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Full text of "The mythology of the Aryan nationas"


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Henrg W. Sage 


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Cornell University Library 
BL660 .C87 1903 

Mythology of the Aryan nationas. by the 


3 1924 029 135 445 



By the same Author. 

Tales of Ancient Greece. Small crown 8vo. Cloth, 
price bs. 

An Introduction to the Science of Comparative 
Mythology and Folk-Lore. Large crown 8vo. 
Cloth, price gs. 

Tales of Gods and Heroes. Small crown 8vo. Price 

London : Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co.. Lt?. 











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The purpose of this work is to exhibit clearly and with 
sufficient fulness the general characteristics of Aryan mytho- 
logy, as a system which has grown up from words and phrases 
denoting not one or two objects only, as the sun or moon, 
but all the phenomena of the sensible world, as they impressed 
themselves on the minds of primitive men. It has not been 
my object to give an exhaustive account of the myths of every 
branch of the Aryan race. To ascribe equal value and 
interest to the traditions of all the tribes included within the 
great Aryan family would indeed be absurd. But in the 
present edition I have given to the Slavonic mythology, and 
to some other subordinate topics, as much space as the con- 
ditions of my subject enabled me to afford. 

During the twelve years which have passed since the 
publication of the first edition, a large amount of solid work 
has been done within the domain of Comparative Mythology. 
Of the results so gained probably the most important is the 
clearer light thrown on the influence of Semitic theology on 
the theology and religion of the Greeks. This momentous 
question I have striven to treat impartially ; and for my 
treatment of it I have to acknowledge my obligations to 
Mr. Robert Brown's valuable researches in the field of the 
great Dionysiak Myth. 


In other respects the course of mythological inquiry, although 
it has been greatly widened, has not made any serious modi- 
fications necessary in the principles by which I have been 
guided, or in the details of the evidence which have deter- 
mined the conclusions reached. On the whole, the result has 
been to strengthen in every way the foundations of the science, 
and to lay bare more and more clearly the origin and growth 
of the vast body of Aryan tradition and belief. The exami- 
nation of the religious systems of Assyria, Phenicia, and Egypt 
bears out abundantly and precisely just those assertions of 
Comparative Mythologists which have been most pertinaciously 
called into question, and has removed beyond the reach of 
doubt the fact that the mighty mass of popular tradition in 
every Aryan land has been shaped by words and phrases 
describing all the varied and complex phenomena of day and 
night, of summer and winter, of earth and heaven. 

April 14, 1882. 


With a deep consciousness of its shortcomings, but with a 
confidence not less deep in the security of the foundations 
laid by the Science of Comparative Mythology, I submit to 
the judgment of all whose desire it is to ascertain the truth 
of facts in every field of inquiry a work on a subject as vast 
as it is important. The history of mythology is, in a sense 
far beyond that in which we may apply the words to the later 
developements of religious systems, the history of the human 
mind ; and the analysis which lays bare the origin and nature 
of Iranian dualism, and traces the influence of that dualism 
on the thought and philosophy of other lands, must indefiV 
nitely affect our conclusions on many subjects which may not 
appear to be directly connected with it 

For myself I confess candidly, and with a feeling of grati- 
tude which lapse of time certainly has not weakened, that 
Professor Max Mtiller's Essay on Comparative Mythology 
first opened to me thirteen years ago a path through a laby- 
rinth which, up to that time, had seemed as repulsive as it 
was intricate. I well remember the feeling of delight awakened 
by his analysis of the myths examined in that essay, of which 
it is but bare justice to say that by it the ground which it 
traversed was for the first time effectually broken for English 


scholars, and the fact established that the myths of a nation 
are as legitimate a subject for scientific investigation as any- 
other phenomena. The delight which this investigation has 
never ceased to impart is strictly the satisfaction which the 
astronomer or the geologist feels in the ascertainment of new 
facts : and I have written throughout under a constant sense 
of the paramount duty of simply and plainly speaking the 

Of one fact, the importance of which if it be well ascer- 
tained can scarcely be exaggerated, I venture to claim the 
discovery. I am not aware that the great writers who have 
traced the wonderful parallelisms . in the myths of the Aryan 
world have asserted that the epic poems of the Aryan nations 
are simply different versions of one and the same story, 
and that this story has its origin in the phenomena of the 
natural world, and the course of the day and the year. This 
position is, in my belief, established by an amount of evidence 
which not long hence will probably be regarded as excessive. 
At the least I have no fear that it will fail to carry conviction 
to all who will weigh the facts without prejudice or partiality, 
who will carefully survey the whole evidence produced before 
they form a definite judgment, and who will fairly estimate the 
cumulative proof of the fact that the mythology of the Vedic 
and Homeric poets contains the germs, and in most instances 
more than the germs, of almost all the stories of Teutonic, 
Scandinavian, and Celtic folk-lore. This common stock of 
materials, which supplements the evidence of language for the 
ultimate affinity of all the Aryan nations, has been moulded 
into an infinite variety of shapes by the story-tellers of Greeks 
and Latins, of Persians and Englishmen, of the ancient and 
modern Hindus, of Germans and Norwegians, Icelanders, 
Danes, Frenchmen, and Spaniards. On this common foun- 


dation the epic poets of these scattered and long-separated 
children of one primitive family have raised thdSr magnificent 
fabrics or their cumbrous structures. Nay, from this common 
source they have derived even the most subtle distinctions of 
feature and character for their portraits of the actors in the 
great drama which in some one or more of its many scenes is 
the theme of all Aryan national poetry. 

Momentous as this conclusion must be, it is one which 
seems to me to be strictly involved in the facts registered by 
all comparative mythologists ; and while I wish to claim for 
myself no more than the honesty which refuses to adopt the 
statements of others without testing their accuracy, I may feel 
a legitimate confidence in the assurance that in all important 
points I am supported by the authority of such writers as 
Grimm, Max Muller, Breal, Kuhn, Preller, Welcker, H. H. 
Wilson, Cornewall Lewis, Grote, and Thirlwall. 

If in the task of establishing the physical origin of Aryan 
myths the same facts have been in some instances adduced 
more than once, I must plead not merely the necessity of the 
case, but the reiterated assertions of writers who seem to 
regard the proclamation of their views as of itself conclusive. 
The broad statement, for example, that Hermes is primarily 
and strictly a god of commerce, and of the subtlety and 
trickery which commerce is on this hypothesis supposed to 
require, makes it necessary at every step, and at the cost of 
repetitions which would otherwise be needless, to point out the 
true character of this divine harper. 

In the wide field of inquiry on which I have entered in 
these volumes, I need scarcely say that I have very much 
more to learn, and that I shall receive with gratitude the 
suggestions of those who may wish to aid me in the task. 
Many portions of the subject are at present little more than 


sketched out : and of these I hope that I may be enabled to 
supply the details hereafter. The evidence thus far examined 
justifies the assurance that these details will not affect the 
main conclusions already arrived at 

The Greek names in this work are given as nearly as 
possible in their Greek forms. On this point I need only say 
that Mr. Gladstone, who, standing even then almost alone, 
retained in his earlier work on "Homer and the Homeric 
Age " their Latin equivalents, has in his " Juventus Mundi " 
adopted the method which may now be regarded as univer- 
sally accepted. 

I have retained the word Aryan as a name for the tribes 
or races akin to Greeks and Teutons in Europe and in Asia. 
Objections have been lately urged against its use, on the 
ground that only Hindus and Persians spoke of themselves 
as Aryas : and the tracing of this name to Ireland Mr. Peile 
regards as very uncertain. To him the word appears also to 
mean not "ploughmen," but "fitting, worthy, noble." If it 
be so, the title becomes the more suitable as a designation 
for the peoples who certainly have never called themselves 

But however sure may be the foundations of the science 
of Comparative Mythology, and however sound its framework, 
the measure in which its conclusions are received must depend 
largely on the acceptance or rejection of its method in the 
philological works chiefly used in our schools and universities. 
Hence, in acknowledging thankfully the great improvement 
of the last over the previous editions of the Greek Lexicon of 
Dr. Liddell and Dr. Scott in the etymology of mythological 
names, I express a feeling shared doubtless by all who wish 
to see a wide and fertile field thoroughly explored. The 
recognition of the principle that Greek names must be inter- 


preted either by cognate forms in kindred languages, or by 
reference to the common source from which all these forms 
spring, is the one condition without which it is useless to look 
for any real progress in this branch of philology ; and this 
principle is here fully recognised. 

I have said that the task of analysing and comparing the 
myths of the Aryan nations has opened to me a source of 
unqualified delight I feel bound to avow the conviction that 
it has done more. It has removed not a few perplexities ; 
it has solved not a few difficulties which press hard on many 
thinkers. It has raised and strengthened my faith in the 
goodness of God ; it has justified the wisdom which has chosen 
to educate mankind through impressions produced by the 
phenomena of the outward world. 

March 8, 1870. 






Method of Inquiry ... ... ... ... ,„ -it t 

The Nature of the Problem to be solved ... ... ... i 

Condition of Society in the Greek Heroic Age ... ... ... 2 

Character of " Homeric " Mythology ... ... ... 3 

Contrast between Mythological and Religious Belief ... ... 3 

The Lyric and Tragic Poets were conscious of this Contrast ... 4 

Conflicting Views as to its Origin ... ... ... ... 4 

Theory of a Corrupted Revelation ... ... ... ... 5 

System of Secondaries ... ... ... ... ... 5 

Nature of the Doctrines perverted in Greek Mythology ... 6 

Relations of Will between Zeus and AthenS ... ... ... 7 

Peculiar Forms of Greek Mythology ... ... ... 8 

Consequences involved in the Perversion of an Original Revelation ... 8 

Comparison of the Homeric with the Vedic Mythology ... 9 

Methods of determining the Extent of Primitive Revelation ... 10 

Evidence of the Book of Genesis ... ... ... ... 10 

Its Character ... ... ... ... ... ... 11 

Limits of that Evidence ... ... ... ... ... 11 

Course of Revelation in the Old Testament ... ... ... 12 

Necessity of accounting for the Character of Greek Mythology ... 12 

Allegorical Interpretation of Myths ... ... ... ... 13 



Origin of Abstract Words ... ... ... ... ... 14 

Expansive Power of Sensuous Words ... ... ... 14 

Origin of Language ... ... ... ... ... ... 15 

Immobility of Savage Races ... ... ... ... 16 

Historical Results of the Analysis of Language ... ... ., 17 

Earliest Conditions of Thought ... ... ... ... 18 




The Infancy of Mankind ... ... ... ... ... 20 

Earliest Condition of Thought and its Consequences .. . ... 20 

Primary Myths ... ... ... ... ... ... 22 

Secondary Myths ... ... ... ... ... 23 

Polyonymy, as affecting the Growth of Mythology ... ... 23 

Use of Abstract and Concrete Names ... ... ... 25 

Myths arising from the Use of Equivocal Words ... ... 26 

Disintegration of Myths ... ... ... ... ... 28 


Elasticity of Mythical Speech ... 

Results of Mythical Language 

Evidence of this Developement furnished by the Rig-Veda 

Relative Age of Greek Myths 

Solar Myths ... ... ... „. .» 

Changeful Action of the Sun 

Repulsive Developements of Solar Legends 

Origin of these Developements 

Tendency to localize Mythical Incidents 

Vitality of the My thopceic Faculty ... 

Constant Demand for New Mythical Narratives ... .. 

Transmutation of Names really Historical ... 
Groundwork of the Mythology of Northern Europe 
Groundwork of the " Homeric " Mythology ... 
Comparison of Greek and Norse Mythology 
Special Characteristics of Greek Mythology 
Full Developement of Greek Mythology 
Arrested Growth of Northern Mythology 
Light thrown on both by the Vedic Hymns 





Stages in the Growth of Mythical Systems ... ... ... 44 



The Common Element in Aryan Mythology ... ... ... .* 

The Greek Mythology of itself explains the Nature of this Common 

The Norse Mythology points in precisely the same Direction 
The Missing Link is supplied in the Older Vedic Poems ... 
The Key to all Aryan Mythology ... 
Germs of Mythical Tales 
Truthfulness of Mythical Description 
Groundwork of Aryan Mythology 
Greek Dynastic Legends ... 
Growth of Popular Traditions ... 
Aryan Folklore ... ... ... ... ... ... r£ 

Legends seemingly not resolvable into Phrases relating to Physical 






I he Brahman and the Goat .... c 7 

The Master Thief ... '" '" ' $7 

The Legend of Rhampsinitos ... ... ... ...* ... rg 

The Story of Karpara and Gata ... ... ... ... 60 

The Story of Trophonios and AgamSdes ... ... 61 

The Shifty Lad ' 0I 

Point and Drift of these Stories ... ... ... ... 62 

The Hellenic Master Thief ... .. ... ... 63 

The Origin of the Story of the Master Thief ... ... ... 64 

Limits' to the Hypothesis of Conscious Borrowing ... ... 65 

Framework of Popular Stories ... ... ... 67 

The Story of the Dog and the Sparrow ... ... ... 67 

The Story of the Nautch-Girl and the Parrot ... ... ... 69 

Origin and Growth of these Stories ... ... ... 71 

The Stories of Vicram and Hermotimos ... ... ... 72 

The Table, the Ass, and the Stick ... ... ... ... 74 

The Brahman, the Jackal, and the Barber ... ... ... 75 

The Lad who went to the North Wind ... ... ... 77 

The Story of Punchkin ... ... ... ... ... 77 

The Giant who had no Heart in his Body ... ... ... 79 

Mythical Repetitions and Combinations ... ... ... 81 

Agency of Beasts in these Stories ... ... ... " ... 81 

Influence of Written Literature on Folk-lore ... ... ... 83 

Faithful John ... ... ... ... ... ... 84 

Rama and Luxman ... ... ... ... ... ... 86 

Mythical Imagery of these Stories ... ... ... ... 88 

The Sleep or Death of Summer ... ... ... ... 89 

Origin of all Myths relating to Charmed Sleep of Beautiful Maidens 90 

Charms or Spells in the Odyssey and in Hindu Stories ... ... 92 

The Snake Leaves ... ... ... ... ... 94 

The Two Brothers ... ... ... ... ... ... 95 

Myths of the Night, the Moon, and the Stars ... ... 97 

The Battle of Light and Darkness ... ... ... ... 98 

Character of Aryan Folk-lore ... ... ... ... 100 

Historical Value of Aryan Popular Traditions ... ... ... 101 



Points of Likeness between the Greek and Teutonic Epics ... 102 

The Volsung Tale ... ... ... ... ... 103 

The Story of Sigurd ... ... ... ... ... 105 

The Rescue of Brynhild ... ... ... ... ... 108 

The Story of Gudrun ... ... ... ... ... hi 

Helgi Sagas ... ... ... •■• ... ... 113 

The First Helgi ... ... ... ... 114 

The Second Helgi ... ... ... ... ... 114 

The Third Helgi ... ... ... ... ... ... 115 

The Nibelungen Lay ... ... ... ... ... 117 

Sigurd, Siegfried, and Baldur ... ... ... ... 118 



The Story of Hagen ... ... ... ... ... 121 

The Vengeance of Kriemhild ... ... ... ... ... 124 

Historical Element in the Nibelungen Lied ... ... ... 126 

The Story of Walthar of Aquitaine ... ... ... ... 128 

Dietrich of Bern ... ... ... ... ... 130 

The Great Rose Garden ... ... ... ... 131 

The Romance of Roland ... ... ... ... ... 132 

The Romance of Arthur ... ... ... ... ... 133 

The Birth and Youth of Arthur ... ... ... ... 133 

The Round Table and the San Greal ... ... ... ...' 135 

Arthur's Knights ... ... ... ... ... 136 

Lancelot and Guinevere ... ... ... ... ... 138 

The Death of Arthur ... ... ... ... ... 139 

Guinevere and Diarmaid ... ... ... ... ... 139 

Later Mediaeval Epics and Romances ... ... ... 140 

Saga Literature of Europe ... ... ... ... ... 141 

The Greltir Saga ... ... ... ... 141 

The Character of Grettir ... ... ... ... ... 142 

Materials of the Saga ... ... ... ... ... 143 

Grettir and Boots ... ... ... ... ... ... 144 

Parallelisms between the Grettir Saga and other Myths ... 144 

The Avenging of Grettir ... ... ... ... ... 146 




Section I.— DYAUS. 

Ideas of the Heaven ... ... ... ... ... 148 

The Glistening Ether ... ... ... ... ... 148 

Dyaus and Prithivi ... ... ... ... ... ... [50 

Ideas denoted by the Name Dyu ... ... ... ... 150 


The Solid Heaven ... ... ... ... ... ,„ 151 

Moral Aspects of Varuna ... ... ... ... ... 152 

Aryan Monotheism ... ... ... ... ... ... jr? 

Aditi and the Adityas ... ... ... ... ... 154 

The Physical and Spiritual Varuna ... ... ... ... 13b 

Section III.— INDRA. 

The Primary Conception of Indra purely Physical ... ... 157 

Action of the Vedic and Achaian Deities ... ... ... \c% 

The Greek Mythology not borrowed from the Vedic ... 159 

Indra, a God of the Bright Heaven ... ... ... ... 159 

Meaning of the Name ... ... ... ... ... 159 

The Might and Majesty of Indra ... ... ... ... 160 

Indra the Rain-bringer ... ... ... ... ... 161 

Physical Conflict between Light and Darkness ... ... ... 102 

The Wife of Indra ... .. ... ... ... ,63 


Section IV.— BRAHMA. 


Place of Brahma in the Hindu Theogony ... ... ... 164 

Praj&pati ... ... ... ... ... ... x 66 

Visvakarman ... ... ... ... ... ... 166 

Section V.— ZEUS. 

The Dwelling of Zeus in Ether ... ... .„ ~ t66 

The Unchanging Light ... ... ... ... ,„ 167 

The Idea of Zeus suggested by Physical Phenomena ... ... 167 

The Latin Jupiter ... ... ... ... ... ... 168 

Zeus Ouranion ... ... ... ... ... __ ... 170 

The Mythical and Spiritual Zeus ... ... ... ... 170 

Influence of Mythology on Religion ... ... ... 171 

The Zeus of the Tragic Poets ... ... ... ... ... 172 

The Name Zeus ... ... ... ... ... 173 

Its Transformations ... ... ... ... ... 174 

The Zeus of Local Traditions ... ... ... ... 175 

The Birth of Zeus ... ... ... ... ... ... 175 

The Iniquities of Kronos ... ... ... ... 176 

The War of the Titans ... ... ... ... ... 178 

Other Forms of this Struggle ... ... ... ... 178 

The Loves of Zeus ... ... ... ... ... ... 179 

The Twelve Olympian Deities ... ... ... ... 179 

The Infancy of Zeus ... ... ... ... ... 180 

The Arkadian and Cretan Zeus ... ... ... ... 180 

Lykosoura and LykaSn ... ... ... ... ... 181 

Lykanthropy ... ... ... ... ... ... 182 

The Dodonaian and Olympian Zeus ... ... ... ... 182 

Limits to the Power of Zeus ... ... ... ... 183 

The Messengers of Zeus ... ... ... ... ... 184 

Zeus the Judge ... ... ... ... ... ... 185 


Characteristics of Teutonic Mythology ... ... ... 187 

Teutonic Theogonies ... ... ... ... ... 188 

Genealogy of Odin ... ... ... ... ... 189 

Odin as the Creator of Man ... ... ... ... ... 190 

The End of the ^Esir ... ... ... ... ... 190 

The Name Wuotan ... ... ... ... ... ... 191 

The One-Eyed Wuotan, or Odin ... ... ... ... 193 

Odin the Raingiver ... ... ... ... ... ... 194 

Odin the Allfather ... ... ... ... ... 194 

Tyr and Odin ... ... ... ... ... ... 194 


The Name Donar ... ... ... ... ... 195 

Thor the Allfather 19S 

His Triple Functions ... ... ... ... ... 196 

xviii CONTENTS. 

Section VIII.— FRO. 


Relations of Fro to Frey j. ... ... ... ... ... 198 

Section IX.— HEIMDALL, BRAGI, AND OEGIR. tma v; - 

The Lord of Himinbiorg ... ... ... ... ... 198 

Bragi, the Lord of Day ... ... ... ... ... 199 

Oegir, the Sea-god ... ... ... ... ... 199 



Surya, the Pervading Irresistible Luminary ... ... ... 201 

The One-Handed Savitar... ... ... ... ... 202 

The Power of Savitar ... ... ... ... ... 202 

Section II.— SOMA. 

The Physical and Spiritual Soma ... ... ... ... 203 

Powers of Soma ... ... ... ... ... ... 205 


Complementary Deities ... ... ... ... ... 206 

The Dualism of Nature ... ... ... ... ... 206 

.Functions of the Asvins ... ... ... ... ... 206 

^Parentage of the Asvins ... ... ... ... ... 207 

'The Twins' ... ... ... ... ... ... 208 

Soma and Surya ... ... ... ... ... ... 209 

Section IV.— THE DAWN. 

The Lonely Wanderer ... ... ... ... ... 209 

Developement of the Myth ... ... ... ... ... 210 

The Story of Urvasi ... ... ... ... ... 212 

Germs of the Story of Penelope ... ... ... ... 213 

The Dawn and the Waters ... ... ... ... 214 

Eros and Psyche ... ... ... ... ... ... 216 

The Search of the Dawn for the Sun ... ... ... 218 

The Search of the Sun for the Dawn ... ... ... ... 218 

Origin of these Myths ... ... ... ... ... 220 

" East of the Sun and West of the Moon " ... ... ... 221 

The Wanderers in the Forest ... ... ... ... 222 

The Spell of Moonlight ... ... ... ... ... 2 2\ 

The Seven Rishis ... ... ... ... ... 226 

The Arkshas or Shiners ... ... ... ... ... 226 

The Rishis and Manu ... ... 

