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thought fit and natural that the operation of cutting down should be performed on earth at the time when the lunar orb was, so to say, being cut down in the sky. In France before the Revolution the forestry laws enjoined that trees should only be felled after the moon had passed the full; and in French bills announcing the sale of timber you may still read a notice that the wood was cut in the waning of the moon.1 But sometimes the opposite rule is adopted, and equally forcible arguments are urged in its defence. Thus, when the Wabondei of Eastern Africa are about to build a house, they take care to cut the posts for it when the moon is on the increase; for they say that posts cut when the moon is wasting away would soon rot, whereas posts cut while the moon is waxing are very durable.2 The same rule is observed for the same reason in some parts of Germany.8 But the partisans of the ordinarily received opinion have sometimes supported it by another reason, which introduces us to the second of those fallacious appearances by which men have been led to regard the moon as the cause of growth in plants. From observing rightly that dew falls most thickly on cloudless nights, they inferred wrongly that it was caused by the moon, a theory which the poet Alcman expressed in mythical form by saying that dew was a daughter of Zeus and the moon.4 Hence the ancients concluded that the moon is the great source of moisture, as the sun is the great source of heat.5 And as the humid power of the moon was assumed to be greater when the planet was waxing than when it was waning, they thought that timber cut during the increase of the luminary would be saturated with moisture, whereas timber cut in the wane would be comparatively dry. Hence we are told that in antiquity carpenters would reject timber felled when the moon was growing or full, because they believed that such timber teemed with sap;6 and in the Vosges at the present day people allege that wood cut at the new moon does not dry.1 In the Hebrides peasants give the same reason for cutting their peats when the moon is on the wane; "for they observe that if they are cut in the increase, they continue still moist and never burn clear, nor are they without smoke, but the contrary is daily observed of peats cut in the decrease."2
1 T. Leca-ur, Esquisses du Boeage 3; Macrobius, Saturn, vii. 16. See
Xormand, ii. n sq. further, W. H. Koscher, C'ber Selene mid
- O. Baumann, Usambara mid seine Verwandles (Leipsic, 1890), p. 49 sqq. Naehbargebiete (Berlin, 1891), p. 125. '" Plutarch and Macroluus, ll.cc.:
s Montanus. Die deutsche I 'olksfesfe, Pliny, Nat. Hist. ii. 223, xx. I; I'olksbriiueheund deutscher I'olksglaiibe, Aristotle, Problcmata, xxiv. 14, p. 937 p. 128. B, $sq.
4 Plutarch, Quaes!. Conviv. iii. 10. * Macrobius and Plutarch, ll.cc.
Thus misled by a double fallacy primitive philosophy comes to view the moon as the great cause of vegetable growth, first, because the planet seems itself to grow, and second, because it is supposed to be the source of dew and moisture. It is no wonder, therefore, that agricultural peoples should adore the planet which they believe to influence so profoundly the crops on which they depend for subsistence. Accordingly we find that in the hotter regions of America, where maize is cultivated and manioc is the staple food, the moon was recognised as the principal object of worship, and plantations of manioc were assigned to it as a return for the service it rendered in the production of the crops. The worship of the moon in preference to the sun was general among the Caribs, and, perhaps, also among most of the other Indian tribes who cultivated maize in the tropical forests to the east of the Andes; and the same thing has been observed, under the.same physical conditions, among the aborigines of the hottest region of Peru, the northern valleys of Yuncapata. Here the Indians of Pacasmayu and the neighbouring valleys revered the moon as their principal divinity. The " house of the moon " at Pacasmayu was the chief temple of the district; and the same sacrifices of maize-flour, of wine, and of children which were offered by the mountaineers of the Andes to the Sun-god, were offered by the lowlanders to the Moon-god in order that he might cause their crops to thrive.8 In ancient Babylonia, where the population was essentially agricultural, the moon-god took precedence of the sun-god and was indeed reckoned his father.1
1 Sauvc, Folk-lore iies Haiites- V'osges, philosophical historian has indicated
p. 5. the true causes which lead primitive
- -Martin, " Description of the West- man to trace the growth of plants to
ern Islands of Scotland," in Pinkerton's the intluence of the moon. Compare
Voyages and Travels, xvi. 630. K. li. Tylor, Primitive Culture* i. 130.
