
investigation. The facts here stated will, we think, be felt to add force to those
in the text. Most of them were first noted by the writer in this Review in 1866,
as challenging such an inquiry as the present.
Since this note was in type the writer's attention has been called to "The Antiquities of Heraldry," by Mr. W. S. Ellis, which has recently been issued, and which propounds a view which, at first sight, seems to resemble that in these papers insisted on. Some of the points made, and not a few of the facts founded on, in the chapter devoted to the Heraldry of Mythology, are the same as those here given. His view of the order, and even of the nature of the evolution, will be seen, however, on a close inspection, to differ essentially from that of the present writer. Had Mr. Ellis more folly studied the Totem he might have anticipated what is here being said.
132 Mr. Fergusson's book is, in our opinion, apt to mislead in several respects. 1. The reader gets the impression from it that the worship of the serpent is an exceptional phenomenon; i.e., that it has been singular among animals in being worshipped. 2. It gives the impression that there is a special connection between the serpent and tree. 3. Its title gives the impression that trees only were worshipped, whereas its contents prove the worship as well of small shrubs and plants. All this notwithstanding, it is a valuable book, and one of the most beautiful ever issued.
133 Plutarch, Theseus, chap. iv.
134 Acosta, "Histoire Naturelle," Paris, 1600, pp. 214, 217 (lib. v. chap. 4); Herbert's "Religion of the Gentiles," 1705, p. 86.
135 We have seen in numerous cases the disposition of the tribesmen to identify their Totem with the sun. It is highly probable that the identification of the Totem with particular stars conceived as the sun's inferiors is, like the distribution of further or late phenomenon, posterior, that is to say, to the settled co-ordination of the Totem in the political system.
136 Vishnu and Brahma may have been tribal gods for any length of time; the meaning of Muller's statement must be that they were of low rank in the gentes or tribes that comprised the chief contributories to the Veda. Probably they rose from an importance, like other gods, with the tribes that possessed them. In what follows we get a hint of coalitions of tribes, which would explain their advancement. The history of Vishnu is ably traced in Muir's "Sanskrit Texts," vol. ii., and in Chambers, sub. voc. Vishnu.
137 Will any one venture to suggest that Vishnu, a man-god who had an avatar as a tortoise has degenerated into a Totem of the Delawares?
138 The Greeks had a few tortoise names and one nymph, Chelone, who was turned into a tortoise for not attending the nuptials of Jupiter and Juno.
139 For pig-worship in China, see "American Expedition to Japan." New York, 1856, p. 161. Of the sacred pigs, in sacred styes at Canton, the writers say:—"It was something of a curiosity, though somewhat saddening in the reflections it occasions to behold the sanctified pork and the reverence with which it is worshipped." For Celtic pig-worship, see "Transactions of the Ossianic Society," vol. i. p. 62. 1860. The Celtic legends of Ireland, Wales, and Scotland are pervaded by "the primitive, mysterious boar," and the Irish scholars connect him with the sacred swine of the ancient Celts who, they suppose, had a "porcine worship which was analogous to, if not identical with, the existing worship of Vishnu in his avatar as a boar." Their boast, they may rely on it, was much more ancient than Vishnu, and worshipped over a wide area. He occurs on coins of various cities of Gallia, Hispania, and Britannia; Capua in Campania; Arpi in Apulia; Pæstum in Lucania; Erna in Sicilia; Ætolia in genere; of ancient Athens; of Methymna in Lesbos; Clazomene in Ionia; Chios Ionia, and on several other classical coins all of date b.c., besides being figured on many ancient sculptured stones. [The writer is unable to verify the reference to the actions of the Ossianic Society. He got it in Campbell's Celtic Tales.]
140 An instructive fact is that in Fiji two gods, who will naturally hereafter turn into men-gods, lay claim to the Hawk.