••• ... ... ... 227 


Ushas and E6s ... ... ... ... ... ... 227 

Ushas the Broad-spreading ... ... „, ... ... 229 

Ahana ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 230 



Sarama ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 231 

The Cows of Indra ... ... ... ... ... 232 

The Fidelity of Sarama ... ... ... ... ... 233 

Saranyu ... ... ... ... ... ... 234 

Erinys ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 234 

The Harpies ... ... ... ... ... ... 235 

Arjunt ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 236 

The Cows and Horses of the Sun-Gods ... ... ... 236 

Arusht ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 237 

Snakes and Dragons ... ... ... ... ... 238 

Sorcery and Witchcraft ... ... ... ... ... 239 

The Story of Medeia ... ... ... ... ... 239 

The Myth of Prokris ... ... ... ... ... 240 

E6s and Tithonos ... ... ... ... ... 241 

HebS and Ganymede's ... ... ... ... ... 242 

The Story of Dido and Anna ... ... ... ... 242 

Hero and Leiandros ... ... ... ... ... 244 

The Brides of the Sun ... ... ... ... ... 244 

The Arkadian Auge ... ... ... ... ... ... 246 

Europe and the Bull ... ... ... ... ... 246 

Althaia and the Burning Brand ... ... ... ... 247 

Section VI.— ATHENE. 

The Original Idea of AthenS purely Physical ... ... 248 

Athene Tritogeneia ... ... ... ... ... ... 248 

Birth of Athen6 ... ... ... ... ... ... 250 

Parentage of Athene ... ... ... ... ... 250 

Athene Mother of Phoibos and Lychnos ... ... ... . 250 

Epithets of AthSne ... ... ... ... ... ... 251 

Athen6 the Guardian of Heroes ... ... ... ... 252 

The Latin Minerva ... ... ... ... ... ... 253 


Birth of Aphrodite ... ... ... ... ... ... 253 

The Ministers of Aphrodite ... ... ... ... 254 

The Arrows of AphroditS ... ... ... ... ... 255 

Her Children ... ... ... ... ... ... 255 

Share of Aphrodite in the Trojan War ... ... ... ... 256 

Aphrodite and Adonis ... ... ... ... ... 258 

The Armed AphroditS ... ... ... ... ... 259 

The Latin Venus ... ... ... ... ... 259 

Meaning of the Name ... ... ... ... ... 259 

Adonis and Dionysos ... ... ... ... ••• 260 

Section VIII.— HERE. 

Myths Telating to the Birth of Here ... ... ... ... 260 

Relations of Zeus and Here ... ... ... ... 261 

HSre and Ixion ... ... ... ... ... ... 262 

H6r£Akraia ... ... ■■■ ••• •■■ ... 262 

Here the Matron ... ... ... ... ... ... 262 

The Latin Juno ... ... ... ... ... ... 263 


Section IX.— THE ERINYES. 


Doctrine of Necessity ... ... ... ... „. 263 

The Conflict between Light and Darkness ... ... ... 264. 

Erinyes and Eumenides ... ... ... ... ... 265. 

The Fatal Sisters ... ... ... .. ... 266 

The Teutonic Norns ... ... ... ... ... 267 

Nemesis and Adrasteia ... ... ... ... ... 268 

TycheAkraia ... ... ... ... ... ... 269 


The Ionian Legend of the Birth of Phoibos ... ... ... 270 

The Delphian Story ... ... ... ... ... 27a 

The Infant Phoibos ... ... ... ... 272 

Phoibos Delphinios ... ... ... ... ... 273 

The Fish-Sun ... ... ... ... ... ... 274 

Phoibos and Hermes ... ... ... ... ... 274 

Phoibos and Helios ... ... ... ... ... ... 275. 

Phoibos and Daphne ... ... ... ... ... 276 

Alpheios and Arethousa ... ... ... ... ... 277 

Endymion ... ... ... ... ... ... 277 

The Story of Narkissos ... ... ... ... ... 2791 

Iamos and Asklepios ... ... ... ... ... 2S0 

The Stories of Ixion and Atlas ... ... ... ... 283 

The Gardens of the Hesperides ... ... ... ... 284. 

Atlas and Hyperion ... ... ... ... ... ... 284. 

Helios and Phaethon ... ... ... ... ... 285. 

Patroklos and Telemachos ... ... ... ... ... 286 

The Bondage of Phoibos and Herakles ... ... ... 287 

Character of Herakles ... ... ... ... ... 288) 

HeraklSs and Eurystheus... ... ... ... ... 288' 

The Lions of Kithairon and Nemea ... ... ... ... 290 

Herakle's and Kerberos ... 

The Madness of Herakles 

Orthros and Hydra ... ... ... ... ... 293 

The Marathonian Bull ... ... ... ... „, 294 

The Girdle of Hippolyte' ... ... ... ... ... 295 

Myths interspersed among the Legends of the Twelve Labours of 

Herakles... ... ... ... ... ... 29c 

Herakles and Eurytos ... ... ... ... . 2 g(y 

Herakels and Auge ... ... ... ... ... 207 

Herakles and D6ianeira ... ... ... ... 2 q- 

The Death of Heraklfe ... ... .;. '" „ n <j 

... ... ... ^yo 

The Latin Hercules ... ... ... ... ... 2 qq 

Egyptian Myths... ... ... ... ... ... 30a 

Osiris and Rhadamanthys ... ... ... ... ^qq 

Repetitions of the Myth of Herakles ... ... ... 302 

The Story of Perseus ... ... ... ... ... g 02 

Birth and Youth of Theseus ... ... ... ... 306 

The Six Exploits of his First Journey ... ... ... ... 306 

Theseus at Athens ... ... ... #l> ,,, 307 

Theseus and the Minotauros ... ... ... ... ... 308 

Theseus and the Amazons ... ... ... ,„ 309 





Theseus in the Underworld ... ... ... ... ... 310 

The Theseus of Thucydides ... ... ... ... 311 

Hipponobs Bellerophontes ... ... ... ... ... 311 

The Birth of Oidipous ... ... ... ... ... 312 

The Career of Oidipous ... ... ... ... ... 312 

The Blinded Oidipous ... ... ... ... ... 314 

Oidipous and Antigone 1 ... ... ... ... ... 315 

The Story of Telephos ... ... ... ... ... 317 

Twofold Aspect of the Trojan Paris ... ... ... ... 318 

The Birth and Infancy of Paris ... ... ... ... 319 

The Judgment of Paris ... ... ... ... ... 320 

Paris and Helen ... ... ... ... ... 321 

The Death of Oinone 1 ... ... ... ... ... 322 

Iamos the Violet Child ... ... ... ... ... 322 

Pelias and Neleus ... ... ... ... ... ... 323 

Romulus and Remus ... ... ... ... ... 323 

Cyrus and Astyages ... ... ... ... .... ... 324 

Chandragupta ... ... ... ... ... ... 325 

Kadmos and Europe ... ... ... ... ... 325 

Minos and the Minotaur ... ... ... ... ... 327 

Rhadamanthys and Aiakos ... ... ... ... ... 329 

Nestor and SarpMon ... ... ... ... ... 329 

MemnSn the Ethiopian ... ... ... ... ... 330 

Kephalos and Eos ... ... ... ... ... 331 


Baldur and Brond ... ... ... ... ... ... 333 

The Dream of Baldur ... ... ... ... ... 334 

The Death of Baldur ... ... ... ... ... 335 

The Avenging of Baldur ... ... ... ... ... 335 

The Story of Tell and Gesler ... ... ... ... ... 337 

The Myth wholly without Historical Foundation ... ... 337 

Utter Impossibility of the Swiss Story ... ... ... ... 338 

Other Versions of the Myth of Tell ... ... ... 339 

The Far-shooting God ... ... ... ... ... 341 


Flexible Character of Vishnu ... ... ... ... ... 341 

Vishnu the Striding God ... ... ... ... ... 342 

Dwarf Incarnation ... ... ... ... ... ... 343 

Majesty of Vishnu ... ... ... ... ... 344 

The Palace of Vishnu ... ... ... ... ... 344 

Avatars of Vishnu ... ... ... ... ... 345 

Emblems associated with the Worship of Vishnu ... ... 345 

Sensuous Stage of Language ... ... ... ... 346 

Aryan and Semitic Monotheism ... ... ••• ••• 34$ 

Ideas and Symbols of the Vivifying Power in Nature ... ... 349 

Rods and Pillars ... ... ... ... ... ... 35 1 

Tree and Serpent Worship ... ... ... ... 353 

Sacrifices connected with this Worship ... ... ... 354 

Symbols of Wealth 354 

The Lotos ... ... ... ••• ••• ••• ••• 35" 



Goblets and Horns ... ... ... ... ... 356 

Gradual Refinement of the Myth ... ... ... ... 300 

Aryan and Semitic Mysteries ... ... ... ... 361 

Real Meaning of Tree and Serpent Worship ... ... ... 362 

The Education of Man ... ... ... ... ... 3§4 



Vishnu as Krishna ... ... ... ... ... 365 

Parentage of Krishna ... ... ... ... ... 365 

Krishna and Rudra ... ... ... ... ... 366 

Vishnu and Rama ... ... ... ... ... ... 366 

Hindu Mysticism ... ... ... ... ... 366 

The Story of Krishna ... ... ... ... ... 367 

Section XIV.— THE MOON. 

Selene and Pan ... ... ... ... ... ... 371 

16 the Heifer ... ... ... ... ... ... 372 

Argos Panoptfe . . . ... ... ... ... ... 373 

16 and Prometheus ... ... ... ... ... ... 374 

HekatS 375 

Artemis ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 376 

The Arkadian and Delian Artemis ... ... ... ... 377 

Artemis Orthia and Tauropola ... ... ... ... 377 

Iphigeneia and Britomartis ... ... ... ... 379 



Orion ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 379 

Orion and Kedalion ... ... ... ... ... 380 

Seirios ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 381 




The Myth of Stolen Treasure found among the Aryan Nations ... 382 

Repetition of this Myth under Different Forms ... ... 384 

The Golden Fleece ... ... ... ... ... ... 384 

The Argonautic Voyage ... ... ... ... ... 386 

Iason and Medeia ... ... ... ... ... ... 388 

Section II.— HELEN. 

The Wealth of Helen ... ... ... ... ... 389 

The Stealing of Helen and her Treasures ... ... ... 389 

The Story of Conall Gulban ... ... ... ... 391 

The Voyage of the Achaians to Ilion ... ... ... ... 392 

Meleagros and Kleopatra... ... ... ... ... 393 

Thetis and Achilleus... ... ... ... ... ... 394 

The Womanly Achilleus ... ... ,„ ... ... 395 

The Career of Achilleus ... ... ... ... ... 395 

CONTENTS. xxiii 


The Iliad ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 397 

The Character of Achilleus ... ... ... ... 397 

Power of Mythical Tradition ... ... ... ... ... 398 

The Mourning of Achilleus ... ... ... ... 399 

The Arming and Vengeance of Achilleus ... ... ... 400 

The Nostoi ... ... ... ... ... ... 401 

Odysseus and Autolykos ... ... ... ... ... 402 

Odysseusand Penelope 1 ... ... ... ... ... 403 

The Womanly Odysseus ... ... ... ... ... 404 

Odysseus the Wanderer ... ^.. ... ... ... 405 

Odysseus and Aiolos ... ... ... ... ... ... 406 

The Laistrygonians ... ... ... ... ... 407 

The Lotos-Eaters, and Kirke ... ... ... ... ... 407 

Odysseus and Kalypso ... ... ... ... ... 40S 


The Expulsion of the Herakleids ... ... ... ... 409 

The Return of the Herakleids ... ... ... ... 410 


Adrastos and Amphiaraos ... ... ... ... ... 412 

The Sons of Oidipous ... ... ... ... ... 413 

Tydeus ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 414 

The War of the Epigonoi ... ... ... ... 415 

AntigonS and Haimon ... ... ... ... ... 415 

Alkmai6n and Eriphyle ... ... ... ... ... 416 

Orestes and Klytaimnes^ra ... ... ... ... ... 416 



Section L— AGNI. 

Light and Heat ... ... ... ... ... ... 418 

The Majesty of Agni ... ... ... ... ... 418 

Physical Attributes of Agni ... ... ... ... ... 419 

The Infant Agni ... ... ... ... ... ... 420 

Agni the Psychopompos ... ... ... ... ... 420 

The Tongues of Agni ... ... ... ... ... 421 

Agni and Hephaistos ... ... ... ... ... 421 


The Wind and the Fire ... ... ... ... ... 422 

The Argive Phoroneus ... ... ... ... ... 422 

Hestia ... ... ... ... ... ... 423 

The Sacred Fire ... ... ... ... ... ... 424 


The Maimed Hephaistos ... ... ... ... ... 425 

The Forge of Hephaistos ... ... ... ... ... 425 

Hephaistos and Athene ... ... ... ... ... 426 

The Latin Vulcan ... ... ... ... ... ••• 426 



The Fire-god Loki ... ... ... ... ... 4 2< > 

Loki the Thief 427 


The Hesiodic Ages ... ... ... ••• ••■ 4 2 7 

The Heroic Age ... ... ... .» ••• ■•• 429 

The Prometheus of ^Eschylos ... ... ... ■•• 43° 

The Punishment of Prometheus ... ... ... ••• 43* 

The Cheating of Zeus ... ... ••■ ••• ••• 433 

Prometheus and Pandora ... ... •■• ••■ ••• 433 

Prometheus and Deukalion ... ... ••• ••• 43S 

Prometheus and 16 ... ... ••• ••• ••• ••• 43^ 


The Titans ' ... ... ••• ... ■•• ••• 437 

TheKykl&pes 439 

Schamir and Sassafras ... ... ... ... ••• 44° 

Ahmed and Tanhaiiser ... ... ... ... ••• 44 1 

The Greedy Alcalde ... ... ... ... •■• 442 

Mediseval Spells ... ... ... ... ••• ••• 443 




Vayu and Favonius ... ... ... ... ... 444 

Boreas and the Maruts ... ... ... ... ... 444 

The Crushers, or Grinders ... ... ... ... 445 

Rudra ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 445 

Section II.— HERMES. 

Hindu and Greek Myths of the Wind ... ... ... 446 

The Story of Hermes ... ... ... ... ... 446 

The Theft of the Cattle ... ... ... ... ... 447 

The Covenant of Hermes and Phoibos ... ... ... ... 447 

The Meaning of the Covenant ... ... ... ... 449 

The Rivalry between Hermes and Phoibos ... ... ... 451 

Hermes the God of the Moving Air ... ... ... 451 

Transparent Clearness of the Myth ... ... ... ... 454 

Humour of the Myth ... ... ... ... ... 456 

Hermes, the Messenger and the Thief ... ... ... ... 457 

Hermes and the Charites ... ... ... ... ... 458 

Hermes the Herald ... ... ... ... ... ... 458 

Section III.— ORPHEUS. 

Points of Difference between Orpheus and Hermes ... ... 459 

The Seirens ... ... ... ... ... ... 461 

The Piper of Hameln ... ... ... ... ... 462 

The Erlking ... ... ... ... ... ... 462 

The Jew among the Thorns ... ... ... ... 463 

The Story of Arion ... ... ... ... „. ... 463 


Inchanted Harps and Horns ... ... „. 463 

The Harp of Wainambinen ... ... ... ... ... 464 

Galdner the Singer ... ... ... ... ... 465 

The Sibyl ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 465 

Section IV.— PAN. 

The Song of the Breeze in the Reeds ... ... ... 466 

Pan, the Purifying Breeze ... ... ... ... ... 466 

Pan and Syrinx ... ... ... ... ... ... 467 


The Theban Orpheus ... ... ... ... ... 467 

Zethos and Prokne ... ... ... ... ... 468 

Linos and Zephyros ... ... ... ... ... ... 469 


The Guardian of the Winds ... ... ... ... 469 

The Storms ... ... ... ... ... ... 470 

Ares and Athene ... ... ... ... ... 471 



Proteus and Nereus ... ... ... ... ... ... 473 

Glaukos ... ... ... ... ... ... 474 

Naiads and Nereids ... ... ... ... ... ... 474 

Swan-Maidens and Apsaras ... ... ... ... 475 

Triton and Amphitrite ... ... ... ... ... 476 

The Seirens ... ... ... ... ... ... 476 

Skylla and Charybdis ... ... ... ... ... 476 

The Megarian Skylla ... ... ... ... ... 477 


Zeus Poseidon ... ... ... ... ... ... 47S 

Poseidon and Athene ... ... ... ... ... 479 

Poseid&n and the Telchines .. ... ... ... ... 480 

Poseidon the Bondman ... ... ... ... ... 481 

Melikertes ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 481 

The Ocean Stream ... ... ... ... ... 482 


Danaos and Aigyptos ... ... ... ... ... 482 

Their Sons and Daughters ... ... ... ... 483 

Hypermnestra and Lynkeus ... ... ... ... ... 484 

Origin of the Myth ... ... ... ... ... 484 

The Lyrkeios ... ... ... ... ... ... 486 






Phrixos and Hellg ... ... ... ... ... 487 

Athamas and In6 ... ... ... ... ... ... 4S8 


The Phaiakians ... ... ... ... ... ... 489 

The Palace of Alkinobs ... ... ... ... ... 490 

The Fleets of Alkinobs ... ... ... ... ... 491 

The Phaiakians and Odysseus ... ... ... ... ... 492 

Niobeand Le"t&... ... ... ... • ... ... 492 

The Cattle of Helios... ... ... ... ... ... 493 


The Swan-shaped Phorkides ... ... ... ... ... 494 

The Muses and the Valkyrien ... ... ... ... 497 

The Swan-shaped Zeus ... ... ... ... ... 498 

Inchanted Maidens ... ... ... ... ... 498 

The Hyades and Pleiades ... ... ... ... ... 500 

The Graiai ... ... ... ... ... ... 501 

The Gorgons ... ... ... ... ... ... 501 

Aktaidn ... ... ... ... ... ... 502 

Medousa and Chrysaor ... ... ... ... ... 502 

Pegasos ... .... ... ... ... ... 503 



Section I.— DIONYSOS. 

The Nativity of Diony sos ... ... ... ... e . 

The Transformations of Dionysos ... ... ... ... r c 

Dionysos and Zagreos ... ... ... ... ... c ot - 

Dionysos the Wanderer ... ... ... ... ... cq5 

The Womanly Dionysos ... ... ... ... ... 507 

The Mothers of Dionysos ... ... ... ... ... r g 

Orgiastic Worship of Dionysos ... ... ... ... r g 

Dionysos Om&te's, and Bassereus ... ... ... ... 500 

Dionysos and Poseidon ... ... ... ... ... cqq 

Bacchos ... ... ... ... ... ... ___ c q 

Section II.— DEMETER. 

The Story of Persephone ... ... ... ... ... 510 

Iduna ... ... ... ... ... ... ... j I2 

The Stupifying Narcissus ... ... ... ... ... ji 2 

The Sleep of Winter ... ... ... ... ... r,. 

The Story of Rapunzel ... ... ... ... ... r x . 

The Lengthening Days ... ... ... ... ... ^5 



The Ill-tempered Princess ... ... ... ... ... 516 

Story of Surya Bai ... ... ... ... .,, 516 

The Nourishing Earth ... ... ... ... ... 517 

Holda ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 518 

The Eleusinian Myth ... ... ... ... ... 519 

Demeter and Iasiun ... ... ... ... ... 519 

Ceres and Saturn ••■ ... ... ... ... ... 520 


Erichthonios ... ..." ... ... ... ... 520 

Erechtheus ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 521 

Kekrops ... ... ... ... ... ... 521 

Pelops ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 522 


Gaia and Ouranos ... ... ... ... ... 522 

Rhea ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 524 

The Kouretes and Idaian Daktyls ... ... ... ... 524 

The Telchlnes and KourStes ... ... ... ... ... 525 

The Kabeiroi and Korybantes ... ... ... ... 526 


The Satyrs ... ... ... ... ... ... 527 

The SeilSnoi ... ... ... ... ... ... 529 

The Latin Silanus ... ... ... ... ... 530 

Priapos ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 530 


_ Section I.— HADES. 

The Buried Treasure ... ... ... ... ... 531 

Hades or Aidoneus ... ... ... ... ... ... S3 1 

The Rivers of the Unseen Land ... ... ... ... 532 

Section II.— ELYSION. 

The Judges of the Dead . ... ... ... ... ... 533 

The Asphodel Meadows ... ... ... ... ... 534 




The Story of SaramS and Helen ... ... ... ... 535 

Indra and Achilleus ... ... ... ... ... 536 

The Struggle between Light and Darkness ... ... ... 536 

The Great Enemy ... ... ... ... ... 537 

Pani and Paris ... ... ... ... ... ... 537 

Greek and Hindu Myths ... ... ... ... ... 537 

Snakes and Worms ... ... ... ... ... ... 538 

xxviii CONTENTS. 


The Stolen Cattle ... — ••• — 53 8 

The Bloclcing-up of Fountains ... ... ... ... 539 

The Stolen Nymphs ... — ••• ••• ••• ••• 539 

Ravana and Sita ... ■■• •■• ••• •■■ 539 

The Trojan Paris ... ■•• •■• ••• — — 54 

Helen and PenelopS ... •■■ ••• — — 54 

Herakl&s and Echidna ■•■ •■• ••■ — •"" 54 

Orthros ^44 

Typhon ... — ••• ••" "' "' " 544 


Hercules and Cacus ... ••• ••• ••• •" 545 

Cacus another Form of Vritra... ... ••• ••• ... 54 & 

Sancus or Recaranus ... ••• ••• ••• ••• 547 


The Monster Belleros ... ••• •■• ••• ••• 549 

Leophontes ... ... ••• ••• ••• *•• 55° 


The Sphinx ... ... ■•• ••• ••• ••• 55 1 

The Riddle solved ... — ••• ••• ••• 55 2 

The Voice of the Thunder ... ... ... ••• ••• 553 


The Pythian Dragon ... ... ... ••• ••• 554 

The Minotauros ... ... ... ■•• ••• — 555 


The Phorkides, Graiai, and Gorgons ... ... ... 556 

The Night and the Winter ... ... ... ... ... 557 

Modification of the Myth ... ... ... ... ... 558 


Contrast between Hindu and Iranian Mythology ... ... ... 559 

Identity of Names in Vedic and Persian Mythology ... ... 559 

Azidahaka and Zohak ... ... ... ... ... 560 

Iranian Dualism ... ... ... ... ... 561 

Its Influence on the Jews ... ... ... • ... ... 562 

The Epic of Firdusi ... ... ... ... ... 563 


The Semitic Satan ... ... ... ... ... ... 563 

Effect of Christian Teaching ... ... ... ... 564 

The Teutonic Devil ... ... ... ... „. ... 566 

Wayland the Smith ... ... ... ... ... 567 

The Death of the Blinded Devil ... ... ... ... 569 

Index 573 







We cannot examine the words by which we express our thoughts and chap. 
our wants, or compare the stories which English children hear in *■ 
their nurseries with the folk-talk of Germany and Norway, without Method of 


speedily becoming aware that the inquiry on which we have entered 
must carry us back to the very infancy of mankind. We have under- 
taken the investigation of fact, and we must follow the track into 
which the search for facts has brought us. If we have been accus- 
tomed to think that the race of men started in their great career with 
matured powers and with a speech capable of expressing high 
spiritual conceptions, we cannot deny the gravity of the issue, when 
a science, which professes to resolve this language into its ultimate 
elements, asserts that for a period of indefinite length human speech 
expressed mere bodily sensations, and that it was confined to such 
expressions, because no higher thoughts had yet been awakened in 
the mind. But unless we choose to take refuge in assumptions, we 
must regard the question as strictly and simply a matter of fact : and 
all that we have to do is to examine impartially the conditions of the 
problem, with the determination of evading no conclusion to which 
the evidence of fact may lead us. 

