페이지 이미지
PDF

sideration of this point had better be deferred till we have discussed the character and attributes of Demeter. Meantime it remains to point out that in some places, instead of an animal, a human being was torn in pieces at the rites of Dionysus. This was the custom in Chios and Tenedos ;1 and at Potniae in Boeotia the tradition ran that it had been formerly the custom to sacrifice to the goat-smiting Dionysus a child, for whom a goat was afterwards substituted.2 At Orchomenus, as we have seen, the human victim was taken from the women of an old royal family.8 As the slain bull or goat represented the slain god, so, we may suppose, the human victim also represented him. It is possible, however, that a legend of human sacrifice may sometimes have been a mere misinterpretation of a sacrificial ritual in which an animal victim was treated as a human being. For example, at Tenedos the new-born calf sacrificed to Dionysus was shod in buskins, and the mother cow was tended like a woman in child-bed.4 At Rome a she-goat was sacrificed to Vedijovis as if it were a human victim.5

§ 8. Demeter and Proserpine

The Greek myth of Demeter and Proserpine is substantially identical with the Syrian myth of Aphrodite (Astarte) and Adonis, the Phrygian myth of Cybele and Attis, and the Egyptian myth of Isis and Osiris. In the Greek myth, as in its Asiatic and Egyptian counterparts, a goddess—Demeter—mourns the loss of a loved one— Proserpine—who personifies the vegetation, more especially the corn, which dies in summer to revive in spring. But in the Greek myth the loved and lost one is the daughter instead of the husband or lover of the goddess; and the mother as well as the daughter is a goddess of the corn.6 Thus, as modern scholars have recognised,1 Demeter and Proserpine are merely a mythical reduplication of the same natural phenomenon. Proserpine, so ran the Greek myth,2 was gathering flowers when the earth gaped, and Pluto, lord of the Dead, issuing from the abyss, carried her off on his golden car to be his bride in the gloomy subterranean world. Her sorrowing mother Demeter sought her over land and sea, and learning from the Sun her daughter's fate, she suffered not the seed to grow, but kept it hidden in the ground, so that the whole race of men would have died of hunger if Zeus had not sent and fetched Proserpine from the nether world. Finally it was agreed that Proserpine should spend a third, or according to others a half,8 of each year with Pluto underground, but should come forth in spring to dwell with her mother and the gods in the upper world. Her annual death and resurrection, that is, her annual descent into the under world and her ascension from it, appear to have been represented in her rites. 4

1 Porphyry, De abstin. ii. 55. p. 224 sqq.; on Proserpine in the same

* Pausanias, ix. 8. 2. character see Cornutus, De not. dear.

3 See above, p. 36 sq. 28; Yarro in Augustine, Civ. Dei,

* Aelian, Nat. An. xii. 34. Cp. vii. 20; Hesychius, s.v. 4><pjiipMeia; W. Robertson Smith, Religion of the Firmicus Maternus, De errore prof. Semites* p. 300 sqq. relig. 17. In his careful account of

4 Aulus Gellius, v. 12. 12. Demeter as a corn-goddess Mannharch 0 On Demeter as a corn-goddess see appears to have overlooked the very

