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Adonis, are finally cast into water. In the Sardinian custom the Gossips or Sweethearts of St. John probably correspond to the Lord and Lady or King and Queen of May. In the Swedish province of Blekinge part of the midsummer festival is the election of a Midsummer Bride, who chooses her bridegroom; a collection is made for the pair, who for the time being are looked upon as man and wife.1 Such Midsummer pairs are probably, like the May pairs, representatives of the spirit of vegetation in its reproductive capacity; they represent in flesh and blood what the images of Siva and Pirvatt in the Indian ceremony, and the images of Adonis and Aphrodite in the Alexandrian ceremony, represented in effigy.
The reason why ceremonies whose aim is to foster the growth of vegetation should thus be associated with bonfires; why in particular the representative of vegetation should be burned in tree form or passed across the fire in effigy or in the form of a living couple, will be explained later on. Here it is enough to have proved the fact of such association and therefore to have obviated the objection which might have been raised to my interpretation of the Sardinian custom, on the ground that the bonfires have nothing to do with vegetation. One more piece of evidence may here be given to prove the contrary. In some parts of Germany young men and girls leap over midsummer bonfires for the express purpose of making the hemp or flax grow tall.2 We may, therefore, assume that in the Sardinian custom the blades of wheat and barley which are forced on in pots for the midsummer festival, and which correspond so closely to the gardens of Adonis, form one of those widely-spread midsummer ceremonies, the original object of which was to promote the growth of vegetation, and especially of the crops. But as, by an easy extension of ideas, the spirit of vegetation was believed to exercise a beneficent and fertilising influence on human as well as animal life, the gardens of Adonis would be supposed, like the May-trees or May-boughs, to bring good luck to the family or to the person who planted them; and even after the idea had been abandoned that they operated actively to bring prosperity, omens might still be drawn from them as to the good or bad fortune of families or individuals. It is thus that magic dwindles into divination. Accordingly we find modes of divination practised at midsummer which resemble more or less closely the gardens of Adonis. Thus an anonymous Italian writer of the sixteenth century has recorded that it was customary to sow barley and wheat a few days before the festival of St. John (Midsummer Day) and also before that of St. Vitus; and it was believed that the person for whom they were sown would be fortunate and get a good husband or a good wife, if the grain sprouted well; but if it sprouted ill, he or she would be unlucky.1 In various parts of Italy and all over Sicily it is still customary to put plants in water or in earth on the Eve of St. John, and from the manner in which they are found to be blooming or fading on St. John's Day omens are drawn, especially as to fortune in love. Amongst the plants used for this purpose are Ciuri di S. Giuvanni (St. John's wort?) and nettles.2 In Prussia two hundred years ago the farmers used to send out their servants, especially their maids, to gather St. John's wort on Midsummer Eve or Midsummer Day (St. John's Day). When they had fetched it, the farmer took as many plants as there were persons and stuck them in the wall or between the beams; and it was thought that the person whose plant did not bloom would soon fall sick or die. The rest of the plants were tied in a bundle, fastened to the end of a pole, and set up at the gate or wherever the corn would be brought in at the next harvest. This bundle was called Kupole; the ceremony was known as Kupole's festival; and at it the farmer prayed for a good crop of hay, and so forth.8 This Prussian custom is particularly notable, inasmuch as it strongly confirms the opinion expressed above that Kupalo (doubtless identical with Kupole) was originally a deity of vegetation.1 For here Kupalo is represented by a bundle of plants specially associated with midsummer in folk-custom; and her influence over vegetation is plainly signified by placing her vegetable emblem over the place where the harvest is brought in, as well as by the prayers for a good crop which are uttered on the occasion. This furnishes a fresh argument in support of the view that the Death, whose analogy to Kupalo, Yarilo, and the rest has been shown, originally personified vegetation, more especially the dying or dead vegetation of winter. Further, my interpretation of the gardens of Adonis is confirmed by finding that in this Prussian custom the very same kind of plants is used to form the gardens of Adonis (as we may call them) and the image of the deity. Nothing could set in a stronger light the truth of the theory that the gardens of Adonis are merely another manifestation of the god himself.
1 L. Lloyd, Peasant Life in Sweden, 464 ; Leoprechting, Aus dem Lechrain, p. 257. p. 183. More evidence of customs
and beliefs of this sort will be adduced - W. Mannhardt, Baumkiiltus, p. in the last chapter of this work.