This problem is sufficiently startling, on whatever portion of the The nature 
subject we may first fix our minds. The earliest literature, whether probfem to 
of the Hindu or the Greek, points in the direction to which the be solved, 
analysis of language seems to guide us. In both alike we find a 


BOOK genuine belief in a living Power, to whom men stand in the relation 

• ~ • of children to a father ; but in both, this faith struggles to find 

utterance in names denoting purely sensuous objects, and thus 

furnishing the germ of a sensuous mythology. Hence the develope- 

ment of religious faith and of a true theology would go on side by 

side with the growth of an indiscriminate anthropomorphism, until 

the contrast became so violent as to call forth the indignant protests 

of men like Sokrates and Pindar, Euripides and Plato. Yet this 

contrast, as throwing us back upon the analysis of words, has enabled 

us to unlock the doors before which the most earnest seekers of 

ancient times groped in vain, and to trace almost from their very 

source all the streams of human thought. 

Condition This antagonism reached its highest point among the Hellenic 

of society t r ibes. From this point therefore we may most reasonably work back 

Greek to that indefinitely earlier condition of thought in which " the first 

heroic age. attem p ts on i v were De mg made at expressing the simplest conceptions 

by means of a language most simple, most sensuous, and most 

unwieldy." l The Iliad and Odyssey exhibit a state of society which 

has long since emerged from mere brutishness and barbarism. It 

has its fixed order and its recognised gradations, a system of law 

with judges to administer it, and a public opinion which sets itself 

against some faults and vices not amenable to legal penalties. It 

brings before us men who, if they retain, in their occasional ferocity, 

treachery, and malice, characteristics which belong to the savage, yet 

recognise the majesty of law and submit themselves to its government 

— who are obedient, yet not servile — who care for other than mere 

brute forces, who recognise the value of wise words and prudent 

counsels, and in the right of uttering them give the earnest of a yet 

higher and more developed freedom. It shows to us men who own 

the sanctity of an oath and acknowledge the duty of executing true 

judgment between man and man ; who, if they are fierce in fight, yet 

abhor mutilation, torture, and unseemly insult, and are willing to 

recognise merit in an enemy not less readily than in a friend Above 

all, it tells us of men who in their home life are honest and truthful, 

who make no pretension of despising human sympathy and setting 

lightly by kindness, gentleness, and love. If here and there we get 

glimpses of a charity which seeks a wider range, 2 yet the love of wife 

and children and brethren is the rule and not the exception • and 

everywhere, in striking contrast with Athenian society in the days of 

» Max Miiller, Chips from a German <pt\o, $ v ivepfaoiW 

Workshop vol. i. p. 354. I&TM ykp QiKUaw 6S$ ?», „;„/„ 

2 It is the praise of the wealthy «[„, // Z' °""" 

Axylos (who is slain by Diomgdes) that ' ' 4 ' 


Perikles and Aspasia, we see men and women mingling together in CHAP, 
equal and pure companionship, free alike from the arrogance and ' 
servility of Oriental empires, and from the horrible vices which, if 
even then in germ, were not matured till the so-called heroic ages 
had long passed away. 

But these epic poems tell us also of gods, some of whom at least Character 
had all the vices and few of the virtues of their worshippers. They mel - ic •■ my _ 
tell us of a supreme ruler and father of gods and men who had not thol °gy- 
always sat upon his throne, of other gods deposed and smitten down 
to dark and desolate regions, of feuds and factions, of lying and 
perjury, of ferocious cruelty and unmeasured revenge. They tell us 
of gods who delight in sensual enjoyments and care for little more 
than the fat of rams and goats, of gods who own no check to their 
passions and recognise no law against impurity and lust And even 
those gods who rise to a far higher ideal exhibit characters the most 
variable and. actions the most inconsistent. The same being is at 
different times, nay, almost at the. same time, just and iniquitous, 
truthful and false, temperate and debauched. 

As describing the origin and attributes of the gods, the whole Contrast 

. between 

series of Greek myths may be said to form a theology ; and with the mythoio- 
character of the people this theology stands out in marked contrast. j^Jj^jf 
It is impossible for us to determine precisely the extent to which this belief. 
mythical theology was believed, because it is not in our power to 
throw ourselves back wholly into their condition of thought ; but if 
the absence of all doubt or reflexion constitute faith, then their faith 
was given to the whole cycle of fables which make up the chronicles 
of their gods. If, however, we look to its influence on their thoughts 
at times when the human heart is stirred to its depths, we can 
scarcely say that this huge fabric of mythology challenged any belief 
.at all : and thus we must draw a sharp line of severance between their 
theology and their religion, if we use religion in the sense attached 
to the word by Locke or Newton, Milton or Butler. If the poet 
recounts the loves of Zeus, the jealousies of Here, the feuds and the 
factions in Olympos, it is equally certain that Achilleus does not 
pray to a sensual and lying god who owns no law for himself and 
cannot be a law for man. The contrast is heightened if we turn to 
the poems known as the Hesiodic. If the poet narrates a theogony 
which incurred the detestation or disgust of Pindar and of Plato, he 
tells us also of a Divine King who is a perfectly upright judge, and 
loves those who are clean of hand and pure of heart 1 If he tells 

1 The identity of authorship for the Days is very doubtful : but the question 
Hesiodic Theogony and the Works and is immaterial. Both poems exhibit the 


BOOK of horrible banquets to which the more fastidious faith of the lyric 
■ — \' poet refuses to give credence, 1 he bids all to follow after justice, 
because the gods spend their time, not in feasting, but in watching 
the ways and works of men. 2 If ^Eschylos in one drama depicts the 
arrogant tyranny of Zeus as an upstart and usurper, if the reiterated 
conviction of the prophetic Titan is that the new god shall fall, yet in 
others he looks up to the same Zeus (if indeed it be the same), 3 as 
the avenger of successful wrong, the vindicator of a righteous law 
whose power and goodness are alike eternal. If for Sophokles the old 
mythology had not lost its charm, if he too might tell of the lawless 
loves and the wild licence of Zeus and other gods, yet his heart 
is fixed on higher realities, on that purity of word and deed which 
has its birth, not on earth, but in heaven, and of which the im- 
perishable law is realised and consummated in a God as holy and 
everlasting. 1 
The lyric It would be difficult to discover a more marvellous combination 

poetswere °f seemingly inexplicable contradictions, of belief in the history of 

conscious g0( j s utterly distinct from the faith which guided the practice of men, 
of this 5 . ' , , , , . , b L , . , . , 

contrast, of an immoral and impure theology with a condition of society which 

it would be monstrous to regard as utterly and brutally depraved. 

Yet, in some way or other, this repulsive system, from which heathen 

poets and philosophers learnt gradually to shrink scarcely less than 

ourselves, had come into being, had been systematised into a scheme 

more or less coherent, and imposed upon the people as so much 

genuine history. What this origin and growth was, is (strange as it 

may appear) one of the most momentous questions which we can 

put to ourselves, for on its answer must depend our conclusions 

on the conditions of human life during the infancy of mankind. 

Of the answers which have been given to this question, it can 

be no light matter to determine which furnishes the most adequate 


Conflicting Two theories only appear to attempt a philosophical analysis of 

this vast system. While one repudiates the imputation of a deliberate 

views as 
to its 

sentiment of the same age, or of times but Herodotos proceeded to reject on 

separated by no long interval ; and in physical grounds the legend which told 

the latter poem the action of Zeus in of the founding of the Dodonaian oracle 

the legend of Pandora (which is also (ii. S 7), as well as some of the exploits 

related in the Theogony) is utterly of Herakles (ii. 45). It was, however, 

unlike that of the Zeus who figures in a moral reason which led him practi- 

all the didactic portions of the work. cally to disbelieve the whole story of 

1 IpaX 8" STropa yaaTplixap. Helen's sojourn at Troy (ii. I2 o). 

yw imxdpav -rw' efoctr' kAlarauai. '. Works and Days, 247-253. 

Pindar, Olymp. i. 82. Z(vs SaTls * 0T iaTiv - 

tv .,,... . , Agamemnon, 160. 

Pindar s objection is a moral one ; 4 Oid. Tyr. 863-871. 


fabrication of impurities, the other asserts as strongly the wilful moral chap. 
corruption exhibited in the theogonic narratives of the Greeks. In ■ ., —• —, - 
the inconsistent and repulsive adventures of Zeus or Heraldes it sees 
the perversion of high and mysterious doctrines originally imparted 
to man, and discerns in the gradations of the Olympian hierarchy 
vestiges of the most mysterious doctrines embraced in the whole 
compass of Christian teaching. By this theory all that is contra- 
dictory, immoral, or disgusting in Greek mythology is the ' direct 
result of human sinfulness and rebellion, and resolves itself into the 
distortion of a divine revelation imparted to Adam immediately after 
the Fall. 

The revelation thus imparted brought before men, we are told (i), Theory of 

.... . . ■ , a corrupted 

the Unity and Supremacy of the Godhead ; (n), a combination, with revelation, 
this Unity, of a Trinity in which the several persons are in some way 
of coequal honour ; (iii), the future coming of a Redeemer from the 
curse of death, invested with full humanity, who should finally estab- 
lish the divine kingdom ; (iv), a Wisdom, personal and divine, which 
founded and sustains the world ; (v), the connexion of the Redeemer 
with man by descent from the woman. With this was joined the re- 
velation of the Evil One, as a tempting power among men, and as the 
leader of rebellious angels who had for disobedience been hurled 
from their thrones in heaven. 1 This true theology, in the hands of 
the Greeks, was perverted, it is said, into a Trinity of the three sons 
of Kronos, Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon, the tradition of the Redeemer 
being represented by Apollon, and the Divine Wisdom being em- 
bodied in Athene', while Leto, their mother, stands in the place 
of the woman from whom the Deliverer was to descend. The 
traditions of the Evil One were still further obscured. Evil, as acting 
by violence, was represented most conspicuously in the Titans and 
giants — as tempting by deceit,, in the Ate of Homer, while lastly, the 
covenant of the rainbow reappears in Iris. 

This theory Mr. Gladstone has traced with great minuteness ^j™ of 
through the tangled skein of Greek mythology. The original idea he aries. 
finds disintegrated, and a system of secondaries is the necessary con- 
sequence. Far above all are exalted Apollon and Athene, in their 
personal purity 2 yet more than in their power, in their immediate 
action, 3 in their harmony with the will of the Supreme King, and in 

1 This theory was put forth more Juventus Mundi, but in some papers 

than twenty years ago by Mr. Gladstone, on the Olympian Hierarchy in the 

in his elaborate work entitled Homer Nineteenth Century, 1879. 

and the Hovieric Age. The seriousness 2 Homer and the Homeric Age, ii. 

of the issue must be pleaded as a reason 87-107. 

for examining it here, as Mr. Gladstone 3 Ibid. 89-93. 
has propounded it again not only in 


book the fact that they alone, among the deities of a second generation, 

• : • are admitted to equal honour with the Kronid brothers, if not even 

to higher. 1 But some of their attributes are transferred to other 
beings, who are simply embodiments of the attribute so transferred 
and of no other. Thus Athene" is attended by Hermes, Ares, 
Themis, and Hephaistos ; Apollon by Paieon and the Muses ; a as, 
similarly, we have in Gaia a weaker impersonation of Demet£r, and 
Nereus as representing simply the watery realm of Poseidon. In 
Leto, their mother, is shadowed forth the woman whose seed was to 
bruise the head of the serpent; for Leto herself has scarcely any 
definite office in the Homeric theology, and she remains, from any 
view except this one, an anomaly in mythological belief. 3 

Nature of ©trthis hypothesis, Greek mythology is no distortion of primary 

trines°per- trutns which first dawn on the mind of a child or are imparted to it, 
verted in and which, it might have been supposed, would form the substance 
tholog™ 3 " of divine truth granted to man during the infancy of his race. It is 
the corruption of recondite and mysterious dogmas which were not 
to become facts for hundreds or thousands of years. Zeus, the 
licentious tyrant, the perjured deceiver, the fierce hater, the lover of 
revelry and banqueting, who boasts of his immunity from all restraint 
and law, is the representative of the Eternal Father. He with Hades 
and Poseidon represents the Christian Trinity ; but Hades represents 
also the power of darkness, and Poseidon shares the attributes of God 
with those of the devil, 4 while all are children of the dethroned 
Kronos, in whom again the evil power finds an impersonation. 6 That 
a theology thus wilfully falsified should be found with a people not 
utterly demoralised, but exhibiting on the whole a social condition of 
great promise and a moral standard rising constantly higher, is indeed 
astonishing. On the supposition that Greek mythology was a cor- 
rupted religious system, it must, to whatever extent, have supplied 
a rule of faith and practice, and the actions and character of the gods 
must have furnished a justification for the excesses of human 
passion. That no such justification is alleged, and that the whole 
system seems to exercise no influence either on their standard of 
morality or their common practice, are signs which might appear to 
warrant the presumption that this mythology was not the object of a 
moral belief. The whole question, viewed in this light, is so utterly 
perplexing, and apparently so much at variance with the conditions 
of Homeric society, that we are driven to examine more strictly the 
evidence on which the hypothesis rests ; and it must be admitted 

J Homer and the Homeric Age, \\. 57. * Ibid. 164. 

2 Ibid. 61. 3 Ibid. 152. E Ibid. 207.' 


that this hypothesis involves the necessity of interpreting mythology CHAP, 
so as to square with a preconceived system, and carries .with it a ■ 
temptation to lessen or to pass over difficulties which appear to 
militate against it. The Homeric legends are not so consistent as 
for such a purpose would seem desirable, and there are the gravest 
reasons for not inferring from the silence of the poet that he was 
ignorant of other versions than those which he has chosen to adopt. 
On the supposition that Athene and Apollon represent severally the 
Divine Redeemer and the Divine Wisdom, their relation of will to 
the Supreme Father becomes a point of cardinal interest and import- 
ance. Without going further than the Iliad, 1 we have a conspiracy to 
bind Zeus, in which Athene is the accomplice of Here and Poseidon. 
In this plot, the deliverance comes not from Apollon, whose office it 
is to be " the defender and deliverer of heaven and the other immor- 
tals," but from Thetis, the silver-footed nymph of the sea ; a and by 
her wise counsels Zeus wins the victory over one who is with himself 
a member of the traditive Trinity. The same legend qualifies 
another statement, that Athene" and Apollon are never foiled, de- 
feated, or outwitted by any other of the gods ; s for Athene here is 
foiled by Thetis. Elsewhere we have Apollon, 1 like Poseidon, 
cheated by Laomedon whom he had served, and finding a more 
congenial master, but yet a master, in Admetos ; 6 while the parentage 
of the three Kronid brothers 6 and the double character of Poseidon 7 
stand forth as the most astounding contradictions of all. 

There are other legends which represent Athene" in a light incon- Relations 
sistent with the personification of the Divine Wisdom. In the tale of ° w ™ n zt'ns 
Pandora, at the instigation of Zeus she takes part in the plot which * n j* 
results in the increased wickedness and misery of man ; 8 in that of 
Prometheus, she aids in the theft of fire from heaven against the will 
of Zeus, while one version represents her as acting thus, not from feel- 
ings of friendship, but from the passion of love. These legends are 
not found in our Homer, but it is impossible to prove that the poet 
was unacquainted with them. He makes no reference to some 
myths, which are at once among the oldest and the most beautiful ; 

1 Gladstone's Homer, &*■., ii. 70. garded as of earlier growth than another, 

2 Ibid. 72. We must not forget merely because it happens to be found 
that in the myths of Asklepios and in our Iliad and Odyssey. 

AdmStos Apollon draws on himself the 3 Ibid. 74. 

wrath and the vengeance of Zeus for * Ibid. 75. 

slaying the Kykl8pes as a requital for 5 Ibid. 81. 

the death of his son, the Healer ; and ' Ibid. 162. 

we are fully justified in laying stress on ' Ibid. 206. 

this fact, until it can be proved that * Hesiod, Theogon. 573; Woris 

nny one myth must necessarily be re- and Days, 63. 




forms of 
Greek my- 

involved in 
the per- 
version of 
an original 

and he certainly knew of the dethronement of Kronos, as well as of 
factions in the new dynasty of the gods. 1 

But if the theory of religious perversion, apart from its moral 
difficulties, involves some serious contradictions, it altogether fails to 
explain why the mythology of the Greeks assumed many of its 
peculiar and perhaps most striking features. It does not show us 
why some of the gods should be represented pure, others as in part 
or altogether immoral ; it does not tell us why Zeus and Herakles 
should be coarse and sensual, rather than Athene and Apoll6n ; it 
does not explain why Apollon is made to serve Admetos, why 
Herakles bears the yoke of Eurystheus, and Bellerophon that of the 
Kilikian king. It fails to show why Herakles should appear as the 
type of self-restraint and sensuality, of labour and sluggishness, why 
names so similar in meaning as Lykaon, Helios and Phaethon, should 
be attached to beings whose mythical history is so different If for 
these and other anomalies there is a method of interpretation which 
gives a clear and simple explanation, which shows how such anoma- 
lies crept into being, and why their growth was inevitable — if this 
method serves also as a key, not merely to the mythology of Greece, 
but to that of the whole Aryan race, nay, even to a wider system still, 
a presumption at least is furnished, that the simpler method may 
after all be the truest. 

Yet more, the hypothesis of a corrupted revelation involves some 
further consequences, which have a material bearing on the question. 
That which is so perverted cannot become clearer and more definite 
in the very process of corrupt developement Not only must the 
positive truths, imparted at the first, undergo distortion, but the ideas 
involved in them must become weaker and weaker. If the Unity of 
God formed one of those primitive truths, then the personality and 
the power of Zeus would be more distinct and real in the earliest 
times than in the later. The ideas of the Trinity, of the Redeemer, 
and of the Divine Wisdom, would be more prominent in those first 
stages of belief in the case of a people who confessedly were not sus- 
tained by new or continued revelations. The personality of a Divine 
Wisdom is not a dogma which men in a thoroughly rude society 
could reason out for themselves ; and if it formed part of an original 
revelation, the lapse of time would tend to weaken, not to strengthen 

1 Similarly, the Iliad says nothing 
about the death of Achilleus : yet the 
poet is aware that his life is to be short. 

jU^rep, iirel p? ereKes ye /j.tvvv8dSidv irep 

is the frequent reproach of Achilleus to 

his mother Thetis. But the truth is 
that our Iliad and Odyssey presuppose 
everywhere on the part of the hearer or 
reader an acquaintance with legends 
or stories which are referred to merely 
in passing, and sometimes with a bare 


it. If, again, this corrupting process had for its cause a moral cor- CHAP. 

ruption going on in the hearts and lives of men, then this corruption ■ 1 ■ 

would be intensified in proportion to the degree in which the original 
revelation was overlaid. In the Hellenic mythology this process is 
reversed. Even as it appears in the poems which we call Homeric 
it must have undergone a developement of centuries ; but if it is im- 
possible to measure, by any reference to an older Greek literature, 
the personality and attributes of each god as compared with the con- 
ceptions of a previous age, it is obvious that the general tone of feel- 
ing and action, and the popular standard of morality had not been 
debased with the growth of their mythology. Whether the Hesiodic 
poems belong to a later period than our Iliad and Odyssey is a 
question into which it is unnecessary here to enter : but it must be 
admitted that if their theology is more systematised, and their 
theogony more repulsive, their morality and philosophy is immeasur- 
ably higher and more true. With the growth of a mythology and its 
more systematic arrangement the perception of moral truth has be- 
come more keen and intense ; and the same age which listened to the 
book of the generations of Zeus, Kronos, and Aphrodite, learnt 
wisdom from the pensive precepts of the " Works and Days." 