Mannhardt, Mythtlogische Forschuiigen, important statement of Hippolytus

With regard to the name Demeter, it has been plausibly argued by Mannhardt5 that the first part of the word is derived from deai, a Cretan word for "barley" ;6 and that thus Demeter means the Barley-mother or the Corn-mother; for the root of the word seems to have been applied to different kinds of grain by different branches of the Aryans, and even of the Greeks themselves.1 As Crete appears to have been one of the most ancient seats of the worship of Demeter,2 it is not surprising that her name should be of Cretan origin. This explanation of the name Demeter is supported by a host of analogies which the diligence of Mannhardt has collected from modern European folk-lore, and of which the following are specimens. In Germany the corn is very commonly personified under the name of the Corn-mother. Thus in spring, when the corn waves in the wind, the peasants say, "There comes the Corn-mother," or "The Corn-mother is running over the field," or "The Corn-mother is going through the corn."s When children wish to go into the fields to pull the blue corn-flowers or the red poppies, they are told not to do so, because the Corn-mother is sitting in the corn and will catch them.4 Or again she is called, according to the crop, the Ryemother or the Pea-mother, and children are warned against straying in the rye or among the peas by threats of the Rye-mother or the Pea-mother. In Norway also the Peamother is said to sit among the peas.5 Similar expressions are current among the Slavs. The Poles and Czechs warn children against the Corn-mother who sits in the corn. Or they call her the old Corn-woman, and say that she sits in the corn and strangles the children who tread it down.6 The Lithuanians say, "The Old Rye-woman sits in the corn."7 Again the Corn-mother is believed to make the crop grow. Thus in the neighbourhood of Magdeburg it is sometimes said, " It will be a good year for flax; the Flaxmother has been seen." At Dinkelsbuhl, in Bavaria, down to twenty-five or thirty years ago, people believed that when the crops on a particular farm compared unfavourably with those of the neighbourhood, the reason was that the Cornmother had punished the farmer for his sins.1 In a village of Styria it is said that the Corn-mother, in the shape of a female puppet made out of the last sheaf of corn and dressed in white, may be seen at midnight in the corn-fields, which she fertilises by passing through them; but if she is angry with a farmer, she withers up all his corn.2

(Refut. omn. Iiiures, v. 8, p. 162, ed. 4 Schomann, Griech. Alterthiimer? Duncker and Schneidewin) that at the ii. 393; Preller, Gritch. Mythologie? initiation into the Eleusinian mysteries i. 628 sq., 644 sq., 650 sq. The (the most famous of all the rites of evidence of the ancients on this head, Demeter) the central mystery revealed though not full and definite, seems to the initiated was a reaped ear of sufficient. See Diodorus, v. 4; Fircorn, micus Maternus, De err. prof, relig. 7,

1 Welcker, Griechische Gitterlehre, 27; Plutarch, /sis ct Osiris, 69; Apuii. 532; Preller, in Pauly's Real- leius. Met. vi. 2; Clemens Alex. ProEucychpiidie fitr class. Altcrthumswiss. trept. ii. §§ 12, 17; Hesychius, s.v. vi. 107; Lenormant in IJaremberg Kopayttv; S. Keinach, Traiti (TEpiet Saglio, Dictionnaire iies Antiquitis graphie Grccque (Paris, 1885), p. 141 grecques ct romaines, i. pt. ii. 1047 sqq.; NY. Immerwahr, Die Kulte utui sqq. Comjiare Diltenberger, Sylloge Mytheu Arkaiiiens (Leipsic, 1891), p. Inscriptienum Graecarum, No. 370, 100 sqq. (inscriptions found at Mannote 13. tinea). In a Greek calendar of Asia

2 Homer, Hymn to Demeter; Apol- Minor "the ascent of the goddess" is lodorus, i. 5; Ovid, pasti, iv. 425 dated the seventh day of the month Dius, sqq.; id., Met am. v. 3S5 sqq. and the "descent of the goddess" the

5 A third, according to Homer, H. fourth day of the month Hephaestius

to Demeter, 399, and Apollodorus, i. (NV. Kroeliner, Les Inscriptions Grecques

5. 3 ; a half, according to Ovid, Fasti, du I*ouvre, No. 33, p. 50 sq.).

iv. 614; id., Metam. v. 567; Hyginus, * Mythol. Forschungen, p. 292 sqq.

Pat. 146. • Etymol. Magnum, p. 264. 12 sq.

1 O. Schrader, Sprcuhvergleichung und Urgeschichte* (Jena, 1890), pp. 409, 422; V. Hehn, Kulturpflanzen und Hausthierc in ihrem Vebergang ans Asien,* p. 65. Aijai is doubtless equivalent etymologically to ftiai, which is often taken to be spelt, but this seems uncertain.

* Hesiod, Theog. 971 ; Lenormant in Daremberg et Saglio, Diet, des AntiquiUs, i. pt. ii. p. 1029.

8 W. Mannhardt, Afythol. Forsch.

p. 296. Cp. O. Hartung, "Zur Volkskunde aus Anhalt," Zeitschrift des Vereins fiir Volkskunde, vii. (1897), p. 150.