1 G. Pitre, Spettacoli c feste pcpolari St. John's Day for a similar purpose, siciliatu, p. 296 sq. but the mode in which the omens are
2 G. Pitre, op. cit. p. 302 sq.; drawn is somewhat different (Archivio Antonio de Nino, Usi Abruztesi, i. 55 per to studio deltt tradizieni popolari, sq.; Gubernatis, Usi Nuziali, p.39 sq. vii. (1S88), p. 12S sq.).
Cp. Archivio fur lo studio delle tradi- s Matthaus Praetorius, Dcliciac
zioni popolari, i. 135. At Smyrna a Prussicae, herausgegeben von Dr. W.
blossom of the Agnus castus is used on Pierson (Berlin, 1871), p. 56. VOL. II K 1 See.p. 107 sq.
The last example of the gardens of Adonis which I shall cite is reported from Sicily. At the approach of Easter, Sicilian women sow wheat, lentils, and canary-seed in plates, which are kept in the dark and watered every two days. The plants soon shoot up; the stalks are tied together with red ribbons, and the plates containing them are placed on the sepulchres which, with effigies of the dead Christ, are made up in Roman Catholic and Greek churches on Good Friday,2 just as the gardens of Adonis were placed on the grave of the dead Adonis.8 The whole custom—sepulchres as well as plates of sprouting grain—is probably nothing but a continuation, under a different name, of the Adonis worship.
§ 5. Attis
The next of those gods, whose supposed death and resurrection struck such deep roots into the religious faith and ritual of Western Asia, is Attis. He was to Phrygia what Adonis was to Syria. Like Adonis, he appears to have been a god of vegetation, and his death and resurrection were annually mourned and rejoiced over at a festival in spring. The legends and rites of the two gods were so much alike that the ancients themselves sometimes identified them.1 Attis was said to have been a fair youth who was beloved by the great Phrygian goddess Cybele. Two different accounts of his death were current. According to the one, he was killed by a boar, like Adonis. According to the other, he mutilated himself under a pine-tree, and died from the effusion of blood. The latter is said to have been the local story told by the people of Pessinus, a great centre of Cybele worship, and the whole legend of which it forms a part is stamped with a character of rudeness and savagery that speaks strongly for its antiquity.8 But the other story seems also to have been firmly believed, for his worshippers, especially the people of Pessinus, abstained from eating swine.8 After his death Attis is said to have been changed into a pine-tree.4 The ceremonies observed at his festival are not very fully known, but their general order appears to have been as follows.5 At the spring equinox (the twentysecond of March) a pine-tree was cut in the woods and brought into the sanctuary of Cybele, where it was treated as a divinity. It was adorned with woollen bands and wreaths of violets, for violets were said to have sprung from the blood of Attis, as anemones from the blood of Adonis; and the effigy of a young man was attached to the middle of the tree6 On the second day of the festival (the twentythird of March) the chief ceremony seems to have been a blowing of trumpets.1 The third day (the twenty-fourth of March) was known as the Day of Blood: the high priest drew blood from his arms and presented it as an offering.2 It was perhaps on this day or night that the mourning for Attis took place over an effigy, which was afterwards solemnly buried.8 The fourth day (the twenty-fifth of March) was the Festival of Joy (Hilaria), at which the resurrection of Attis was probably celebrated—at least the celebration of his resurrection seems to have followed closely upon that of his death.4 The Roman festival closed on the twenty-seventh of March with a procession to the brook Almo, in which the bullock-cart of the goddess, her image, and other sacred objects were bathed. But this bath of the goddess is known to have also formed part of the festival in her Asiatic home. On returning from the water the cart and oxen were strewn with fresh spring flowers.5
2 G. Pitre, SpettacoIi e feste popolari sicilian*, p. 211. A similar custom is observed at Cosenza in Calabria (Vincenzo Dorsa, La tradizione grecolatina, etc, p. 50). For the Easter
ceremonies in the Greek Church, see R. A. Arnold, From the Levant (London, 1868), i. 251 sqq.
3 ri)roit uffloiv inraQlow 'ASuviSi, Eustathius on Homer, Oii. xi. 590.