It is perhaps difficult to determine how far the characters of Compari- 
Phoibos and AthenS have been drawn out and systematised by the Homeric 
genius and moral instinct of the poet himself. We have no evidence, ™* the 
in any extant literature, of the precise state in which he found the thology. 
national mythology ; but it seems unlikely that he had what may be 
termed a theological authority for every statement which he makes 
and every attribute which he assigns to the one or the other. It is 
certain that Athene once conspired against the freedom of Zeus ; * 
but we cannot tell how far the poet himself intensified the general 
harmony of her will to that of the King of gods and men, nor can we 
forget that Ushas is as dear to gods and men as Athene" herself, and 
that Ushas is undeniably nothing but the morning. But language has 
, furnished evidence, which it is impossible to resist, of the gradual pro- 
cess which imparted to these mythical deities both their personality 
and their attributes. The literature of another branch of the same 
Aryan race exhibits a mythology whose substantial identity with that 
of the Greeks it is impossible to dispute ; but in that mythology beings, 
whose personality in our Homeric poems is sharply drawn and whose 
attributes are strictly defined, are still dim and shadowy. Even the 
great Olympian king has not received the passions and appetites, and 
certainly not the form of man. Nay, in that older mythology their 

1 Iliad, i. 400. 


BOOK persons and their attributes are alike interchangeable. That which 
L among the Greeks we find as a highly developed and complicated 
system, is elsewhere a mere mass of floating legend, nay, almost of 
mere mythical phrases, without plan or cohesion. But the unformed 
mythology of the Veda followed in its own land a course analogous 
to that of the mythology of Greece. There was the same systematic 
developement, with this difference, that in India the process was 
urged on by a powerful sacerdotal order who found their interest in 
the expansion of the old belief. In the earlier Vedas there is no pre- 
dominant priesthood, and only the faintest indications of caste ; there 
are no temples, no public worship, and, as it would seem, no images 
of the gods ; and (what is of immeasurably greater importance in 
reference to the mythological creed of the Homeric poets) there are 
" no indications of a triad, the creating, preserving, and destroying 
power. Brahma does not appear as a deity, and Vishnu, although 
named, has nothing in common with the Vishnu of the Puranas : no 
allusion occurs to his Avataras. . . . These differences are palpable, 
and so far from the Vedas being the basis of the existing system, they 
completely overturn it" 1 The comparison is scarcely less fatal to 
the mythological Trinity of the Greeks. 
., , „ r We come at length to the question of fact. What was the 

Methods of . .... 

determin- measure of divine truth imparted to man on his creation, or lm- 
exf ent of mediately after the fall, and under what forms was it conveyed ? To 
primitive a u_ e g e the rabbinical traditions and speculations of comparatively 
recent times a as evidence for the latent meaning of Greek mythology, 
is to treat the subject in a way which would simply make any solution 
of the problem impossible. The force of a current, when its stream 
has been divided, will not tell us much about the course or depth of 
kindred streams which have branched off in other directions. Thus 
the era of the division of races is the latest limit to which we can 
bring down a common tradition for all mankind ; and for that tradi- 
tion we are, it seems, confined to the first eleven chapters of the 
Book of Genesis. 3 
Evidence From these chapters we must derive our proof that our first 

of the parents and their immediate descendants possessed the idea of an 
Genesis. Infinite Being whose perfect goodness arose, not from external 
restraints, but from an unchangeable internal determination of 
character 4 — of a Trinity of Co-equal Persons in the Divine Unity — 

1 Professor H. H. Wilson, in the idolatrous. His remarks on the general 

Edinburgh Review for October i860, character of the Vedic religion deserve 

No. CCXXVIII. p. 382 ; and Vishnu the deepest attention. 
Purana, p. ii., where he emphatically 2 Gladstone, Homer, &>c, ii. 50. 

denies that the old Vedic religion was a Ibid. 4. * Ibid: 18. 


of a Redeemer who should hereafter assume their nature and deliver CHAP. 

from death and sin — of a Divine Wisdom which was with pod from ■ ^— -- 

the beginning, and of an Evil One, who, having fallen from his 
throne in heaven, had now become an antagonistic power, tempting 
men to their destruction. 1 

Whether these early chapters may contain this theological scheme Its charac- 
by just and legitimate inference, is a question with which we are not 
here concerned. It is not a question of doctrine or belief or theo- 
logical analysis. It is a simple question of fact which must determine 
whether various races of mankind were or were not guilty of wilful 
perversion of high and mysterious doctrines. Taken wholly by 
themselves, and not interpreted by the light thrown on them by the 
thought and belief of later ages, these records tell us of man as being 
(in some sense not explicitly defined) made in the Divine image and 
likeness — of one positive prohibition, the violation of which was to 
be followed by immediate death — of a subtle beast which tempts the 
woman to disobey the command, and of a sense of shame which 
follows the transgression. They tell us of flight and hiding when the 
man hears the voice of God walking in the garden in the cool of the 
day — of an attempt to transfer the blame from the man to the woman, 
from the woman to the serpent — of a sentence of humiliatioa passed 
upon the latter, with the warning that its head should be bruised by 
the woman's seed— of a life of toil and labour for the former, ending 
with a return to the dust from which he had been made. Besides 
this, they.tell us briefly that after some generations men began to call 
upon the name of the Lord ; that in the course of time they sank 
(with but one exception) into brute lust and violence; and that on 
the renovation of the earth men were made answerable for each 
other's blood, and received the token of the rainbow as a warrant for 
the future permanence of the course of nature. But of any revelation 
before the fall, beyond a command to till the garden and to abstain 
from the fruit of a particular tree, these records give not the slightest 

If the doctrines which are thus supposed to have made up the Limits of 
primitive revelation are contained in these chapters, they are so, it is dence. 
admitted, by a dim and feeble foreshadowing. 2 They tell us nothing 
of God in the perfection of His nature, or of a Unity of Three 
Persons in the Godhead. They tell us of a subtle serpent, not of a 
fallen angel, of the seed of the woman as bruising that serpent's head, 
not of a Divine Redeemer delivering from sin and spiritual death. 
Still less do they tell us of a Divine Wisdom, of an institution of 
1 Gladstone, Homer, &c, ii. 42. s Ibid. 39. 




Course of 
in the Old 

of account- 
ing for the 
of Greek 

sacrifice, 1 or of a spiritual communion in prayer as existing from the 
• first between man and God. All these doctrines may be legitimate 
deductions; but if to us the record itself gives only mysterious 
glimpses of a future fuller revelation, if to us these inferences from 
its contents are the result of careful comparison with the later books 
of the Old Testament, if even to us their harmony with the belief of 
prophets and righteous men of later ages seems clear only because we 
have been taught to regard it as clear, then what evidence have we 
that in the time of which the third chapter of Genesis speaks to us, 
our first parents had a full, or indeed any, apprehension of what even 
to us apart from later associations would be faint and shadowy? For 
if on the revelation made to them the vast mass of Greek mythology 
grew up as a corrupt incrustation, they must have received these 
truths not in their germ but in full dogmatic statement It is difficult 
to understand how such a statement would have been to them any- 
thing more than a dead unmeaning formula, waiting to be quickened 
into life by the breath of a later revelation or by the evidence of later 

If, again, there is any one lesson which may be drawn before 
others from the character of the Old Testament records, it is that 
ideas, dim and feeble at first, acquire gradually strength and con- 
sistency, that the clearness of revelation is increased as the stream 
widens, and that all positive belief is the result of years and genera- 
tions of discipline. But in some mysterious way, while the course of 
the Jewish people was from the lesser to the greater, they, in whose 
hands the Homeric theology was moulded started with a fulness of 
doctrinal knowledge which was not attained by the former until a 
long series of centuries had passed away. 

There is an instinctive reluctance to accept any theory which 
heightens human depravity and corruption, unless there are weighty 
reasons for doing so. 2 And, unquestionably, on the hypothesis which 
has just been examined, the mythology of the Greeks exhibits an 
instance of wilful and profane perversion, to which it would not be 
easy to find a parallel. But the character of that mythology still 
remains when we have rejected this supposition. We have still 
before us the chronicles or legends of gods who not merely eat and 
drink and sleep, but display the working of the vilest of human 
passions. Some process, therefore, either conscious or unconscious, 

1 The fact of offerings • is obviously 
very different from an ordinance com- 
manding such offerings. 

2 For the mass of facts which seem 

to negative the hypothesis of degenera- 
tion see Sir J. Lubbock's Prehistoric 


must have brought about a result so perplexing ; and if even for CHAP. 

conscious invention there must have been some groundwork, much < • 

more must this be the case if we take up an alternative which even 
less admits the exercise of a creative faculty. 

If then the mythology of the Aryan nations is to be studied to Allegorical 
good purpose, the process applied to their legends must be strictly J"Jf^ r ^ 
scientific In every Aryan land we have a vast mass of stories, some myths, 
preserved in great epic poems, some in the pages of mythographers 
or historians, some in tragic, lyric, or comic poetry, and some again 
only in the oral tradition or folklore of the people. All these, it is 
clear, must be submitted to that method of comparison and differ- 
ences by which inductive science has achieved its greatest triumphs. 
Not a step must be taken on mere conjecture : not a single result 
must be anticipated by ingenious hypothesis. For the reason of their 
existence we must search, not in our own moral convictions, or in 
those of ancient Greeks or Romans, but in the substance and mate- 
rials of the myths themselves. We must deal with their incidents 
and their names. We must group the former according to their 
points of likeness and difference ; and we must seek to interpret the 
latter by the principles which have been established and accepted as 
the laws of philological analysis. 






Origin of 


power of 

The analysis of language has fully justified the anticipation of 
Locke, that " if we could trace them to their sources, we should find 
in all languages the names which stand for things that fall not under 
our senses to have had their first rise from sensible ideas." So tho- 
roughly, indeed, has this conjecture been verified, that the assertion 
is fast passing into the number of trite and hackneyed sayings ; and 
though the interest and vast importance of the fact remains, few are 
now tempted to question the conclusion that every word employed to 
express the highest theological and metaphysical conceptions at first 
denoted mere sensuous perception. 1 

If to these primaeval sensuous words we are indebted for all the 
wealth of human language, these words must necessarily have pos- 
sessed an almost boundless power of expansion. A single instance 
will amply suffice to prove this fact. The old root which expressed 
the idea of crushing, grinding, or pounding has given birth *ot only 
to its direct representatives the Greek /u.vA.17, the Latin mola, the Irish 
meile, and the English mill and meal ; but it may be traced through 
a vast number of words between the meaning of which there is no 
obvious connexion. In the Greek judova/wu, to fight, the root has 
acquired that metaphorical meaning which is brought out more clearly 
in its intransitive forms. In these it embodies naturally the ideas of 
decay, softening, or destruction ; and so it furnished a name for man, 
as subject to disease and death, the morbus and mors of the Latins. 
If, again, man was /?po-ros or mortal, the gods were apfipoToi, and 
drank of the amrita cup of immortality. 2 The grinding away of time 
was expressed in the Latin mora, and in the French demeurer, while 
the idea of dead water is perhaps seen in mare, 7iier, the sea The 
root was fruitful in proper names. The Greeks had their gigantic 
Moliones, or Pounders, while the Norseman spoke of the hammer 

1 Max Miiller, Lectures on 
guage, second series, viii. 343. 



Southey, Curse of Kekama, xxiv. 


of Thor Miolnir. So, again, the huge Aloadai derived their name CHAP, 
from oAcdt;, the threshing-floor, a word belonging to the same root, as ■ 

SXevpov, corn, existed in the form p.d\evpov. From the same source 
came the Sanskrit Maruts, or Storms, the Latin Mars, the Slavonic 
Morana, and the Greek ap-qs and aperf. But the root passes into 
other shades of meaning. Under the form marj or mraj, it gave 
birth to the Greek p,iXyui, the Latin mulgeo and mulceo, the English 
milk (all meaning, originally, to stroke) ; and in these words, as well 
as in the Greek fS\a£, /taXa/cos, paXOdo-o-bs, the Latin marridus and 
mollis, the Greek p.iXi, and Latin mel, it passed into the ideas of soft- 
ness, sweetness, languor, and decay. From the notion of melting 
the transition was easy to that of desiring or yearning, and we find it, 
accordingly, in this sense, in the Greek p.eXeS<ivri and eX.Sop.aL (which 
may on good ground be traced to an older p-eXSopai), and finally, in 
ikirk, hope. Not less strange, yet not less evident, is the passage of 
the root jan from its original force of making or producing (as shown 
in the Sanskrit janas, the Greek yeVos, yovcus, and yoyos, the English 
kin ; in the Sanskrit janaka, the Teutonic konig, the English king, in 
ywq, and queen, and quean) to the abstract idea of knowing, as seen 
in the Sanskrit jna, the Greek yvGrai, the Latin gnosco, the English 
know. The close relationship of the two ideas is best seen in the 
Teutonic kann (can) and kenne (ken). 1 

The facts which the growth of these words brings before us are Origin of 
in the strictest sense historical. The later meanings presuppose the 'anguage. 
earlier significations, and the stages are reached in a chronological 
as well as a philosophical order, while the several developements mark 
an advance of human thought, and a change in the conditions of 
human society. From the highest conceptions of the profoundest 
thinkers we are carried back step by step to the rudest notions of an 
intellect slowly and painfully awakening into consciousness ; and we 
realise the several phases of primaeval life, as vividly as if they had 
been recorded by contemporary chroniclers. But if the process 
invests the study of words with a significance which it is impossible 
to overrate, it completely strips the subject of its mystery. No room 
is left for theories which traced the origin of speech to a faculty no 
longer possessed by mankind, 2 when the analysis of words exhibits 
from the beginning the working of the same unvarying laws. 8 If the 

1 Max Muller, Lectures on Lan- Study of Language, passim. Mr. Whit- 
guage, second series, vii. ; Chips, ii. ney has carried to its logical results 
257. the proposition that man was born, not 

2 Max Muller, Lectures on Lan- with speech, but simply with the ca- 
guage, first series, 370, et sea. pacity for speech. 

* Whitney, On Language and the 




bility of 

words denoting purely spiritual ideas are all evolved from roots ex- 
• pressing mere sensuous perceptions, if these words are thus confess- 
edly accidental or arbitrary or conventional signs, without any essen- 
tial or necessary relation to the notions signified, although they are a 
necessary growth from the original verbal stem, the real question at 
issue is set at rest. The sensations expressed in these primary words 
are felt by infants, by the deaf and dumb, by brute animals, as well 
as by speaking men ; they might therefore, rather they must, have 
been felt by man before he made the first attempt to acquaint his 
comrade with the thoughts which were passing in his own mind 
The word was needed not to enable him to realise the perception 
for himself, but to give him the power of awakening the same idea 
in another. It mattered not, therefore, what sound conveyed the 
thought, so long as the signal or message was understood ; and thus, 
where at the outset all was arbitrary, there might be many signs for 
the same object or the same idea. The notions which, as we have 
seen, found expression in words derived from the roots MR or ML, 
might have been denoted as easily by words derived from the stem 
GR. And in fact the latter has been scarcely less fertile than the 
former. To it we owe the words which denote the grating and 
grinding sound of things rubbed forcibly against each other, the grain 
which serves as grist for the mill, the gravel which the digger scrapes 
up as he delves his grave, the groan of pain, the grunt of indolence, 
the scribbling of the child and the delicate engraving of a Bewick 
or an Albert Durer. 1 We see, further, that words drawn from imita- 
tions of natural sounds have furnished names for impressions made 
on other senses besides that of hearing, and that a presumption is 
thus furnished for the similar origin of all words whatsoever. 

It may seem a poor foundation for a fabric so magnificent as the 
language of civilised mankind ; 2 but whatever belief may be enter- 
tained of the first beginnings of articulate speech, the gradual growth 
of language from its earliest elements is disputed by none ; and the 
examination of our own language carries us back to a condition of 
thought not many degrees higher than that of tribes which we regard' 
as sunk in hopeless barbarism. Yet that this difference of degree- 
involved in this instance a difference of kind is proved by the very 

there been a new language. What does- 
that mean ? Neither more nor less than 
that in speaking as we do, we are using, 
the same materials, however broken up,, 
crushed, and put together anew, which 
were handled by the first speaker, i.e. 
the first real ancestor of our race." — 
Max MUUer, Chips, ii. 255. 

1 To this list may be added the 
name for corn as ground or crushed, 
in the Scottish girnel, the Lithuanian 
gimds, the Gothic quaimus, our quern. 
Max Muller, " Comparative Mytho- 
logy," Chips from a German Workshop, 
ii. 43. 

" "Never in the history of man has 


fact that the one class of men has risen indefinitely in the scale of CHAP. 

being, while the other exhibits no power whether of self-cujfure or ■— ■ ' . • 

of imitation. These are facts which, like other physical facts, we 

cannot gainsay, although we may not be called on to determine the 

further question of the unity or plurality of the human race. The 

point with which we are more immediately concerned, is the light 

thrown by the history of words on the social and political history of 

the race, and on the consequences which followed the disruption or 

separation of tribes speaking dialects more or less closely akin. 

It can never be too often repeated that the facts laid bare in Historical 

the course of philological inquiry are as strictly historical as any th^ina- 

which are recorded of the campaigns of Hannibal, Wellington, or 'y sis of 

Napoleon. The words possessed in common by different Aryan 

languages point to the fact that these now separated tribes once 
dwelt together as a single people, while a comparison of these 
common words with others peculiar to the several dialects furnishes 
evidence of the material condition of the yet undivided race. Thus, 
from the identity of words connected with peaceful occupations as 
contrasted with the varying terms for war and hunting, we may 
gather " that all the Aryan nations had led a long life of peace 
before they separated, and that their language acquired individu- 
ality and nationality as each colony started in search of new homes, ' 
new generations forming new terms connected with the warlike 
and adventurous life of their onward migrations." 1 But these new 
terms were evolved from the common stock of verbal stems, and 
the readiness with which these roots lent themselves to new shades 
of meaning would not only render it easier to express thoughts 
already needing utterance, but would itself be a fruitful source 
of new ideas and notions. This process would be, in fact, a mul- 
tiplication of living images and objects, for all names in the earliest 
stages of language were either masculine or feminine, " neuters 
being of later growth, and distinguishable chiefly in the nominative." 
Thus the forms of language would tend to keep up a condition of 
thought analogous to that of infants ; and the conscious life of all 
natural objects, inferred at first from the consciousness of personality 

1 So again from the fact that in San- " teach us lessons more important than 

skrit, Greek, and Gothic "/ know" is all the traditions put together, which 

expressed by a perfect, meaning origin- the inhabitants of India, Greece, and 

ally "I have perceived," Professor Max Germany have preserved of their earliest 

Miiller infers that " this fashion or idiom migrations, and of the foundations of 

had become permanent before the their empires, ascribed to their gods, or 

Greeks separated from the Hindus, to the sons of their gods and heroines. * 

before the Hindus became unintelligible — Chips, ii. 252. 
to the Germans." Such facts, he insists, 


BOOK in the speaker or thinker, would become an article of belief sanctioned 
l - by the paramount authority of names, and all descriptions of pheno- 
mena would bring before them the actions of conscious things. 
Man would thus be living in a magic circle, in which words would 
strengthen an illusion inseparable from the intellectual condition of 
childhood. Yet we can scarcely fail to see the necessity of his being 
left to ascertain the truth or falsehood of his impressions by the 
patient observation of facts, if he was ever to attain to a real know- 
ledge and a true method for its attainment — if, in other words, he 
was to have an education, such as the wisest teacher would bestow 
upon a child. Ages may have been needed to carry him forward 
a single step in the upward course ; but the question of time can 
throw no doubt on the source from which the impulse came. The 
advance made, whether quick or slow, would be as much the work 
of God as the existence of man in the class of mammalia. Until 
it can be shown that our powers of sensation and motion are self- 
originated, the developement of a higher idea from a sensuous con- 
ception must be ascribed to the Divine Spirit, as truly as the noblest 
thought which can be embraced by the human mind. Hence each 
stage in the growth of language marks the formation of new wants, 
new ideas, and new relations. "It was an event in the history. of 
man when the ideas of father, mother, brother, sister, husband, wife, 
were first conceived and first uttered. It was a new era when the 
numerals from one to ten had been framed, and when words like 
law, right, duty, generosity, love, had been added to the dictionary 
of man. It was a revelation, the greatest of all revelations, when 
the conception of a Creator, a Ruler, a Father of man, when the 
name of God was for the first time uttered in this world" 1 
Earliest In that primaeval time, therefore, after he had learnt to express 

onhougiu nis Dodu y feelings in articulate sounds, but before he had risen to 
any definite conception of a Divine Being, man could interpret the 
world around him only through the medium of his own sensations. 
It was thus impossible that he could fail to attribute sensations like 

1 Max Muller, Lectures on Lan- ment dans la mythologie originaire et 

guage, second series, vii. 308 ; History ne s'en degagea que peu-a-peu. Quoique 

of Sanskrit Literature, 528, et sea. l'lnde ait eta" plus tard le pays par 

After tracing the evolution of a moral excellence de la theologie, le Rig-Veda 

and spiritual meaning from myths ne contient de theologie que dans ses 

originally purely physical, M. Baudry parties les moins anciennes. II en faut 

concludes, " Le sentiment moral et prendre son parti ; la metaphysique, 

religieux n'existait qu'implicitement la morale elle-meme en tant qu'elle 

dans le naturalisme primitif. L'idee arrive a se formuler, sont des fruits du 

du Dieu createur, pere des hommes, developpement intellectuel et non des 

aimant le bien et menant la cr&tion souvenirs d'une antique sagesse. "— De 

vers ce but final, n'apparait pas nette- I' Interpretation Mythologique, 30. 



his own to every object on which his eyes rested in the material CHAP. 

universe. His notions about things external to himself would be ■ : — 

the direct result of his psychological condition ; and for their utter- 
ance he would have in language an instrument of boundless power. 1 

1 I do not know that I am called 
upon to refute or even to notice the 
paper on Professor Max Miiller's "Phi- 
losophy of Mythology," contributed by 
Mr. A. Lang to Preiser's Magazine 
for August 1 88 1. I can but ask the 
reader to weigh Mr. Lang's statements 
carefully and impartially, while I confess 
for myself that, having read his paper 
more than once or twice, I can gather 
from it only the following points : (1) 
that he objects to Professor Max Miiller's 
sequence of the Rhematic and Mytho- 
pceic ages, or to the chronological limits 
assigned to them ; (2) that he looks on 
the general material of mythology, and 
not merely on certain portions of it, as 
lewd, foul, revolting, and unnatural, as 
the gross growth of disgusting savagery ; 
(3) that he regards this silly, senseless, 
and obscene talk as consisting of phrases 
or expressions spoken "directly of the 
heavenly bodies and powers of nature, 
conceived of as beings with human 
passions ; " and (4) that the whole mul- 
titude of mythical names and the vast 
fabric of mythical narration has grown 
up anyhow, like the Lucretian fortuitous 
concourse of atoms, which has brought 
us into a world impressed in a very odd 
way with appearances of design in every 
part of it ; that the legend of Hermes 
has nothing to do with the wind, that 
of Prokris nothing to do with the dew, 
and that of Io and Argos Panoptes no- 
thing to do with the moon and the stars. 

As to the value of these conclusions 
the reader must be judge. I can only 

say that when we come to anything like 
a theory in Mr. Lang's paper, it seems 
(1) to agree very singularly with that 
of Professor Max Muller ; that (2) I 
do not find in Professor Max Miiller's 
volumes the sharply defined boundaries 
of a mythopceic age, to which Mr. Lang 
most strongly objects ; that (3) the great 
bulk of Vedic, Hellenic, or Teutonic 
myths is not silly, gross, obscene, dis- 
gusting, and revolting ; and (4) that the 
attempt to explain the growth of Aryan 
mythical traditions as the result of acci- 
dent is worth as much and as little as 
the attempt to construct a system of 
astronomy without gravitation. 