4 W. Mannhardt, Mythol. Forsch. p. 297.

•' Ibid. p. 297 st}.

'' Ibid. p. 299. Compare R. Andree, Uraunschxveiger Volkskunde, p. 281.

7 W. Mannhardt, Mythol. Forsch. p. 3°0

Further, the Corn-mother plays an important part in harvest customs. She is believed to be present in the handful of corn which is left standing last on the field; and with the cutting of this last handful she is caught, or driven away, or killed. In the first of these cases, the last sheaf is carried joyfully home and honoured as a divine being. It is placed in the barn, and at threshing the corn-spirit appears again.8 In the Hanoverian district of Hadeln the reapers stand round the last sheaf and beat it with sticks in order to drive the Corn-mother out of it. They call to each other, "There she is! hit her! Take care she doesn't catch you!" The beating goes on till the grain is completely threshed out; then the Corn-mother is believed to be driven away.4 In the neighbourhood of Danzig the person who cuts the last ears of corn makes them into a doll, which is called the Corn-mother or the Old Woman and is brought home on the last waggon.5 In some parts of Holstein the last sheaf is dressed in woman's clothes and called the Corn-mother. It is carried home on the last waggon, and then thoroughly drenched with water. The drenching with water is doubtless a rain-charm.0 In the district of Bruck in Styria the last sheaf, called the Cornmother, is made up into the shape of a woman by the oldest married woman in the village, of an age from fifty to fifty-five years. - The finest cars are plucked out of it and made into a wreath, which, twined with flowers, is carried on her head by the prettiest girl of the village to the farmer or squire, while the Corn-mother is laid down in the barn to keep off the mice.1 In other villages of the same district the Corn-mother, at the close of harvest, is carried by two lads at the top of a pole. They march behind the girl who wears the wreath to the squire's house, and while he receives the wreath and hangs it up in the hall, the Corn-mother is placed on the top of a pile of wood, where she is the centre of the harvest supper and dance. Afterwards she is hung up in the barn and remains there till the threshing is over. The man who gives the last stroke at threshing is called the son of the Corn-mother; he is tied up in the Corn-mother, beaten, and carried through the village. The wreath is dedicated in church on the following Sunday; and on Easter Eve the grain is rubbed out of it by a seven years' old girl and scattered amongst the young corn. At Christmas the straw of the wreath is placed in the manger to make the cattle thrive.2 Here the fertilising power of the Corn-mother is plainly brought out by scattering the seed taken from her body (for the wreath is made out of the Corn-mother) among the new corn; and her influence over animal life is indicated by placing the straw in the manger. At Westerhiisen, in Saxony, the last corn cut is made in the shape of a woman decked with ribbons and cloth. It is fastened to a pole and brought home on the last waggon. One of the people in the waggon keeps waving the pole, so that the figure moves as if alive. It is placed on the threshing-floor, and stays there till the threshing is done.8 Amongst the Slavs also the last sheaf is known as the Rye - mother, the Wheat - mother, the Oats - mother, the Barley-mother, and so on, according to the crop. In the district of Tarnow, Galicia, the wreath made out of the last stalks is called the Wheat-mother, Rye-mother, or Peamother. It is placed on a girl's head and kept till spring, when some of the grain is mixed with the seed-corn.4 Here again the fertilising power of the Corn-mother is indicated. In France, also, in the neighbourhood of Auxerre, the last sheaf goes by the name of the Mother of the Wheat, Mother of the Barley, Mother of the Rye, or Mother of the Oats.

1 W. Mannhardt, Mythol. Forxh. * Ibid. p. 316.

p. 310. . ,... .

- Ibid. p. 310 sg. Compare O. ■ J'

ll.irlung. Ic. c Ibid. \\ 317. As to such rain

3 W. Mannhardt, op. cit. p. 316. charms, see above, p. 121 .iyy.

1 W. Mannhardt, Afythoiogische Forschungen, p. 317. "- Ibid. p. 317 */. s Ibid. p. 318. * Ibid.

[ocr errors]
« 이전계속 »