1 Hippolytus, Rcfut. onui. Itaeres. s Pausanias, vii. 17 ; Julian, Orat.
v. 9, p. 168, cd. Duncker and v. 177 B, p. 229, ed. Ilertlein. Schneidewin; Socrates, Hist. Eccles. 4 Qvid, Melam. x. 103 sqq.
"V-^'u8? sa.!"' P" 2.°t." Ik > 4 On the festival see especially Mar
3 That Attis was killed by a boar . ., . , ..,' ',.
. , . ., . '. . quardt, Komiscne Staatszvrwaltmir,
was stated by Hermcsmnax, an elegiac .!. , .* ... , . c ..
r .1. r .v /i? 111' 37° *M-; Daremberj; et Saclio,
poet of the fourth century B.C. Pau- n-.. • J , .. ..,
r . .. , .. , ,' ... , Dicttoiinatre ties Antiiimtts srrecques
sanias, vii. 17); cp. Schol.on Nicander, . . .70. , ;• ,
41 a ni. ,1 . • . u 1 ft romaines, 1. col. 1685 so. (article
Alex. 8. The other story is told by ,ir. ... „, ,., ,, . ,. , .-,
..... ,.' '"Cybele ); \\. Mannhardt, Antike
ArnoUus (Aaversus natumes.v. 5 sqq.), ,,-,, . c ... ,,'
, i . et- u V It a/a- mid Feldkiille. p. 291 s,;g.;
on the authority of Timoihcus, an oilier- .. „ ... '' *"
. '.. . , , id., Haumkuttiis, p. 572 sag.
wise unknown writer, who professed to r •""
derive it "ex reconditis antiqiiitatiim ° Julian, Orat. v. 168 C; Joannes
libris et ex intimis mysteriis." It is l.ydus, De meiisibiis, iv. 41 ; Arnobius,
obviously identical with the account Advers. natioiies, v. 7 and 16 sq.;
which Pausanias mentions (I.e.) as the Kirmicus Maternus, De err ore prof an.
story current in Pessinus. relig. 27.
The original character of Attis as a tree-spirit is brought out plainly by the part which the pine-tree plays in his legend and ritual. The story that he was a human being transformed into a pine-tree is only one of those
1 Julian, I.e. and 169 c.
s Trebellius Tollio, Claudius, 4; Tertullian, Apologet. 25. For other authorities see Marquardt, I.e.
3 Diodorus, iii. 59; Firmicus Maternus, De err. pro/an. relig. 3; Arnobius, A0kers, not. v. 16; Schol. on Nicander, Alex. 8; Servius on Virgil, Aen. ix. 116; Arrian, Tactica, 33. The ceremony described in Firmicus Maternus, ch. 22 ("uocte quadam simulacrum in leetiea supinum ponitur et per numeros digestis fletibus plangitur. . . . Idolum sepelis. Idolum plangis," etc.), may very well be the mourning and funeral rites of Attis, to which he had more briefly referred in ch. 3.
4 On the Hilaria see Macrobius, Saturn, i. 21. 10; Julian, Oral. v. 168 n, 169 D; Damascius, Vita Isidori, in I'hotius, Bibliotheca, p. 345 A 5 sqq. ed. Bekker. On the resurrection, see Firmicus Maternus De erroreprofan. relig. 3: "reginae suae amorem [Pa'jges] cum luctiius annuis
consecrarunt, et ut satis iratae mulieri facerent aut ut paenitenti solacium quaererent, quem paulo ante sepelierant revixissejactarunt. . . . Mortem ipsius [i.e. of Attis] dicunt, quod semina colleeta conduntor, vitam rursus quod jacta semina annuis vicious t reconduntur" [renascuntur, C. Halm]. Again compare id., 22: "Idolum sepelis. Idolum plangis, idolum de sepultura proferis, et miser cum haec feceris gaudes "; and Damascius, I.e. r'p, Tup iXap'wi, Ka\ovfitvTjv iopr^f Swtp Id^\ov r'jy i£ fSov yeyorvicut tuiur ffwrijplar. This last passage, compared with the formula in Firmicus Maternus, op. cit. 22.
Baopeire fivorai rov Beou oeoufiirov fffrai yap T/fiir Ik rdvur oiar'jpla,
makes it probable that the ceremony described by Firmicus in this passage is the resurrection of Attis.
5 Ovid, Fast. iv. 337 sqq.; Ammianus Marcellinus, xxiii. 3. For other references see Marquardt and Mannhardt, li.ee.