I cannot bring myself to see any 
need of going into details. It is enough 
to note Mr. Lang's remark on the myth 
of Urvast and Pururavas. Professor Max 
Muller had said that the story told of 
them is one that is true only of the sun 
and the dawn. Mr. Lang positively 
denies this, holding the gist of the story 
to be "merely that Urvast vanishes, 
when Pururavas transgresses a point 
of matrimonial etiquette," " similar eti- 
quette being a common fact in man- 
ners from North America to Bulga- 
ria, and round again to South Africa." 
That it is not so, the reader may perhaps 
feel satisfied when he has examined the 
accounts given in this volume of the 
stories, not of Urvast only, but of Bheki, 
Melusina, Psyche, and the multitude 
of tales of which these may be regarded 
as the types. 





The in- 
fancy of 

of thought 
and its 


If the analysis of language and the researches of antiquarians bring' 
before us, in the earliest annals of mankind, a state of society which 
bears to our own a resemblance not greater than that of infancy to 
mature manhood, we shall scarcely realise that primaeval condition 
of thought except by studying closely the mind of children. Stubborn 
facts disclose as the prominent characteristics of that early time the 
selfishness and violence, the cruelty and slavishness of savages ; yet 
the mode in which they regarded the external world became a 
source of inexhaustible beauty, a fountain of the most exquisite 
and touching poetry. So true to nature and so lovely are the forms 
into which their language passed, as they spoke of the manifold 
phases of the changing year ; so deep is the tenderness with which 
they describe the death of the sun-stricken dew, the brief career 
of the short-lived sun, and' the agony of the earth-mother mourning 
for her summer-child, that we are tempted to reflect back upon the 
speakers the purity and truthfulness of their words. If the theory 
of a corrupted revelation as the origin of mythology imputes to 
whole nations a gross and wilful profanity which consciously travesties 
the holiest things, the simplicity of thought which belongs to the 
earliest myths presents, as some have urged, a picture of primaeval 
humanity too fair and flattering. 

No deep insight into the language and ways of children is needed 
to dispel such a fancy as this. The child who will speak of the 
dawn and the twilight as the Achaian spoke of Prokris and Eos will 
also be cruel or false or cunning. There is no reason why man in 
his earliest state should not express his sorrow when the bright being 
who had gladdened him with his radiance dies in the evening, or 
feel a real joy when he rises again in the morning, and yet be selfish 
or oppressive or cruel in his dealings with his fellows. His mental 
condition determined the character of his language, and that con- 


dition exhibits in him, as in children now, the working of a feeling chap. 
which endows all outward things with a life not unlike his own. Of • — f-li — 
the several objects which met his eye he had no positive knowledge, 
whether of their origin, their nature, or their properties. But he 
had life, and therefore all things else must have life also. He was 
under no necessity of personifying them, for he had for himself 
no distinctions between consciousness and personality. He knew 
nothing of the conditions of his own life or of any other, and there- 
fore all things on the earth or in the heavens were invested with the 
same vague idea of existence. The sun, the moon, the stars, the 
ground on which he trod, the clouds, storms, and lightnings were 
all living beings ; could he help thinking that, like himself, they 
were conscious beings also ? His very words would, by an inevitable 
necessity, 1 express this conviction. His language would admit no 
single expression from which the attribute of life was excluded, while 
it would vary the forms of that life with unerring instinct 8 Every 
object would be a living reality, and every word a speaking picture. 
For him there would be no bare recurrence of days and seasons, 
but each morning the dawn would drive her bright flocks to the 
blue pastures of heaven before the birth of the lord of day from the . 
toiling womb of night. Round the living progress of the new-born 
sun there would be grouped a lavish imagery, expressive of the 
most intense sympathy with what we term the operation of material 
forces, and not less expressive of the utter absence of even the 
faintest knowledge. Life would be an alternation of joy and sorrow, 
of terror and relief; for every evening the dawn would return 
leading her bright flocks, and the short-lived sun would die. Years 
might pass, or ages, before his rising again would establish even 
the weakest analogy ; 3 but in the meanwhile man would mourn for 

1 I should wish to place, if possible, exercised by language on thought in 

a stronger stress on these words now every possible sphere of mental activity. " 

than when I wrote them some twelve It follows, of course, that the history of 

or thirteen years ago. Professor Max philosophy is the history of a long battle 

Miiller has well said that on the ques- with mythology, in which the victory 

lion, whether the growth of myths of thought belongs still to " the distant 

be inevitable or not, the whole problem future." — Selected Essays, i. 590-591. 
of mythology seems to turn, and there- 2 Tylor, Primitive Culture, i. 268. 

fore that the certainty of the result * In spite of the incredulity which 

cannot be too strongly insisted on. My- one or two critics have expressed 

thology thus becomes "an inherent for this assertion, I see no reason for 

necessity of language," and is, " in fact, qualifying a proposition for which we 

the dark shadow which language throws have abundant evidence. See Max 

on thought, and which can never disap- Miiller, Selected Essays, i. 600. But 

pear till language becomes altogether even after the analogy had been estab- 

commensurate with thought, which it lished, and a sense of order had been 

never will." Mythology, then, in its impressed upon the mind, it was this 

highest sense is strictly "the power very order which, was regarded with 





his death, as for the loss of one who might never return. For every 
aspect of the material world he would have ready some life-giving 
expression; and those aspects would be scarcely less varied than 
his words. The same object would at different times, or under 
different conditions, awaken the most opposite or inconsistent con- 
ceptions. But these conceptions and the words which expressed 
them would exist side by side without producing the slightest con- 
sciousness of their incongruity ; nor is it easy to determine the exact 
order in which they might arise. The sun would ■ awaken both 
mournful and inspiriting ideas, ideas of victory and defeat, of toil 
and premature death. He would be the Titan, strangling the 
serpents of the night before he drove his chariot up the sky ; and 
he would also be the being who, worn down by unwilling labour 
undergone for men, sinks wearied into the arms of the mother who 
bare him m the morning. Other images would not be wanting ; the 
dawn and the dew and the violet clouds would be not less real and 
living than the sun. In his rising from the east he would quit the 
fair dawn, whom he should see no more till his labour drew towards 
its close. And not less would he love and be loved by the dew 
and by the morning herself, while to both his life would be fatal 
as his fiery car rose higher in the sky. So would man speak of all 
other things also ; of the thunder and the earthquake and the storm, 
not less than of summer and winter. But it would be no personifi- 
cation, and still less would it be an allegory or metaphor. It would 
be to him a veritable reality, which he examined and analysed as 
little as he reflected on himself. It would be a sentiment and a belief, 
but in no sense a religion. 

In these spontaneous utterances of thoughts awakened by out- 
ward phenomena, we have the source of the myths which must be 
regarded as primary. But it is obvious that such myths would be 
produced only so long as the words employed were used in their 
original meaning. While men were conscious of describing only 
the departure of the sun when they said " Endymion sleeps," the 
myth had not passed beyond its first stage ; but if once the meaning 
of the word were either in part or wholly forgotten, the creation of 
a new personality under this name would become inevitable, and 
the change would be rendered both more certain and more rapid 
by the very wealth of words which they lavished on the sights and 
objects which most impressed their imagination. A thousand phrases 

profound and reverent awe and admira- 
tion. The state of mind which can see 
signs and wonders only in what is 

irregular belongs, as Professor Miiller 
has remarked, to a later time. 


would be used to describe the action of the beneficent or consuming chap. 
sun, of the gentle or awful night, of the playful or furious wind : and - — ^ — • 
every word or phrase became the germ of a new story, as loon as 
the mind lost its hold on the original force of the name. 1 

Thus in the Polyonymy which was the result of the earliest form Secondary 
of human thought, we have the germ of the great epics of later mytbs ' 
times, and of the countless legends which make up the rich stores 
of mythical tradition. There was no bound or limit to the images 
suggested by the sun in his ever varying aspects ; and for every one 
of these aspects they would have a fitting expression, nor could 
human memory retain the exact meaning of all these phrases when 
the men who used them had been scattered from their original home. 
Old epithets would now become the names of new beings, and the 
legends so framed would constitute the class of secondary myths. 
But in all this there would be no disease of language. The failure 
would be that of memory alone, — a failure inevitable, yet not to be 
regretted, when we think of the rich harvest of beauty which the 
poets of many ages and many lands have reaped from these half- 
remembered words. 2 

It mattered little, then, of what object and phenomenon they Pclyono- 
might happen to speak. It might be the soft morning light or the f^ing the 
fearful storm-cloud, the wind or the thunder. In each case there growth of 


would be Polyonymy, the employment of many names to denote the logy, 
same thing. In each case, their words would express truthfully the 

1 " That Titanic assurance with he terms the bane of antiquity. This 
which we say, the sun must rise, was view is opposed by M. Baudry in his 
unknown to the early worshippers of able paper, De V Interpretation Mytholo- 
nature, or if they also began to feel the gique. After quoting the sentence just 
regularity with which the sun and the cited, he adds, " Voila le langage accuse^ 
other stars perform their daily labour, de maladie et de revolte, fort injuste- 
they still thought of free beings kept in ment a notre avis, car la faute n'est 
temporary servitude, chained for a time, qu'aux defaillances de la memoire, qui 
and bound to obey a higher will, but a garde le mot mais oublie' le sens. Ce 
sure to rise, like Herakles, to a higher mal arrive tantot pour un mot, tantot 
glory at the end of their labours."— pour une figure symbolique dont on a 
Max Muller, " Comparative Mytho- perdu la clef. Mais parce qu'une re- 
logy," Chips, &C, ii. 96. presentation mal comprise d'un eveque 

2 In his Lectures on Language, second debout devant des catechumenes plonges 
series, 358, Professor Max Muller asserts dans la cuve baptismale a donne lieu a 
that "whenever any word, that was at la legende de saint Nicholas ressuscitant 
first new metaphorically, is new without les enfants, en faut-il conclure aussi que 
a clear conception of the steps that led la sculpture efciit malade ? " But after 
to its original metaphorical meaning, all there is no real antagonism between 
there is danger of mythology ; when- the view taken by Professor Max Muller 
ever those steps are forgotten and arti- and that of M. Baudry. With the 
ficial steps put in their places, we have former, mythology arises when the steps 
mythology, or, if I may say so, we have which led to a metaphor are in greater 
diseased language, whether that Ian- or less degree forgotten ; in other words, 
guage refers to religious or secular in- from a failure of memory, not from dis- 
terests." The mythology thus produced ease in language. 


BOOK impressions which the phenomena left on their senses, and their 
I- truthfulness would impart to their language an undying beauty ; but 
the most fruitful source of mythical phrases would be found un- 
doubtedly in the daily or yearly course of the lord of day. In the 
thought of these early ages the sun was the child of night, or dark- 
ness ; the dawn came before he was born, and died as he rose in the 
heavens. He strangled the serpents of the night ; he went forth like 
a bridegroom out of his chamber, and like a giant to run his course. 
He had to do battle with clouds and storms. Sometimes his light 
grew dim under their gloomy veil, and the children of men shuddered 
at the wrath of the hidden sun. Sometimes his ray broke forth only, 
after brief splendour, to sink beneath a deeper darkness ; sometimes 
he burst forth at the end of his course, trampling on the clouds 
which had dimmed his brilliancy and bathing his pathway with blood. 
Sometimes, beneath mountains of clouds and vapours, he plunged 
into the leaden sea. Sometimes he looked benignly on the face of 
his mother or his bride who came to greet him at his journey's end. 
Sometimes he was the lord of heaven and of light, irresistible in his 
divine strength ; sometimes he toiled for others, not for himself, in a 
hard, unwilling servitude. His light and heat might give life or 
destroy it. His chariot might scorch the regions over which it 
passed ; his flaming fire might burn up all who dared to look with 
prying eyes into his dazzling treasure-house. He might be the child 
destined to slay his parents, or to be united at the last in an unspeak- 
able peace to the bright dawn who for brief space had gladdened his 
path in the morning. He might be the friend of the children of 
men, and the remorseless foe of those powers of darkness who had 
stolen away his bride. He might be a warrior whose eye strikes 
terror into his enemies, or a wise chieftain skilled in deep and 
hidden knowledge. Sometimes he might appear as a glorious being 
doomed to an early death, which no power could avert or delay. 
Sometimes grievous hardships and desperate conflicts might be^ 
followed by a longer season of serene repose. Wherever he went,* 
men might welcome him in love, or shrink from him in fear and 
anguish. He would have many brides in many lands, and his off- 
spring would assume aspects beautiful, strange, or horrible. His 
course might be brilliant and beneficent, or gloomy, sullen, and 
capricious. As compelled to toil for others, he would be said to 
fight in quarrels not his own ; or he might for a time withhold the 
aid of an arm which no enemy could withstand. He might be the 
destroyer of all whom he loved, he might slay the dawn with his 
kindling rays, he might scorch the fruits who were his children ; he 


might woo the deep blue sky, the bride of heaven itself, and an in- chap. 

evitable doom might bind his limbs on the blazing wheel for ever ■ : — • 

and ever. Nor in this crowd of phrases, all of which have borne 
their part in the formation of mythology, is there one which could 
not be used naturally by ourselves to describe the phenomena of the 
outward world, and there is scarcely one perhaps, which has not 
thus been used by our own poets. 

But in truth we need not go back to that early time for evidence Use of 
of the fact that language such as this comes naturally to mankind, andcon- 
Abstract names are the result of long thought and effort, and they crete 
are never congenial to the mass of men. They belong to a dialect 
which can never be spoken by poets, for on such unsubstantial food 
poetry must starve and die. Some of us may know now that there 
is nothing in natural phenomena which has any positive relation with 
the impressions produced on our minds, that the difference between 
the temperatures of Baiae and Nova Zembla is simply the difference 
of a few degrees more or less of solar heat, as indicated by Reaumur 
or Fahrenheit ; that the beautiful tints of morning and evening are 
being produced every moment, and that they are mere results of the 
inclination which the earth at a particular moment may have to the 
sun. We may know that the whispering breeze and the roaring 
storm are merely air moving with different degrees of force, that 
there is no generic difference between ice and water, between fluids 
and solids, between heat and cold. What if this knowledge were 
extended to all ? Would it be a gain if the language of men and 
women, boys and girls, were brought into strict agreement with 
scientific facts, and made to exhibit the exactness of technical defini- 
tions ? The question is superfluous, for so long as mankind remain 
what they are, such things are impossible. In one sense, the 
glorious hues which spread over the heavens at sunrise and sundown, 
the breeze and the hurricane, are to us nothing. The forces which 
produce the phenomena of the outward world take no notice of us. 
Shall it then be said that there is not One who does take note of the 
impressions which the sights or the sounds of nature make upon our 
minds ? Must we not recognise the feelings which those phenomena 
irresistibly evoke in us as not less facts than the phenomena them- 
selves? We cannot rid ourselves of these impressions. They are 
part of us ; they grow with our growth, and it is best for us if they 
receive a wholesome culture. Modern science may show that our 
feelings are merely relative; but there is still that within us which 
answers to the mental condition from which the mythical language 
of our forefathers sprang. It is impossible for us to look on the 




from the 
use of 

changes of day and night, of light and darkness, of summer and 
- winter, with the passionless equanimity which our philosophy re- 
quires ; and he who from a mountain summit looks down in solitude 
on the long shadows as they creep over the earth, while the sun 
sinks down into the purple mists which deaden and enshroud his 
splendours, cannot shake off the feeling that he is looking on the 
conscious struggle of departing life. He is wiser if he does not 
attempt to shake it off. The peasant who still thinks that he hears 
the soft music of the piper of Hameln, as the leaves of the wood 
rustle in the summer air, will be none the better if he parts with this 
feeling for some cold technical expression. The result of real science 
is to enable us to distinguish between our impressions and the facts 
or phenomena which produce them, whenever it may be necessary to 
do so ; but beyond this, science will never need to make any trespass 
on the domain of the poet and the condition of thought which finds 
its natural expression in the phrases that once grew up into a 
mythology. 1 

To the primary myths which spring from phrases employed in 
their original meaning to express the phenomena of the outward 
world, and to the secondary myths which arose from a partial or 
complete forgetfulness of that meaning, must be added a third class, 
which came into existence from the use of equivocal words. If, as 
the tribes and families of men diverged from common centres, there 
was always a danger that words expressing sensuous ideas might be 
petrified into personal appellatives, there was also the more imminent 
danger that they might be confounded with other words most nearly 
resembling them in sound. The result would be, in grammatical 
phrase, false etymology : the practical consequence would be the 
growth of a mythology. Many of the tales belonging to the most 
complicated mythical systems arose simply from the misinterpretation 
of common words. From a root which meant to shine, the Seven 
Shiners received their name ; possibly or probably to the same roots 
belongs the name of the Golden Bear (apKTos and ursa), as the 
Germans gave to the lion the title of Goldfusz ; and thus, when the 
epithet had, by some tribes, been confined to the Bear, the Seven 
Shiners were transformed first into seven bears, then into one with 
Arktouros (Arcturus) for their bearward. 2 In India, too, the mean- 
ing of riksha was forgotten ; but instead of referring the word to 
bears, they confounded it with risAi, and the Seven Stars became the 
abode of the Seven Poets or Sages, who enter the ark with Menu 

1 See further Max Miiller, " Com- 
parative Mythology," Chips, ii. 96. 

8 Lectures on Language, second 
series, 303. 


(Minos), and reappear as the Seven Wise Men of Hellas, the Seven CHAP. 

Children of Rhodos and Helios, 1 and the Seven Champions of -^— - 

Christendom. The same lot, it would seem, befell another name for 
this constellation. They who spoke of the seven Iriones had long 
forgotten that their fathers spoke of the stars as taras (staras) or 
strewers of light, and converted the bearward into Bo6tes, the 
ploughman, while the Teutonic nations, .unconscious that they had 
retained the old root in their word stern or star, likewise embodied a 
false etymology in wagons or wains. But when we turn to the 
Arkadian tale, that Kallisto, the mother of the eponymous hero 
Arkas, was changed into a bear by the jealousy of Here" and im- 
prisoned in the constellation, we find ourselves in that boundless 
region of mythology, the scenes of which are sometimes so exquisitely 
fair, sometimes so gloomy, hideous, and repulsive. The root van, to 
convey (the Latin veho), gave a name to the horse, to the flame of 
fire, and to the rays of the sun. 8 The magic wand of metaphor, with- 
out which there can be no growth or expansion of language, soon 
changed the rays of the sun into horses. But these horses, vahni, 
had yet another epithet, Harit, which signified at first the brilliancy 
produced by fat and ointment. Like the Greek words o-ryaAoeis and 
Xnrapo's, applied to things' anointed with lard or oil, ghritct,-prishthah 
(glittering with fat) furnished a title for the horses (or flames) of 
Agni, ignis, the fire. Thus the Harits became the immortal steeds 
who bear the chariot- of Indra across the sky and the car of Archil- 
leus over the plains of Ilion. The Greek carried away the name at 
an earlier stage ; and the Charites, retaining simply the qualities of 
grace and brightness, became the lovely beings who, with Himeros 
and the Muses, charm earth and heaven with their song. But before 
the Hesiodic theogony had defined their numbers and fixed their 
attributes, Charis remained a mere name of Aphrodite, the radiant 
dawn who springs from the sea before the rising of the sun. Still, 
though even at that early time Aphrodite" was the goddess of sensuous 
beauty and love, she was yet, with a strange adherence to the old 
meaning of her name, known as Enalia and Pontia, the child of the 
sea foam. For yet another title which she bore they could but 
frame a tale that Argynnis, the beloved of Agamemnon, had died at 
Kephisos. Yet that title, identified with the Sanskrit arjuni, spoke 
simply of dazzling loveliness. By a similar process of metaphor, the 
rays of the sun were changed into golden hair, into spears and lances, 
and robes of light. Over the shoulders of Phoibos LykSgengs, the 

1 Pind. 01. vii. 132. 

* See further Max Muller, Rig Veda Sanhitd, vol. i. p. 26. 





gration of 

light-born, flow the sacred locks which no razor might touch. On the 
- head of Nisos, as on that of Samson, 1 they become a Palladion in- 
vested with a mysterious power. From Helios, the sun, who can 
scorch as well as warm, comes the robe of Medeia, which reappears 
in the poisoned garments of Deianeira. Under the form of spears 
and arrows the rays of the sun are seen in almost every page of all 
Aryan mythology. They are the invincible darts of Phoibos, Achil- 
leus, and Meleagros, of Herakle"s and Theseus, of Artemis, Perseus, 
and Bellerophon, the poisoned arrows which Philoktetes and 
Odysseus, the model, as some will have it, of Hellenic character, 
scruple not to use. 

Thus the disintegration of the primary myths would be insured 
by the wealth of synonyms which the earliest form of human thought 
had brought into existence. If the Greek mythographers had been 
conscious that Kephalos and Prokris meant only the sun and the 
dew, the legend would have continued to belong to the same class 
with the myths of Indra and his cloud-enemy Vritra. As it is, it 
stands midway between these primary legends and the later tales which 
sprung up when the meaning of such names as Lykaon, Koronis, 
and Sarpedon had been wholly forgotten. The form of thought 
which looked on all sensible phenomena as endowed with a con- 
scious life, found utterance in a multiplicity of names for the same 
object, and each of these names became or might become the 
groundwork of a new myth, as in process of- time they were con- 
founded with words which most nearly resembled them in sound 

1 Dean Stanley (Lectures on the and those of Herakles. See also Gold- 
Jewish Church, i. 368) points out the ziher's Mythology among the JJebrews, 
likeness between the features of Samson p. 22. 