3 E. J. Paync, History of the Ke-.v Mr. Payne suggests that the custom
World callea America, i. 495. In of naming the months after the
his remarks on the origin of moon- principal natural products that ripen
worship (p. 493 soo.) this learned and in them may have contributed to the influence of the moon on human affairs see Note B, "The doctrine of lunar sympathy," at the end of the volume.
Thus it would be no matter for surprise if, after worshipping the crops which furnished them with the means of subsistence, the ancient Egyptians should in later times have identified the spirit of the corn with the moon, which a pseudo-philosophy had taught them to regard as the ultimate cause of the growth of vegetation. In this way we can understand why in their more recent forms the myth and ritual of Osiris, the old god of trees and corn, should bear many traces of efforts made to bring them into a superficial conformity with the new doctrine of his lunar affinity.2
§ 7. Dionysus
The Greek god Dionysus or Bacchus8 is best known as the god of the vine, but he was also a god of trees in general. Thus we are told that almost all the Greeks sacrificed to "Dionysus of the tree."4 In Boeotia one of his titles was "Dionysus in the tree."5 His image was often merely an upright post, without arms, but draped in a mantle, with a bearded mask to represent the head, and with leafy boughs projecting from the head or body to show the nature of the deity.6 On a vase his rude effigy is depicted appearing out of a low tree or bush.1 He was the patron of cultivated trees ;2 prayers were offered to him that he would make the trees grow ;3 and he was especially honoured by husbandmen, chiefly fruit-growers, who set up an image of him, in the shape of a natural tree-stump, in their orchards.4 He was said to have discovered all tree-fruits, amongst which apples and figs are particularly mentioned ;5 and he was himself spoken of as doing a husbandman's work.6 He was referred to as "well-fruited," "he of the green fruit," and "making the fruit to grow."7 One of his titles was " teeming" or " bursting" (as of sap or blossoms) ;8 and there was a Flowery Dionysus in Attica and at Patrae in Achaia.9 The Athenians sacrificed to him for the prosperity of the fruits of the earth.10 Amongst the trees particularly sacred to him, in addition to the vine, was the pine-tree.11 The Delphic oracle commanded the Corinthians to worship a particular pine-tree "equally with the god," so they made two images of Dionysus out of it, with red faces and gilt bodies.12 In art a wand, tipped with a pine-cone, is commonly carried by the god or his worshippers.18 Again, the ivy and the fig-tree were especially associated with him. In the Attic township of Acharnae there was a Dionysus Ivy ;14 at Lacedaemon there was a Fig Dionysus; and in Naxos, where figs were called meilicha, there was a Dionysus Meilichios, the face of whose image was made of fig-wood.10
8 On Dionysus in general see Preller, Griechische Mythologie? i. 544 sqq.; Fr. Lenormant, article " Bacchus" in Daremberg et Saglio, Dicticnnairc des Antiquitis grecques et romaines, i. 591 sqq.; Voigt and Thraemer's article "Dionysus" in Koscher's Ausfuhrliches Lcxikon dergriech. undrbm. Mythologie, i. col. 1029 sqq.
* Plutarch, Quaesl. Conviz: v. 3: Atovvatj) Se kvSpirTj rdrrei, tin fxot elreh', "EWtivcs 6vovou,.
5 Hesychius, s. v. 'EvSevSpoi.
* See the pictures of his images, taken from ancient vases, in Bbtticher, Baumkultus der Hellenen, plates 42, 43, 43 A, 43 B, 44; Daremberg et Saglio, op. cit. i. 361, 626.
same result. The custom is certainly very common among savages, as I hope to show elsewhere, but whether it has contributed to foster the fallacy in question seems doubtful.
1 E. A. Budge, Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, on recently-discovered inscriptions of this King, p. 5 sq.; A. H. Sayce, Religion of the Ancient Babylonians, p. 155; M. Jastrow, Religion of Babylonia and Assyria (Boston, U.S., 1898), pp. 68sq., 75 sq.; L. W. King, Babylonian Religion and Afytho/ogy (London, 1899), p. 17 sq. The Ahts of Vancouver's Island, a tribe of fishers and hunters, view the moon as the husband of the sun and as a more powerful deity than her (Sproat, Scenes and Studies of Savage Life, p. 206).