( 2 9 ) 



When in the Vedic songs we read of Indra, the sun-god, as fighting CHAP, 
with Vritra, the dark power who imprisons the rain in the storm- IV ' ■ 
cloud, or with Ahi, the throttling snake, or as pursuing the beautiful Elasticity 
Dahana, of the dawn as the mother or the bride of the sun, or of the cal speech, 
sun as slaying the dark parent from whom he has sprung, 1 we feel at 
once, that in such language we have an instrument of wonderful 
elasticity, that the form of thought which finds its natural utterance 
in such expressions must be capable of accommodating itself to every 
place and every climate, and that it would have as much room for its 
exercise among the frozen mountains of the North as under the 
most smiling sky and genial sun. But the time during which this 
mythical speech was the common language of mankind, would be a 
period of transition, in which the idea of existence would be sooner 
or later expanded into that of personality. Probably before this 
change had taken place, the yet unbroken Aryan family would be 
scattered to seek new homes in distant lands ; and the gradual 
change of language, which that dispersion rendered inevitable, would 
involve a more momentous change in their belief. They would carry 
away with them the old words and expressions ; but these would now 
be associated with new ideas, or else be imperfectly or wrongly under- 
stood. Henceforth, the words which had denoted the sun and moon 
would denote not merely living things but living persons. From 
personification to deification the steps would be but few; and the 
process of disintegration would at once furnish the materials for 
a vast fabric of mythology. All the expressions which had attached 
a living force to natural ojbjects would remain as the description 
of personal and anthropomorphous gods. Every word would become 
an attribute, and all ideas once grouped round a single object would 
blanch off into distinct personifications. The sun had been the lord 
of light, the driver of the chariot of the day; he had toiled and 
1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, ii. 404. 


BOOK laboured for the sons of men, and sunk down to rest, after a hard 

■ l' - - battle, in the evening. But now the lord of light would be Phoibos 

Apollon, while Helios would remain enthroned in his fiery chariot, 
and his toils and labours and death-struggles would be transferred to 
HeraklSs. The violet clouds which greet his rising and his setting 
would now be represented by herds of cows which feed in earthly 
pastures. There would be other expressions which would still 
remain as floating phrases, not attached to any definite deities. These 
would gradually be converted into incidents in the life of heroes, and 
be woven at length into systematic narratives. Finally, these gods or 
heroes, and the incidents of their mythical career, would receive each 
" a local habitation and a name." These would remain as genuine 
history, when the origin and meaning of the words had been either 
wholly or in part forgotten. 
Results of But in such a process as this, it is manifest that the men amongst 
mythical w h om it sprang up would not be responsible for the form which it 
might assume. Words, applied at first simply to outward objects or 
phenomena, would become the names of personal gods ; and the 
phrases which described those objects would then be transferred to 
what were now deities to be adored. But it would not follow that a 
form of thought which might apply, not only without harm but with 
a marvellous beauty, to things if living yet not personal, would bear 
translation into the conditions of human life. If in the older speech, 
the heaven was wedded to the earth, which returned his love with 
a prodigal fertility, in the later time the name of the heaven would be 
the name of a god, and that god would necessarily be earthly and 
sensual. But this developement of a mythology, much of which would 
inevitably be immoral and even repulsive, would not necessarily 
exercise a like debasing influence on the morality and practice of 
the people. It had started with being a sentiment, not a religion, — a 
personal opinion, but not a moral belief; and the real object of 
the heart's adoration would remain not less distinct from the creations 
of mythology than it had been before. Nay, it might be that, with 
any given people, the tone of thought and the character of society 
might be more' and more raised, even while the incongruous mytho- 
logical fabric assumed more stupendous proportions. But the first 
condition of thought, which regarded evelry object in creation, would 
have in itself only two possible developements. It must issue, either 
in an anthropomorphous polytheism, or in a degrading fetish worship. 
The character of the people would in each case determine whether 
the result for them should be an idolatrous terror of inanimate 
things, or the multiplication of deities with human forms and human 


passions, mingling with men, and sharing their partialities and CHAP, 
their feuds. • ^— — : — • 

For the proofs of these assertions, we shall look in vain to the Evidence 
earliest Hellenic literature. But the Vedic poems furnish indis- ^eveiope- 
putable evidence, that such as this was the origin and growth ofmentfur- 

. nished by 

Greek and Teutonic mythology. In these poems, the names of the Rig- 
many, perhaps of most, of the Greek gods, indicate natural objects e a ' 
which, if endued with life, have not been reduced to human per- 
sonality. In them Daphne is still simply the morning twilight 
ushering in the splendour of the new-born sun ; the cattle of Helios 
there are still the light-coloured clouds which the dawn leads out 
into the fields of the sky. There the idea of Herakles has n,ot been 
separated from the image of the toiling and struggling sun, and the 
glory of the life-giving Helios has not been transferred to the god 
of Delos and Pytho. In the Vedas the myths of Endymion, of 
Kephalos and Prokris, Orpheus and Eurydikg, are exhibited in the 
form of detached mythical phrases, which furnished for each their 
germ. 1 The analysis may be extended indefinitely : but the con- 
clusion can only be, that in the Vedic language we have the 
foundation, not only of the glowing legends of Hellas, but of the 
dark and sombre mythology of the Scandinavian and the Teuton. 
Both alike have grown up chiefly from names which have been 
grouped around the sun ; but the former has been grounded on those 
expressions which describe the recurrence of day and night, the 
latter on the great tragedy of nature in the alternation of summer 
and winter. 

Of this vast mass of solar myths, some have emerged into inde- Relative 
pendent legends, others have furnished the groundwork of whole Q r e e ° k 
epics, others have remained simply as floating tales whose intrinsic myths, 
beauty no poet has wedded to his verse. Whether the whole may 
be classified in order of priority, may be doubtful ; but the strong 
presumption would be, that those whi£h have not been systematised 
into coherent narratives are the oldest, as not having sufficiently lost 
their original meaning. At the least, they exhibit to us the substance 
of mythology in its earliest form. Thus the legends of Kephalos and 
Prokris, of Daphne, Narkissos, and Endymion, have come down 
to us in a less artificial form than that of Herakles, while the myth 
of Herakles has been arrested at a less advanced stage than those of 
Zeus and Apollon. But all alike can be translated back into 
mythical expressions, and most of these expressions are found in the 

1 See the analysis of these myths in parative Mythology," Chips from a 
Professor Max Miiller's essay on " Com- German Workshop, vol. ii. 





Vedas with their strict mythical meaning. The marvellous exuber- 
ance of this early language, and the wealth of its synonyms, may well 
excite astonishment as we watch its divergence into such myths as 
those of Kephalos and Endymion, Herakles, Daphne, the Pythian 
and Delian Apollon, Phaethon and Meleagros, Memnon and 

That the form of thought which found utterance in mythical 
language would lead to the accumulation of a vast number of names 
for the same object, we have already seen ; and so clearly does the 
mythology of the Aryan nations exhibit the working of this process, 
that the task of tracing it through the several legends of which it is 
composed becomes almost a superfluous work. It seems impossible 
not to see that when the language of mythology was the ordinary 
speech of daily life, the night laboured and heaved with the birth 
of the coming day, and that his toil and labour are reproduced in 
the Homeric hymn, in which L&to, the power of forgetfulness and 
sleep, gives birth to the lord of light in Delos. His coming was 
preceded by the pale twilight who, in mythical times, drove his 
cows to their pastures ; but in the Odyssey his herds feed at Tainaron 
or in Thrinakia far away, where Phaethousa and LampetiS, the bright 
and gleaming daughters of Neaira, the early morning, tend them at 
the rising and the setting of the sun. The old mythical feeling 
is strikingly manifest throughout the whole legend, not merely in the 
names and office of the wife and children of Helios, but in the delight 
with which the Sun-god gazes on his cattle at the beginning and 
the close of his daily course, and in the indignation which prompts 
him, when they are slain, to hide his light in the regions of the dead. 
But the sun loves not only the clouds but the dawn who is their 
leader ; and so the dawn comes before us as followed by him, and 
flying from his love, or else as returning it. The former phrase 
(" the dawn flies from the sun ") is embodied in the legend of Daphne, 
who flies from her lover and vanishes away as he seeks to embrace 
her. In the tale of Orpheus she appears, 'under the name of 
Eurydike, as the bride of the sun, loved by him and returning his 
love, yet falling a victim to it, for whether to Daphne or Eurydike' 
the brightness of his glance is fatal as he rises higher in the heaven. 
The same feeling is manifest under a form, if possible, more intense, 
in the tale of Kephalos and Prokris. "The sun loves the dew,'' was 
the old mythical phrase ; and it is reproduced in the love of Kephalos 
(the head of the sun) for Prokris, the glittering dewdrop. But "the 
morning loves the sun." E6s seeks to win Kephalos for herself; and 
her jealousy of Prokris is at once explained. But again the dewdrops 


each reflect the sun, and Prokris becomes faithless to her lover, while CHAP. 

she grants him her love under a new disguise ; and finally, when her • ^ — • 

fault has been atoned, she dies by the spear of Artemis, with which 
the sun unwittingly strikes her down. It is the old tale of Daphne 
and Eurydike" : and Kephalos goes mourning on his solitary journey, 
labouring not for himself, but for men who need his help, until he 
sinks to sleep beneath the western sea. 

But, as we have seen, the sun may be spoken of as either bene- Chang-e- 
ficent or destructive, as toiling for the good of men or as slaying of the g Uru 
them. Sometimes he may sink to rest in quietness and peace, while 
the moon comes to give him her greeting of love ; or he may die 
after a battle with the struggling clouds, leaving a solitary line of 
blood-red light behind him. So in the Hellenic legend, Phoibos 
cannot rest in his birthplace of Lykia or Delos ; he must wander far 
westwards over many lands, through the fair vale of Telphoussa, to 
his western home in Delphi. There the mighty power of his rays is 
shown in the death of the great dragon, whose body is left to rot at 
Pytho. Yet it was strange that the sun, whose influence was com- 
monly for life and gladness, should sometimes vex and slay the sons 
of men ; and so the tale went that plague and pestilence came when 
Phaethon had taken the place of Helios, and vainly sought to guide 
aright his fire-breathing horses. So again the legend of Meleagros 
exhibits only the capricious action of the sun, and the alternations of 
light and shade are expressed in the sudden exploits and moody 
sullenness of the hero ; but his life is bound up with the torch of day, 
the burning brand, and when its last spark flickers out the life of the 
hero is ended. More commonly, however, he is the mighty one 
labouring on and finally worn out by an unselfish toil, struggling in 
his hard task for a being who is not worthy of the great and costly 
sacrifice. So Phoibos Apollon, with his kinsman Herakles, serves 
the Trojan Laomedon ; and so he dwells as a bondman in the house 
of Admetos. So likewise, as Bellerophontes, he encounters fearful 
peril at the bidding of a treacherous host, and dies, like Sarpedon and 
Memnon, in a quarrel which is not his own. But nowhere is his un- 
utterable toil and scanty reward brought out so prominently as in the 
whole legend, or rather the mass of unconnected legend, which is 
gathered round the person of Herakles. Doomed before his birth to 
be the slave of a weak and cruel master, he strangles, while yet in his 
cradle, the serpents of the night, which stung to death the fair Eury- 
dike. His toils begin. His limbs are endued with an irresistible 
power, and he has a soul which knows no fear. He may use this 
power for good or for evil, and his choice for good furnishes the 




mcnts of 

Origin of 




groundwork for the apologue of Prodikos. Other legends there were 
which perverted this idea ; and in these he is exhibited under gross, 
uncouth, or repulsive forms. But he goes upon his way, and is 
hurried on through many lands. In all he has mighty works to do, 
and he fails in none. The remembrance of Iole may linger in his 
memory, but there are others who claim his love in the days of his 
strength and power, and it would seem as though he had forgotten 
the daughter of Eurytos. But his time draws towards its close : the 
beautiful maiden, whose face had gladdened him long ago, returns to 
cheer him in the evening of his life. With her comes the poisoned 
robe (the mantle of cloud), which he strives in vain to tear away from 
his bleeding limbs. In a deeper and redder stream flows the life- 
blood, till, after a convulsive struggle, the strife is closed in the dead 
silence of night 

But it is in the case of Herakles that the perfect truth of the old 
mythical language gave rise more especially to that apparently strange 
and perplexing meaning which repelled and even disgusted the poets 
and philosophers of Greece. Pindar refuses to believe that any god 
could be a sensualist or a cannibal ; he might in the same spirit have 
rejected the tales which impute something of meanness or cowardice 
to the brave and high-souled Herakles. For Herakles fights with 
poisoned arrows, and leaves them as his bequest to PhiloktStes. But 
the poisoned arrows are the piercing rays which burn in the tropical 
noon-day, and they reappear as well in the poisoned robe of Deianeira 
as in that which the Kolchian Medeia professes to have received 
from her kinsman Helios. 

A deeper mythical meaning, however, underlies and accounts for 
the immorality and licence which was introduced into the transmuted 
legend of Herakles. The sun looks down on the earth, and the 
earth answers to his loving glance by her teeming and inexhaustible 
fertility. In every land she yields her special harvest of fruits and 
flowers, of corn and wine and oil. Her children are countless, but 
all spring up under the eye of the sun as he journeys through the 
wide heaven. It is easy to see what must be the result when the sun 
is transmuted into the human, yet god-like, Herakles, and how repul- 
sive that myth must become which, in its primitive form, only told how 

The sunlight clasps the earth, 
And the moonbeams kiss the sea. 1 

The same explanation removes the mystery of the even greater de- 
gradation to which the Hellenic mythology reduces Zeus himself, the 

1 Shelley, Love's Philosophy. 


supreme father of gods and men. He who should be the very type CHAP. 

of all purity and goodness becomes the very embodiment «of head- : — • 

strong lust and passion, while the holiness of the lord of life and light 
is transferred to Apollon and his virgin sister, Athene. The difficulty 
is but slight Zeus, the Vedic Dyaus, is but another form of Ouranos, 
the veiling heaven or sky ; and again, as in the words of our own 
poet, who sings how 

Nothing in the world is single, 
All things by a law divine 

In another's being mingle, 

and how 

The mountains kiss high heaven, 

so Ouranos looked down on Gaia, and brooded over her in his deep, 
unfailing, life-giving love. But these are phrases which will not bear 
translation into the conditions of human life, without degrading the 
spiritual god into a being who boasts of his unbounded and shameless 
licence. 1 

The same process which insured this degradation insured at the Tendency- 
same time the local boundaries which were assigned to mythical Mythical 6 
heroes or their mythical exploits. When the adventures of Zeus incidents, 
assumed something like consistency, the original meaning of his name 
was less and less remembered, until his birthplace was fixed in a 
Cretan cave, and his throne raised on a Thessalian hill. So Apollon 
was born in Lykia or in Delos, and dwelt at Patara or Pytho. So 
Endymion had his tomb in Elis, or slept his long sleep on the hill of 
Latmos. So Kephalos first met Prokris on the Hymettian heights, 
and fell from the Leukadian cape into the Western Sea. So, as she 
wandered westward in search of her lost child, Telephassa (a name 
which, like those of Phaethousa, Lampetie, and Brynhild, tells its own 
tale), sank to sleep on the Thessalian plain in the evening. 

Yet although much was forgotten, and much also, it may be, lost Vitality of 
for ever, the form of thought which produced the old mythical' 1 ^™ 5 " 110 " 
language had not altogether died away. Showing itself sometimes in faculty. 
directly allegorical statement of historical fact, sometimes in similar 
descriptions of natural objects or of the incidents of common life, 
it still threw the halo of a living reality over everything of which it 
spoke. So the flight of Kaunos from Miletos to Lykia, and the 
sorrow of the sister whom he had left behind, figured the migration 
of colonists from the one land to the other. So in the Hesiodic 

" Mr. Tylor, Primitive Culture, i. gives may be added the marriage of 

261, traces not only such legends, but mothers with sons, ascribed by Hero- ; 

incestuous marriages, to mythical dotos to Semiramis. 1 

phrases. To the instances which he 




for new 

Theogony, Nyx (night) is the mother of Hypnos, (sleep,) and Oneiros,. 
- (dream,) of Eris, (strife,) and Apate, (deceit,) and Momos, (blame,) 
where we speak merely of sleeping and dreaming, and of evil deeds 
wrought in secrecy and darkness. 1 

If, again, the mythology of the Homeric poets, as handed down to 
us, points to an age long anterior to their own, yet the mythopoeic 
faculty still exerted itself, if not in the invention of myths altogether 
new, yet in the embellishment and expansion of the old. It was not 
easy to satisfy the appetite of an imaginative age which had no canon 
of historical criticism, and which constantly craved its fitting food. 
It was not easy to exhaust the vein opened in almost every mythical 
theme. The sun as toiling and suffering, the sky as brooding over 
and cherishing the earth, the light as gladdening and purifying all 
visible things, would suggest an infinity of details illustrating each 
original idea. The multiplication of miracles and marvels stimulated 
the desire for more ; and new labours were invented for Herakles, 
new loves for Zeus, as easily as their forefathers uttered the words to 
which the myths of Zeus and HeraklSs owed their existence. The 
mere fact of their human personification insured the growth of in- 
numerable fictions. If Zeus had the form and the passions of men, 
then the conditions of his life must be assimilated to theirs. He 
must have wife and children, he must have father and mother. The 
latter must be no less divine than himself; but as he is enthroned 
above them, they must belong to a dynasty which he has overthrown. 
Their defeat must have been preceded by a long and fierce struggle. 
Mighty beings of gigantic force must have fought on each side in that 
tremendous conflict ; but the victory must belong to the side which 
to brute force added wise forethought and prudent counsel. 8 Here 
would be the foundation for that marvellous supernatural machinery 
of which we have some indications in the Iliad, and which is drawn 
out with such careful detail in the Hesiodic Theogony. But Zeus, 
to whom there were children born in every land, must have his 
queen; and the jealousy of Here against 16, or SemelS, or Alkmene 
would follow as a necessary consequence. The subject might 
be indefinitely expanded, and each subject would of itself suggest 
others; but there was no fear that the poet should weary the 
patience of his hearers, if only his additions, whether of incident or 
detail, did not violate the laws of mythological credibility. Nothing 
must be related of Herakles which was repugnant to the fundamental 

1 Max Miiller, " Comparative Mythology," 
64, et seq. 
" Hence the mythical Prometheus. 

Chips from a German Workshop, 


idea of his toil and suffering for a master weaker than himself; CHAP. 

nothing must be told of Athene which would rather call up*associa- ■ ™ m -, 

tions of the laughter-loving Aphrodite. 

And, finally, there would be a constant and irresistible temptation Transmu- 

,....., , r tation of 

to sever historical incidents and characters from the world of reality, names 
and bear them into the cloudland of mythology. Round every hero tStoncal. 
who, after great promise, died in the spring-time of his life, or on 
whom the yoke of an unworthy tyrant lay heavy, would be grouped 
words and expressions which belonged to the myth of the brilliant 
yet quickly dying sun. The tale of Achilleus and Meleagros may be 
entirely mythical ; but even if it be in part the story of men who 
really lived and suffered, that story has been so interwoven with 
images borrowed from the myths of a bygone age, as to conceal for 
ever any fragments of history which may lie beneath them. 1 

But if the mythical phrases which gave birth to the legends of Ground- 
HeraklSs, Endymion, and Orpheus, of Phaethon, Meleagros, and ^° r mytho- 
Bellerophontes, spoke of the daily course of the sun, there were Io &y of 
others which told of alternating seasons. For the character of Europe, 
mythical speech must necessarily be modified, and its very phrases 
suggested by the outward features and phenomena of the country. 
The speech of the tropics, and still more, of the happy zone which 
lies beyond its scorching heat, would tell rather of splendour than of 
gloom, of life rather than decay, of constant renovation rather than 
prolonged lethargy. But in the frost-bound regions of the North 
the speech of the people would, with a peculiar intensity of feeling, 
dwell on the tragedy of nature. It would speak not so much of the 
daily death of the sun (for the recurrence of day and night in other 
lands would bring no darkness to these), but of the deadly sleep of 
the earth, when the powers of frost and snow had vanquished the 
brilliant king. It would speak, not of Eos rising from the Titan's 
couch, or of Helios sinking wearied into his golden couch behind 
the sea, but of treasures stolen from the earth and buried in her 
hidden depths beyond the sight and reach of man. It would tell of 
a fair maiden, wrapped in a dreamless slumber, from which the touch 
of one brave knight alone could rouse her ; it would sing of her 
rescue, her betrothal, and her desertion, as the sun, who brought 
back the spring, forsook her for the gay and wanton summer. It 
would go on to frame tales of strife and jealousy, ending in the death 
of the bright hero ; it would speak of the bride whom he has forsaken 
as going up to die upon his funeral pile. This woful tragedy, whose 
long sorrow called forth a deep and intense sympathy which we, 
1 Max Miiller, "Comparative Mythology,'' Chips, &c, vol. ii. 112. 


BOOK perhaps, can scarcely realise, is faintly indicated in* the beautiful 
*• hymn to Demeter ; but winter, in the bright Hellenic land, assumed 
a form too fair to leave any deep impression of gloom and death on 
the popular mythology. The face of .nature suggested there the 
simple tale which speaks of Persephone as stolen away, but brought 
back to her mother by a covenant insuring to her a longer sojourn 
on the bright earth than in the shadowy kingdom of Hades. But 
how completely the tragedy, to which this hymn points, forms the 
groundwork of the Volsung myth and of the Edda into which it was 
expanded, to what an extent it has suggested the most minute details 
of the great epics of the North, Professor Max Miiller has shown, 
with a force and clearness which leave no room for doubt 1 Like 
Achilleus, Sifrit or Sigurd can be wounded only in one spot, as the 
bright sun of summer cannot grow dim till it is pierced by the thorn 
of winter. Like Phoibos, who smites the dragon at Pytho, the 
Northern hero slays the serpent Fafnir, and wins back the treasure 
of the Niflungar, while he rouses Brynhild from her long slumber. 3 
This treasure is the power of vegetation, which has been lulled to 
sleep by the mists and clouds of winter ; the seeds which refuse to 
grow while Demeter sorrows for her child Persephone. The deser- 
tion of Brynhild is the advance of spring into summer : and from it 
follows of necessity the hatred of Brynhild for Gudrun, who has 
stolen away the love of Sigurd. A dark doom presses heavily on him, 
darker and more wpful than that which weighed down the toiling 
Herakles ; for the labour of Herakles issued always in victory, but 
Sigurd must win his own wife Brynhild only to hand her over to 
Gunnar. The sun must deliver the bright spring, whom he had 
wooed and won, to the gloomy powers of cold and darkness. Gudrun 
only remains ; but though outwardly she is fair and bright, she is of 
kin to the wintry beings, for the late summer is more closely allied 
to death than to life. Yet Gunnar, her brother, cannot rest; the 
wrath of the cold has been roused, and he resolves to slay the bright 

1 "Comparative Mythology," p. he is on the point of deserting for the 
io8, &c. The story of Sigurd and daughter of Osten, when Kraka reveals 
Brynhild comes up again in the legends herself as the child of Sigurd and Bryn- 
of Ragnar and Thora, and again of hild. See Thorpe's Northern Mytho- 
Ragnar and Aslauga. Like Brynhild, logy, vol. i. pp. 108, 113. 
Thora with the earth's treasure is 2 The same myth, as' we might ex- 
guarded by a dragon whose coils en- pect, forms the subject of several of 
circle her castle ; and only the man who the " Sculptured Stones " of Scotland 
slays the dragon can win her for his "The legend of a dragon holding a 
bride. But Ragnar Lodbrog, who so maiden in thrall until he is slain by a 
wins her, is still the son of Sigurd. valiant knight, occurs more than once " 
Thora dies, and Ragnar at length woos —Burton, History of Scotland, vol i 
the beautiful Kraka, whom, however, p. 150. 


and beautiful Sigurd. The deed is done by Gunnar'a brethren — the chap. 
cloud, the wind, and the storm ; and Brynhild, filled again with her - IV - - 
earl y love , lies down to die with him who had forsaken her. 

Phrases similar to those which gave birth to the legends of the Ground- 
Volsungs and the Nibelungs lie at the root of the epics to which ^"Ho- 
Greek genius has imparted such wonderful consistency and beauty. meric " mv - 
Yet it can scarcely be too often repeated, that these poets adopted 
as much of the popular mythology as suited their purpose, and no 
more. If casual expressions throughout these poems leave no room 
to doubt that they knew of wars among the heavenly beings, of the 
dethronement of Kronos, the good service and the hard recompense 
of Prometheus, and the early death of Achilleus, it appears not less 
manifest, that the idea of Oinone and of her relations to Paris could 
not have dawned for the first time on the mind of a later age. It 
was no part of the poet's design to furnish a complete mythology ; 
and the Iliad exhibits only that process of disintegration which was 
perpetually multiplying new tales and new beings from the old 
mythical language. In no instance, perhaps, is this process brought 
out with greater clearness than in that of Paris. This son of Priam, 
as leading away the beautiful Helen from the far west and hiding her 
through ten long years in his secret chambers, represents the dark 
power which steals the light from the western sky, and sustains a ten 
hours' conflict before he will yield her up again. Paris thus is Pani, 
the dark thief of the Vedic songs, who hides the bright cattle of 
Indra in his dismal caves ; in other words, he is Vritra, the veiling 
enemy, and Ahi, the throttling serpent of night. Such is he in his 
relations to Menelaos and the children of the Sun, who come to 
reclaim the lost Helen. But among his own people Paris is the most 
prominent actor in the great drama which ends in the fall of Ilion. 
The night has its beauty, although, as with Kirke, with Kalypso, and 
with Ursula, this beauty may be a thing rather to be feared than 
loved Paris, therefore, is beautiful, he is brave, and he is fated to 
bring ruin on his kinsfolk ; for the night not less than the day slays 
its parents, and falls a victim to its own offspring. Like Perseus, 
Telephos, and others among the host of fatal children, the babe is 
exposed on the slopes of Ida. Nourished by a bear, he grows up 
beautiful in form ; and if his love is sensual, so also in many myths 
is that of HeraklSs. 1 If, again, after the seduction of Helen, his 

1 The term yvvatfiavfis, as applied Priam, are "the lovers of the girls,'' 

to Paris, only translates in a somewhat "the husbands of the brides." The 

strengthened form a common epithet of idea would not fail to assume a sensual 

Indra and of the black Krishna, the aspect when the actors of the tale were 

nocturnal sun, who, like the son of invested with human personality. 



BOOK former bravery gives place to sullen or effeminate inaction, the same 

• 1 change is seen in Meleagros and Achilleus. If he is capricious, so 

are they ; and each sits burnishing his golden armour in his tent or 

his secret chamber, making ready for the fight, yet doing nothing. 

If, again, it is by the weapon of Paris that Achilleus is to fall in the 

western gates, the arrow which slays Paris is drawn from the quiver 

of Herakles. But with the fatal wound comes back the love of 

Paris for the lost Oinone" ; and not less forgiving than Prokris to the 

faithless Kephalos, Oinone" stands before him. With a soft and 

tender grief she gazes on the face which had once, filled the whole 

earth for her with beauty. She sees his life-blood flowing away ; but 

though she has the power of the soft evening time to soothe the woes 

of mortal men, she cannot heal the poisoned wound which is slaying 

Paris. But with the death of him who once was called Alexandras, 

the light of her life is gone. Paris rests in the sleep of death, and 

Oindne lies down to die by his side. 

C om . The Iliad is, in short, the Volsung tale, as wrought out by the 

parison of p 0e j; S f a bright and fertile land. 1 Yet, if the harsh climate of the 

Norse north modified the Norse mythology, it also moulded indefinitely the 

myt oogy. nat j ona j character, and the two acted and reacted on each other. 

Bred up to fight with nature in a constant battle for existence, the 

1 The Hellenic myths can no longer 
be regarded as exponents of abstract 
physical truths or theories. There can 
be no doubt that (whatever appearance 
of such a system may have been im- 
parted to it by the priests), the supposi- 
tion does not apply with more force 
even to Egyptian mythology. In Egypt, 
as well as in Greece and Northern 
Europe, we have again the solar legend. 
The spring was the time of festival, the 
autumn of fast and mourning. It would 
almost seem as though the Egyptian 
myths were in this respect more closely 
akin to those of Northern than of 
Southern Europe. — See Milman, His- 
tory of Christianity, vol. i. p. 13. 
Compare also the Surtr of the Icelandic 
mythology, Dasent's " Norsemen in Ice- 
land," Oxjord Essays for 1858, p. 198. 
The groundwork of the Volsunga 
Saga, of the tales of Helen, Alkestis, 
SarpSdon, and Memnon, reappears in 
the legends and the worship of Adonis. 
The origin of the myth is in this case 
self-evident, while the grossness of the 
forms which it has assumed shows the 
degree to which such legends may either 
influence or be modified by national 
characteristics or the physical conditions 

of a country. F,ven m their worst as- 
pects, Zeus and Odin retain some 
majesty and manly power ; but in the 
legend of Adonis, the idea of the sun as 
calling the earth back to life has been 
sensualised to a degree far beyond the 
sensuousness of Greek or Teutonic my- 
thology. In fact, the image of Dern6ter 
has passed by a very easy transmutation 
into that of Aphrodite : but there not 
only remains the early death of Adonis, 
but it is assigned to the very cause 
which cuts short the life of Achilleus, 
Sigurd, Baldur, and Meleagros. The 
boar's tusk, which reappears in the 
myth of Odysseus, is but the thorn of 
winter and the poisoned robe of He- 
rakles ; and accordingly there were 
versions which affirmed that it was 
Apoll&n who, in the form of a boar, 
killed the darling of Aphrodite". The 
division of time also varies. In some 
legends the covenant is the same as 
that which is made with Demeter for 
Persephong. In others, he remains four 
months with Hades, four with Aphro- 
dite, while the remaining four, being at 
his own disposal, he chooses to spend 
with the latter. 


Northman became fearless, honest, and truthful, ready to smite and chap. 
ready to forgive, shrinking not from pain himself and careless of ■ — ^ — - 
inflicting it on others. Witnessing everywhere the struggle of con- 
flicting forces, he was tempted to look on life as a field for warfare, 
and to own no law for those who were not bound with him in ties of 
blood and friendship. Hence there was impressed on him a stern 
and fierce character, exaggerated not unfrequently into a gross and 
brutal cruelty ; and his national songs reflected the repulsive not less 
than the fairer aspect of his disposition. In the Volsung tale, as in 
the later epics, there is much of feud, jealousy, and bloodshed, much 
which to the mind of a less tumultuous age must be simply distaste- 
ful or even horrible. To what extent this may be owing to their own 
character it may perhaps be difficult to determine with precision ; yet 
it would seem rash to lay to their charge the special kinds of evil 
dealing of which we read in their great national legends. It is not 
easy to believe that the relations between Sigurd and Gunnar were 
(even rarely) realised in the actual life of the Norwegian or the Ice- 
lander. But whether with the Greek or the Northman, all judgment 
is premature until we have decided whether we are or are not dealing 
with legends which, whether in whole or in part, have sprung from 
the mythical expressions of which the meaning has been more or less 
forgotten. We can ■ draw no inference from the actions of Zeus or 
Herakles as to the character of the Greeks ; we cannot take the fatal 
quarrels of Brynhild, Gunnar, and Sigurd as any evidence of the 
character of the Northman. 

Living in a land of icebound fjords and desolate fells, hearing the Special 
mournful wail of the waving pine-branches, looking on the stern strife f st f c r s a of er " 
of frost and fire, witnessing year by year the death of the short-lived Gre f; k , 
summer, the Northman was inured to sombre if not gloomy thought, 
to the rugged independence of the country as opposed to the artificial 
society of a town. His own sternness was but the reflexion of the 
land in which he lived ; and it was reflected, in its turn, in the tales 
which he told, whether of the heroes or the gods. 1 The Greek, 
dwelling in sunnier regions, where the interchange of summer and 
winter brought with it no feelings of overpowering gloom, exhibited 

' It was reflected most of all in the Religion and Mythology of the Aryans 
terrific pictures drawn of Ragnarok, the of Northern Europe, § 15. But the 
Twilight of the Gods, in which Odin belief of the Norsemen did not stop 
and the ^Esir will be overthrown, and short with this direful ruin. From the 
the fall of the world tree Yggdrasil will dead sun springs a daughter more beau- 
complete the destruction of the earth, tiful than her sire, and mankind starts 
and end the long Aion of the gods of afresh from the Life-raiser and his bride 
Asgard. For an excellent description Life. For this regeneration see Brown, 
of this great catastrophe see Brown, ibid., § 17. 


BOOK m hi s words and songs the happiness which he experienced in him- 
!• self. Caring less, perhaps, to hold communion with the silent 
mountains and the heaving sea, he was drawn to the life of cities, 
where he could share his joys and sorrows with his kinsmen. The 
earth was his mother : the gods who dwelt on Olympos had the like- 
ness of men without their pains or their doom of death. There Zeus 
sat on his golden throne, and beside him was the glorious Apollon, 
not the deified man, 1 but the sun-god invested with a human 
personality. But (with whatever modifications caused by climate 
and circumstances) both were inheritors of a common mythology, 
which with much that was beautiful and good united also much 
that was repulsive and immoral. Both, from the ordinary speech 
of their common forefathers, had framed a. number of legends 
which had their gross and impure aspects, but for the grossness of 
which they were not (as we have seen), and they could not be, 
Fulide- But if the mythology of the Greeks is in substance and in 

mei^ 6 " developement the same as that of the North, they differed widely 
of Greek j n their later history. That of the Greeks passed through the stages 
logy. of growth, maturity, and decay, without any violent external re- 

pression. The mythical language of the earliest age had supplied 
them with an inexhaustible fountain of legendary narrative ; and 
the tales so framed had received an implicit belief, which, though 
intense and unquestioning, could scarcely be called religious, and 
in no sense could be regarded as moral. And just because the 
belief accorded to it was not moral, the time came gradually when 
thoughtful men rose through earnest effort (rather, we would say, 
through Divine guidance) to the conviction of higher and clearer 
truth. If even the Greek of the Heroic age found in his mythology 
neither a rule of life nor the ideal of that Deity whom in his heart 
he really worshipped, still less would this be the case with the poets 
and philosophers of later times. For ^Eschylos Zeus was the mere 
name z of a god whose actions were not those of the son of Kronos ; 
to Sophokles it made no difference whether he were called Zeus or 
by any other name, as long as he might retain the conviction of His 
eternity and His righteousness. 3 If from his own moral perception 

1 The common mythology of the converts Athene 1 into the Kolchian Me- 

whole Aryan race goes against the sup- deia. The latter type, when still further 

position that Apollon and Athene owe degraded, becomes the Latin Canidia, 

their existence to man-worship and a close approximation to the ordinary 

woman- worship respectively. Athene" witch of modern superstition, 
was to the Greek an embodiment of ' Agamemnon, 160. 

moral and intellectual greatness. The a Oid. Tyr., 903. 

absence or deterioration of the former 


Pindar refused to credit charges of gluttony or unnatural crime CHAP, 
against the gods, no violent shock was given to the popular belief; • ^— ' 

and even Sokrates might teach the strictest responsibility of man 
to a perfectly impartial judge, even while he spoke of the mythical 
tribunal of Minos, Rhadamanthys, and Aiakos. 1 He was accused 
indeed of introducing new gods. This charge he denied, and with 
truth : but in no sense whatever was he a worshipper of the Olympian 
Zeus, or of the Phoibos who smote the Pythian dragon. 

As compared with the Greek, the mythology of Northern Europe Arrested 
was arrested almost in its middle growth. After a fierce struggle, Northern 
Christianity was forced upon the reluctant Northmen long before ™^ ho ~ 
poets could rise among them to whom the sensuality or ferocity of 
their mythology would be repulsive or revolting, long before philo- 
sophers could have evolved a body of moral belief, by the side of 
which the popular mythology might continue peacefully to exist. 
By a sudden revolution, Odin and the iEsir, the deitiSs of the North, 
were hurled from their ancient thrones, before the dread Twilight 
of the Gods had come. Henceforth they could only be regarded 
either as men or as devils. The former alternative made Odin a 
descendant of Noah ; 2 by the latter, the celestial hierarchy became 
malignant spirits riding on the storm-cloud and the whirlwind. If 
these gods had sometimes been beneficent before, they were never 
beneficent now. All that was beautiful and good in the older belief 
had been transferred to the Christian ideas of chivalry and saintli- 
ness, which furnished a boundless field and inexhaustible nourish- 
ment for the most exuberant inventive faculty. 8 The demons of 
Hesiod were the spirits of the good who had died the painless 
death of the Golden Age ; but even in heathen times they were 
gradually invested with a malignant character. 4 With Thor and 
Odin the transmutation was more rapid and complete ; and Frigga 
and Freya became beings full of a wisdom and power which they 
used only for evil. The same character passed to those who were, 
or professed to be, their votaries ; and the assumption of an un- 
lawful knowledge paved the way for that persecution of a fictitious 
witchcraft which has stamped an indelible disgrace on mediaeval 
Christendom. 6 

1 Plato, Gorgias, Ixxx. . * Grote, History of Greece, i. 96. 

2 Grote, History of Greece, vol. i. s Lecky, History of the Rise and 
p. 264. Influence of Rationalism in Europe, 

' Grote, History of Greece, vol. i. p. vol. i. ch. i. Some valuable remarks on 

628. M. de Montalembert's History, this subject may be found in Mr. Price's 

Les Moines d 'Occident, is a storehouse preface to Warton's History of English 

of legends belonging to the ideal of Poetry. (P. 57.) It was this idea of a 

saintliness. knowledge gained unlawfully from evil 




thrown on 
both by 
the Vedic 

Stages in 
the growth 
of my- 

So marvellous is that chronicle of heathen mythology, as it lies 
spread out before us in the light of the ancient speech, marvellous 
not only as showing how nations, utterly severed from each other, 
preserved their common inheritance, but as laying bare that early 
condition of thought without which mythology could never have had 
a being. Yet, if it has much to astonish us, it has nothing to 
bewilder or even to perplex, for the simultaneous developement of 
the same myths by countless tribes unknown to each other would 
be a marvel too vast even for the greediest credulity to swallow — 
a standing miracle without purpose and without meaning. To the 
earliest records of Aryan literature is due the discovery that the 
vehement accusations of Christian controversialists and the timid 
explanations of heathen apologists were alike unfounded, 1 that the 
impersonations of the old mythology had no substantial existence, 
and that the mythical narratives which grew up around them were 
not wrought out by a vile and corrupt imagination deliberately 
profaning the deposit of a revealed truth which it was hopeless that 
they should understand To the language of the early Vedic hymns 
we owe our knowledge that the developement of such a mythology 
wias inevitable, and that the phrases of that early speech, when 
their original meaning was once forgotten or misapprehended, would 
give rise to just those coarse, sensual, and immoral images, Irom which 
the purer feeling of later times would instinctively recoil. 

Step by step this analysis of mythology leads us back to what 
would seem to be the earliest condition of the human mind, and 
from that onwards through the mythopceic age to the philosophy 
of historical Greece. On the general character of its course there 
can be no doubt, nor is the question materially affected by the 
hypothesis that a period of pure monotheism intervened between 
the earliest time and that which multiplied the mythical inhabitants 
of Asgard or Olympos. 2 In one sense the supposition may be 
true : in another it might be truer to say that the monotheism so 
attained never died away. It was impossible that any real fetish 
worship could arise while man had not arranged his first conceptions 
with regard to the nature of all material things, or even to his own. 
• If from the consciousness of his own existence he attributed the 

spirits which, far more perhaps than a 
habit of submission to church authority, 
impeded or repressed all researches in 
physical science. Gerbert of Ravenna 
(Sylvester II.) and Roger Bacon alike 
acquired the reputation of dabbling in 
diabolical lore. In the time of Galileo, 
the accusers confined themselves to the 

simple charge of an unlawful use of 
human intellect. 

1 Grote, History of Greece, part i. 
ch. i. p. 15. 

2 Dasent, Norse Tales, introduction, 
p. lxvii. Max Miiller, "Semitic Mono- 
theism ; " Chips from a German Work- 
shop, vol. i. 


same existence to all outward objects, he did so, as we have seen, chap. 

without drawing any distinctions between consciousness j.nd per- ■ '—^ 

sonality. The idea of their divinity in any sense would be an 
inference, not a sensation ; and the analysis of language, which 
shows that all predicative words are the expression of general ideas, 
does not show us that the human mind was immediately exercised 
by any train of connected reasoning. If, however, this earliest state 
was not followed by one which invested outward things with a 
personal life, if in some way men could believe in a malignant yet 
unconscious and nonsentient power residing in stones and rocks, 
there would at once be developed a fetish worship, the most de- 
grading and the most hopeless, which, if expanded at all, could 
issue only in a polytheism of devils. Yet even here some faint 
perceptions might remain of moral qualities, unless we believe that 
the Divine likeness might be wholly blotted out ; but is it possible 
to account for the loathsome earthliness of some forms of heathenism, 
except by the hypothesis that on them the idea of Deity has never 
dawned ? If, however, when gradually awakened, the conscious- 
ness of their own personality might lead others to attribute the 
same personal life to outward objects, the deification of these objects 
or powers would not follow as an immediate or even as a necessary 
consequence. For a long time they might scarcely be conscious 
of the degree to which they personified them ; or they might con- 
tinue to look upon them as beings condemned to the same life 
of toil and trouble with themselves. Such a thought, it is obvious, 
might lead at once to the idea of One (distinct from all that they 
saw or heard), who ordained this life of labour ; and the conviction 
of a supreme God, the Maker of all things, might take possession 
of the mind. 1 But it is not less clear that such a conviction would 
not necessarily affect their ideas as to what they saw in the world ♦ 

around them. The Sun in all his various aspects, the Morning, the 
Evening, and the Night, might become more and more personal, 
even while the belief in a God exalted high above all might con- 
tinue to gain strength. In other words, the foundation of their moral 
belief would at once be distinct from the foundation of their future 
mythology. Still, except to the thoughtful few, the personality of 
the great objects of the natural world would be more and more 

1 This state might also easily pass Hebrew idolatry with that of the reli- 

into Eastern dualism. The develope- gion of Jehovah, see Kalisch, Historical 

ment of the Hellenic mind was more and Critical Commentary on the Old 

wholesome. The prevalence of evil Testament, "Leviticus," part i. ch. 

never led it to regard evil as co-ordinate xxiii. p. 380. 
with good. For the parallel growth of 


BOOK exalted, even while it assumed more and more a strictly human 
' form. The result would be a polytheism of anthropomorphous gods, 
in which the chief divinities would be the heaven and the sun. To 
the former, as covering and shielding all things, would be assigned 
those attributes which almost make us look on the Olympian Zeus 
and the Teutonic Alfadir as faint reflexions of Him who has made 
and loves mankind. But neither for the majesty of Zeus or Odin, 
nor for the unsullied purity of Phoibos Apollon, of Athene, or of 
Artemis, need we look further than to mythical phrases, which spoke 
once of Dyaus, Varuna, or Indra. 

( 47 ) 



If in the legends of any people we find a number of names which CHAP. 

explain themselves, if further the exploits of the gods or heroes who ^r — '■ 

bear these names are in strict accordance with those meanings, then mon ele- 
at once we are warranted in conjecturing that other names in the Aryan my- 
same legends not yet interpreted may be of the same nature, while thol °gy- 
at the same time a basis is furnished for classifying the several 
stories. If further we find that in the traditions of different Aryan 
tribes, or even of the same tribe, the same characters reappear with 
no other difference than that of title and local colouring, the in- 
ference is justified that a search into the mythical stores of all the 
Aryan tribes would disclose the same phenomenon. If here too our 
conjectures are verified, it will be impossible to withstand the con- 
clusion that these tribes must have started from a common centre, 
and that from their ancient home they must have carried away, if not 
the developed myth, yet the quickened germ from which might 
spring leaves and fruits varying in form and hue according to the 
soil to which it should be committed, and the climate under which 
the plant might reach maturity. These variations in the names, it 
may be, of all the actors, as well as in the minor details of their 
career, would prove, in exact proportion to the fidelity with which 
the essential type was preserved, that this germ was furnished by the 
every-day speech of the people, or, in other words, by their way of 
regarding the phenomena of the outward world. If these facts are 
established, two important consequences follow : I. The hypothesis 
of any conscious borrowing or adaptation of myths on a large scale 
by one tribe from another after their separation from the common 
home becomes untenable, unless we assume an amount of intercourse 
between them far in excess of any for which we have the evidence 
of history ; and the clearest proof of direct importation in the case 
of any given story or fable which does not belong to the genuine 
mythology of a people fails to throw any suspicion on the latter. 