* For more examples of the supposed
Like the other gods of vegetation whom we have been considering, Dionysus was believed to have died a violent death, but to have been brought to life again; and his sufferings, death, and resurrection were enacted in his sacred rites. The Cretan myth, as related by Firmicus, ran thus. He was said to have been the bastard son of Jupiter, a Cretan king. Going abroad, Jupiter transferred the throne and sceptre to the youthful Dionysus, but, knowing that his wife Juno cherished a jealous dislike of the child, he entrusted Dionysus to the care of guards upon whose fidelity he believed he could rely. Juno, however, bribed the guards, and amusing the child with toys and a cunningly-wrought j\
1 Daremberg et Saglio, op. cit. i. u Plutarch, Quaest. Cotnriv. v. 3.
626. is Pausanias, ii. 2. 6 so. Pausanias
* Cornutus, De natura deorum, 30. does not mention the kind of tree;
s Pindar, quoted by Plutarch, Iris but from Euripides, Bacchae, 1064 ct Osiris, 35. s'11-t and Philostratus, Imag. i. 17
4 Maximus Tyrius, Disscrtat. viii. I. (18), we may infer that it was a pine,
5 Athenaeus, iii. pp. 78 c, 82 i,. though Theocritus (xxvi. 11) speaks 0 Himerius, Orat. i. 10, -liaMWoj of it as a mastich-tree.
ytwoytT. n Muller-Wieseler, Denkmiiler der
7 Orphica, Hymn I. 4, liii. 8. aliot Kmtst, ii. pi. xxxii. saq.;
8 Aelian, Var. Hist. iii. 41: Baumeister, Denkmaler iies klassischai Hesychius, s.v. *Ww[«]. Cp. Plutarch, Altcrtums, i. figures 489, 491, 492, Quaest. Comnv. v. 8. 3. 495. Cp. Lenormant in Daremberg et
* Pausanias, i. 31. 4; id, vii. 21. Saglio, Dict. Jes .hitionitis, i. 623; 6. Loljtck, A^laophamus, p. 700.
10 Dittenberger, Syllogc Inscrip- "Pausanias, i. 31. 6.
tionum. Graccarum, No. 382. I4 Athenaeus, iii. p. 78 C.
VOL. II M
looking-glass lured him into an ambush, where her satellites, the Titans, rushed upon him, cut him limb from limb, boiled his body with various herbs and ate it. But his sister Minerva, who had shared in the deed, kept his heart and gave it to Jupiter on his return, revealing to him the whole history of the crime. In his rage, Jupiter put the Titans to death by torture, and, to soothe his grief for the loss of his son, made an image in which he enclosed the child's heart, and then built a temple in his honour.1 In this version a Euhemeristic turn has been given to the myth by representing Jupiter and Juno (Zeus and Hera) as a king and queen of Crete. The guards referred to are the mythical Curetes who danced a war-dance round the infant Dionysus, as they are said to have done round the infant Zeus.2 Pomegranates were supposed to have sprung from the blood of Dionysus,8 as anemones from the blood of Adonis and violets from the blood of Attis. According to some, the severed limbs of Dionysus were pieced together, at the command of Zeus, by Apollo, who buried them on Parnassus.4 The grave of Dionysus was shown in the Delphic temple beside a golden statue of Apollo.5 Thus far the resurrection of
1 Firmicus Maternus, Dc errorepro- pieced together, not by Apollo but by
fanarum religitnum, 6. Khea (Cornutus, De natura deorum,
1 Clemens Alexandr. Protrept. ii. 30). 17. Cp. Lobeck, Aglaophamus, p. 4 Lobeck, Aglaophamus, p. 572 sqq.
1111 sqq. For a conjectural restoration of the
3 Clemens Alexandr. Protrept. ii. temple, based on ancient authorities
19. and an examination of the scanty
* Clemens Alexandr. Protrept. ii. remains, see an article by J. H.
18; Proclus on Plato's Timaeus, iii. p. Middle-ton, in Journal of Hellenic
200D,quoted by Lobeck, Aglaophamus, Studics, vol. ix. p. 2S2 sqq. The
p. 562, and by Abel, Orphica, p. 234. ruins of the temple have now been
Others said that the mangled liody was completely excavated by the French.