4 8 



The Greek 
of itself 
the nature 
of this 

II. The process of analysis and comparison will have deprived these 
legends of all claim to the character of historical traditions ; and 
even if it were maintained in the last resort that the myth as brought 
from the common home grew up from some historical fact or facts, 
still no such title can be made out for the same incidents when we 
find them repeated in the same order and with the same issue in 
different ages and different lands. If in the primaeval home there 
was a war brought about by the carrying off of a beautiful woman, a 
strife between two chieftains, and a time of inaction for the hero of 
the story followed by his signal victory and his early death, then 
unquestionably these incidents, with a hundred others common to 
the background of these legends, did not repeat themselves at Ilion 
and Delphoi, in Ithaka and Norway, in Lykia and Iran. 

This is the goal to which we must be brought if the track be of 
this kind ; and the matter may perhaps be soonest brought to an 
issue if we take the most complicated myths of the Hellenic tribes 
as our starting-point. We can scarcely read the legends of Herakles 
and Demeter, of Theseus, Kadmos, Perseus, and a host of other 
mythical heroes, without feeling that a few simple phrases might well 
have supplied the germ for the most intricate of these traditions. 
Every incident in the myth of the Eleusinian De"met£r may be 
accounted for, if only men once said (with the conviction that the 
things of which they spoke had a conscious life), " The earth mourns 
for the dead summer. The summer lies shut up in the prison of 
Hades, the unseen " — or, as in the language of the Northman, " She 
sleeps in the land of the Niflungs, the cold mists, guarded by the 
serpent Fafnir ; and the dwarf Andvari keeps watch over her buried 
treasures." The tale of Endymion seems to speak for itself; "The 
moon comes to gaze on her beloved, the sun, as he lies down to 
sleep in the evening." In the story of Niobe, we seem to see the 
sun in his scorching power, consuming those who dare to face his 
dazzling brightness ; in that of Orpheus, we seem to hear his lamen- 
tation for the beautiful evening which has been stung by the serpent 
of the night, and which he brings back to life only to lose her at the 
gates of day. In the myth of Eurdpe we have the journey of the 
sun from the far East to the Western land, until Telephassa, the far- 
shining, sinks down wearied on the Thessalian plain. Still more 
transparent appear the tales of Kephalos and Daphne". Prokris, 
even in the mouth of the Greek, is still the child of HersS, the dew : 
Eos is still the morning, Kephalos still the head of the bright sun. 
In Daphne we seem to behold the dawn flying from her lover and 
shrinking before his splendour. In the Homeric Hymn, LSto, the 


night, dark and still as death, promises that Phoibos shall long abide chap. 

in Delos, the bright land. Doubtless she made the same promise to • — X: • 

Lykians, Argives, Arkadians, Athenians, and all others who called 
themselves the children of the light ; but the sun cannot tarry, and in 
spite of her plighted word he hastens onward to slay the serpent of 
darkness. In Herakles we see the sun in other guise, loving and 
beloved wherever he goes, seeking to benefit the sons of men, yet 
sometimes harming them in the exuberance of his boisterous strength. 
In the tale of Althaia we read the sentence that the bright sun must 
die when the torch of day is burnt out. In Phaethon we seem to 
see the plague of drought which made men say, " Surely another, who 
cannot guide the horses, is driving the chariot of the sun.'' The 
beautiful herds, which the bright and glistening daughters of early 
morning feed in the pastures of Thrinakia, seem to tell us of the 
violet-coloured clouds which the dawn spreads over the fields of the 
blue sky. In Bellerophon, as in Perseus, Theseus, Phoibos, and 
Herakles, we find again the burden laid on the sun, who must toil 
for others, although the forms of that toil may vary. Perseus goes 
to the dwelling of the Graiai, as men might have said, " The sun has 
departed to the land of the pale gloaming." When Perseus slays 
Medousa, the sun has killed the night in its solemn and death-like 
beauty, while the wild pursuit of the immortal Gorgons seems to be 
the chase of Darkness after the bright Sun who, with his golden 
sandals, just escapes their grasp as he soars into the peaceful morning 
sky, the Hyperborean gardens, which sorrow, strife, and death can 
never enter. In the death of Akrisios we have the old tale which 
comes up in many another legend, where Oidipous and Theseus 
mourn that they have unwittingly slain their fathers. 

If the Greek legends by themselves thus exhibit, or seem to The Norse 
exhibit, their ancient framework, the Norse tradition points with at J^^^f 7 
the least equal clearness in the same direction. If any now can be precisely 
found to assert that the one set of legends were copied from the direction. 
other, he not only maintains a theory which hangs on a single thread, 1 
but he displays a credulity which needs not to shrink from the 
avowal that the whole of the Arabian Nights' Entertainments is a 
genuine and veracious history. The wildest prejudice can scarcely 
shelter itself behind these treacherous and crumbling barriers, 
although it may urge that, whether in Teutonic or in Greek mytho- 
logy, the dawn, the evening, and the night, the toiling and capricious 
sun are already persons with human forms and a fixed local habitation. 
But even this position would be greatly strained. Mr. Grote himself 
1 Dasent, Popular Tales from the None, introduction, p. xliii. 




book allows that what he terms allegory is one of the constituent elements 

■ ' • of Greek mythology. 1 But even if we admit the objection in its full 

force, we lack but a single link to complete the chain of evidence and 

turn an overwhelming probability into fact Have we any records ol 

that old time in which men spoke as Greek and Norse myths seem 

to tell us that they spoke ? Have we any actual relics of that speech 

in which men talked of Daphng as chased by Phoibos, even while 

Daphne was still a common name of the dawn, and Phoibos meant 

simply the sun ? a 

The mis- The Vedic hymns of the Mantra period stand forth to give us the 

sing link is answer . but they do so only to exhibit a fresh marvel. While they 

the older show to us the speech which was afterwards petrified into the forms 

Vedic • • 

of Greek and Norse mythology, they point to a still earlier time, of 
which no record has come down, and of which we can have no 
further evidence than that which is furnished by the laws which 
determine the growth of language. Even in the Mantra period, the 
earliest in all Sanskrit, and therefore (as exhibiting the earliest form 
of thought) the oldest in all human literature, 8 the whole grammar is 
definitely fixed, and religious belief has assumed the character of a 
creed. And if in this period man has not lived long enough to trace 
analogies and arrive at some idea of an order of nature, he has grown 
into the strongest conviction that behind all the forms which come 
before his eyes there is a Being, unseen and all-powerful, whose 
bidding is done throughout the wide creation, and to whom men may 
draw nigh as children to a father. 
The key to When, therefore, in these hymns, Kephalos, Prokris, Hermes, 
myu\Z an Daphne, Zeus, Ouranos, stand forth as simple names for the sun, the 
logy. dew, the wind, the dawn, the heaven and the sky, each recognised as 

such, yet each endowed with the most perfect consciousness, we feel 
that the great riddle of mythology is solved, and that we no longer 
lack the key which shall disclose its most hidden treasures. When 

1 History of Greece, vol. i. p. 2. of the German faith with the Norse, and 

* It is scarcely necessary to say that the antiquity of the latter, are thereby 

on this evidence of language Grimm vindicated." Thus of the identity of 

lays the greatest possible stress. The their mythic notions and nomenclature 

affinity of the dialects spoken by all " the agreement of the O.H.G. muspilli, 

Teutonic and Scandinavian tribes being O. Sax. mudspelli, with the Eddie mus- 

admitted, we have to consider the fact pell, of the O. H. G. itis, A. Sax. ides, 

of their joint possession of terms relating with the Eddie dts, or of the A. Sax. 

to religious worship. " If," he says, brosinga-mene with the Eddie brtsinga- 

" we are able to produce a word used men, affords perfectly conclusive evi- 

by the Goths in the fourth century, by dence." — Teutonic Mythology, Stally- 

the Alemanni in the eighth, in exactly brass. 

the same form and sense as it continues 3 Max Miiller, History of Sanskrit 

to bear in the Norse authorities of the Literature, pp. 528, 557. 
twelfth or thirteenth century, the affinity 


we hear the people saying, " Our friend the sun is dead Will he CHAP. 

rise ? Will the dawn come back again ? " we see the rfleath of ■ : ■ 

Herakles, and the weary waiting while Leto struggles with the birth 
of Phoibos. When on the return of day we hear the cry — 

" Rise ! our life, our spirit is come back, the darkness is gone, the 
light draws near ! " 

— we are carried at once to the Homeric hymn, and we hear the 
joyous shout of all the gods when Phoibos springs to life and light in 
Delos. 1 The tale of Urvasi and Pururavas 2 (these are still the 
morning and the sun) is the tale of Orpheus and Eurydike. Purii- 
ravas, in his dreary search, hears the voice of Urvasi saying, " I am 
gone like the first of the dawns ; I am hard to be caught, like the 
wind." Yet she will come back to him at the close of the night, and 
a son, bright and beaming, shall be born to them. Varuna is still 
the wide heaven, the god " who can be seen by all," the lord of the 
whole earth : but in him we recognise at once the Greek Ouranos, who 
looks lovingly on Gaia from his throne in the sky. Yet more, we 
read the praises of Indra, and his great exploit is that 

" He has struck the daughter of Dyaus (Zeus), a woman difficult 
to vanquish — 

" Yes, even the daughter of Dyaus, the magnified, the Dawn, thou, 
O Indra, a great hero hast ground to pieces. 8 

" The Dawn rushed off from her crushed car, fearing that Indra, 
the bull, might strike her. 

" This her car lay there, well ground to pieces : she went far 

The treatment is rude, but we have here not merely the whole story 
of Daphne, but the germ of that of Europe borne by the same bull 
across the sea. More commonly, however, the dawn is spoken of as 
bright, fair, and loving, the joy of all who behold her. 

" She shines upon us like a young wife, rousing every living being 
to go to his work. 

" She rose up, spreading far and wide (Euryganeia, Eurydike), and 
moving towards every one. She grew in brightness, wearing her 
brilliant garment. The mother of the cows (the morning clouds, the 

1 4k 8' eBop e vpb </«WBe • flectl 5' character of the Homeric Achilleus ad- 

bK6hv{av iwMrai. heres as closely to the original idea as 

Hymn to A folio, 119. do those of Urvasi and Pururavasin the 

2 In the essay on Comparative My- later poetry of Kalidasa. For the 
thology, Professor Max Miiller has given Semitic expressions of a like feeling 
not only the older forms of this myth, see Brown, Great Dionysiak Myth, i. 
but a minute analysis of the play of 245. 

Xalidasa on this subject. This poem is Gubernatis, Zoological Mythology, 

very instructive, as showing that the i. 13. 


BOOK Homeric herds of the sun), the leader of the days, she shone gold- 

~ coloured, lovely to behold. 

" She, the fortunate, who brings the eye of the god (Kephalos, or 
the one-eyed Odin), who leads the white and lovely steed (of the sun), 
the Dawn was seen revealed by her rays ; with brilliant treasures she 
follows every one. 

" Shine for us with thy best rays, thou bright Dawn, thou who 
lengthenest our life, thou the love of all, who givest us food, who 
givest us wealth in cows, horses, and chariots. 

" Thou, daughter of the sky (Dyaus, Zeus), thou high-born Dawn 
give us riches high and wide." 1 

Still more remarkable, as exhibiting the germs of the ideas which 
find their embodiment in the Hellenic Athene and the Latin Minerva, 
is the following hymn. 

" The wise priests celebrate with hymns the divine, bright-charioted 
expanded Dawn ; worshipped with holy worship, purple-tinted, radiant, 
leading on the sun. 

" The lovely Dawn, arousing man, goes before the Sun, preparing 
practicable paths, riding in a spacious chariot ; expanding everywhere 
she diffuses light at the commencement of the days. 

" Harnessing the purple oxen to her car, unwearied she renders 
riches perpetual ; a goddess praised of many, and cherished by all, 
she shines manifesting the paths that lead to good. 

" Lucidly white is she, occupying the two (regions, the upper and 
middle firmament), and manifesting her person from the East : she 
traverses the path of the sun, as if knowing (his course), and harms 
not the quarters of the horizon. 

"Exhibiting her person like a well-attired female, she stands 
before our eyes (gracefully) inclining like (a woman who has been) 
bathing (Aphrodite' Anadyomen£). Dispersing the hostile glooms, 
Ushas, the daughter of heaven, comes with radiance. 

" Ushas, the daughter of heaven, tending to the West, puts forth 
her beauty like a (well-dressed) woman ; bestowing precious treasures 
on the offerer of adoration, she, ever youthful, brings back the light 
as of old." a 
Germs ai We can but wonder at the marvellous exuberance of language, 

taieV. a hnost every expression of which may manifestly serve as the germ 

of a mythical tale. We say, " The fire burns, the wood crackles and 
smokes." They said, 

" Neighing like a horse that is greedy for food, it steps out from 

1 Max Miiller, History of Sanskrit * H. H. Wilson, Rig Veda Sanhita- 

Literature, p. 551. vol. iii. p. 369. 


the strong prison : then the wind blows after his blast : thy path, O chap. 
Agni (Ignis), is dark at once." «, ■ : • 

The Latin carried with him the name of the Hindu Fire -god to Truthful- 
little purpose. In the hands of the Greek similar phrases on the "hfcal d™ y " 
searching breath of the wind grew up into the legend of Hermes, scription. 
Nor can it be said that the instinct of the Greek was less true than 
that of the old Vedic poet to the sights of the natural world. If we 
recur with feelings of undiminished pleasure to the touching truthful- 
ness of the language which tells of the Dawn as the bright being 
whom age cannot touch, although she makes men old, who thinks on 
the dwellings of men and shines on the small and great, we feel also 
that the " Homeric " poet, even while he spoke of a god in human 
form born in Delos, was not less true to the original character 
of the being of whom he sang. He thought of the sun rising in 
a cloudless heaven, and he told how the nymphs bathed the lord 
of the golden sword in pure water, and wrapped him in a spotless 
robe. 1 Still, although the stress of the hymn lies wholly on the 
promise of Leto that her child shall have his chief home in Delos, 
the poet feels that Delos alone can never be his home, and so he 
sang how Apollon went from island to island, watching the ways and 
works of men ; how he loved the tall sea-cliffs, and every jutting 
headland, and the rivers which hasten to the broad sea, even though 
he came back with ever fresh delight to his native Delos. 2 

Thus the great mystery of Greek as of other mythology is dispelled Ground- 
like mist from the mountain-side at the rising of the sun. All that Aryan My- 
is beautiful in it is invested with a purer radiance, while much, if not thol °gy- 
all, that is gross and coarse in it is refined, or else its grossness is 
traced to an origin which reflects no disgrace on those who framed 
or handed down the tale. Thus, with the keynote ringing in our 
ears, we can catch at once every strain that belongs to the ancient 
harmony, although it may be heard amid the din of many discordant 
voices. The groundwork of Greek mythology was the ordinary 

' ivBa. ae, IjTe SoijSt, 6eaX \oiov SSetTi &K\on p.iv r' 4iti Kvvdov ifficrao 

ko\$ TmnraK6evros, 

Lyuas leal KaBapur avipiair S' iv SAAoTe S' oS vijirovs Te ko! avepas 

<papeX\evK$ fade/cafe- 

\eitTtf vnyareip. • • • • • • 

Hymn to Apollo, 120. irairoi 8* o-Komal tc (ptkcu lea! 

This is the white and glistening irpiioves aicpoi 

robe in which Cyrus and Arthur are l^itXaw^ bpluv, Trorttp.ol 6' &\aSe 

wrapped, when they are carried away irpopeovTes • 

from the house in which they were . . . _ . 

k orn aAAa ff6 AtJAco, $o7£e, /xdAitrr' eirl- 

1 AJtIs 8', ap7«/)(JTo|e, Sra{, e/caTTj- Tepireai fyop. 

Ufa' 'AttoAAo?, ' Hymn to Apollo, 140. 







speech which told of the interchange of day and night, of summer 
- and winter ; but into the superstructure there may have been intro- 
duced any amount of local or personal detail, any number of ideas 
and notions imported from foreign philosophical or religious systems. 
The extent of such importations is probably far less than is generally 
imagined ; but however this may be, the original matter may still be 
traced, even where it exists only in isolated fragments. The robe 
with which Medeia poisons the daughter of Kreon was a gift from 
Helios, the burning sun, and is seen again as the poisoned robe 
which Deianeira sends to the absent Herakles ; as the deadly arrow 
by which Philoktetes mortally wounds the Trojan Paris; as the golden 
fleece taken from the ram which bears away the children of (Nephele) 
the mist; as the sword which Aigeus leaves under the stone for 
Theseus, the son of Aithra, the pure air ; as the spear of Artemis 
which never misses its mark ; as the sword of Perseus which slays all 
on whom it may fall ; as the unerring weapons of Meleagros ; as the 
fatal lance which Achilleus alone can wield. The serpents of night 
or of winter occur in almost every tale, under aspects friendly or 
unkind. The dragon sleeps coiled round Brynhild or Aslauga, as 
the snakes seek to strangle the infant Herakles or sting the beautiful 
EurydikS. If the power of the sun's rays is set forth under such 
different forms, their beauty is signified by the golden locks of 
Phoibos, over which no razor has ever passed ; 1 by the flowing hair 
which streams from the head of Kephalos, and falls over the shoulders 
of Perseus and Bellerophon. They serve also sometimes as a sort 
of Palladion, and the shearing of the single golden lock which grew 
on the top of his head leaves Nisos, the Megarian king, powerless as 
the shorn Samson in the arms of the Philistines. In many of the 
legends these images are mingled together, or recur under modified 
forms. In the tale of Althaia there is not only the torch of day which 
measures the life of Meleagros, but the weapons of the chieftain 
which no enemy may withstand. In that of Bellerophon there are 
the same invincible weapons, while the horrible Chimaira answers 
to the boar of Kalydon, or to that of Erymanthos which fell by the 
arm of Herakles. 

If the greater number of Greek legends have thus been reduced 
to their primitive elements, the touch of the same wand will lay open 
others which may seem to have been fashioned on quite another 
model. Even the dynastic legends of Thebes will not resist the 

1 $ojj8os iKepcreKifyiijs (Iliad, xx. 39), 
a significant epithet, which of itself 
would suffice to give birth to such a 

legend as that of Nisos and Skylla. 
The shearing of the locks of the sun 
must be followed by darkness and ruin. 


method which has disclosed so many secrets. For most other tales chap. 

the work is done. There is absolutely nothing left for further analysis • : • 

in the stories of Orpheus and Eurydike, of Kephalos and Prokris, of 
Selene" and Endymion, Niobe and Leto, D£m£t£r and Persephone, 
Daphne and Apollon. Not an incident remains unexplained in the 
legends of Herakles, of Althaia and the burning brand, of Phaethon, 
Memnon, and Bellerophon. If there are bypaths in the stories of 
AriadnS, EuropS, Medeia, Semele, Prometheus, or of the cows of the 
Sun in the Odyssey, they have been followed up to the point from 
which they all diverge. 

If then in the vast mass of stories which make up the mythology Growth of 
of the Aryan nations there seems to be evidence showing that in traditions, 
some cases the legend has been brought by direct importation from 
the East to the West or from West to East, the presumption of con- 
scious borrowing cannot with any fairness be extended to tales for 
which such evidence is not forthcoming. The great epic poems of 
the Aryan race sprung into existence in the ages which followed the 
dispersion of the tribes, and during which all intercourse between 
them was an impossibility; yet these epic poems exhibit an identical 
framework, with resemblances in detail which even defy the influences 
of climate and scenery. But many of the actors in these great 
dramas reappear in the popular stories of the Aryan tribes, with 
subtle points of likeness and difference, which can be accounted for 
by conscious borrowing only on the supposition that the traditions 
of one country were as intimately known to the people of another 
country as the traditions of many, if not most, of the Aryan nations 
are now known to us through the long toil and vast researches of 
comparative mythologists, aided by the mighty machinery of the 
printing press. In truth, the more that we examine this hypothesis 
of importation as affecting the general stock of mythical tradition 
in any country, the more scanty and less conclusive will the evidence 
appear ; and in the issue we shall find ourselves driven practi- 
cally to reject it altogether, or to suppose that the impulse of 
borrowing amounted to a universal and irresistible mania. The 
dynastic legends of Thebes do but reproduce those of Argos ; the 
legends of both alike do but repeat the career of Achilleus or of 
Sigurd ; and the great heroes of those tales reappear as the Boots 
and the disguised beggar of Teutonic and Hindu folklore. The sup- 
position of any deliberate borrowing attributes to Greeks, Teutons, 
Scandinavians, and Hindus, a poverty of invention not less amazing 
than their skill in destroying the evidence of the theft, and in 
wearing borrowed plumage as with an inborn grace. Unless we are 




not resolv- 
able into 
phrases re- 
lating to 


prepared to say that the borrowing was wholesale, and to determine the 
source of this exhaustless store of wealth, it is more prudent and more 
philosophical to admit that in every country the myths which have their 
roots in phrases relating to physical phenomena have been kept alive 
by independent tradition from the times of the first dispersion. 

But if the story of Achilleus, as told in the Iliad, is only another 
form of the legend which relates the career of the Ithakan chief in 
the Odyssey ; if this tale reappears in the Saga of the Volsungs and 
the Nibelungen Lied, in the epical cycles of Arthur and Charle- 
magne, in the lay of Beowulf and the Shahnameh of Firdusi, and if 
further all these streams of popular poetry can be traced back to a 
common source in phrases which described the sights and sounds of 
the outward world, the resemblances thus traced are nevertheless by 
no means so astonishing as the likeness which runs through a vast 
number of the popular tales of Germany and Scandinavia, of Greece 
and Rome, of Persia and Hindustan. On the hypothesis of a form 
of thought which attributed conscious life to all physical objects, we 
must at once admit that the growth of a vast number of cognate 
legends was inevitable. Nor is there anything bewildering in the 
fact, that phrases which denoted at first the death of the dawn, or 
her desertion by the tun as he rose in the heavens, or the stealing 
away of the evening light by the powers of darkness, should give 
birth to the legends of Helen and Guenevere, of Brynhild and 
Gudrun, of Paris and of Lancelot, of Achilleus and Sigurd. All 
that this theory involves is that certain races of mankind, or certain 
tribes of the same race, were separated from each other while their 
language still invested all sensible things with a personal life, and 
that when the meaning of the old words was either wholly or in part 
forgotten, the phenomena of the earth and the heavens reappeared 
as beings human or divine, and the Pani, or Night, which sought to 
lure Sarama, the Dawn, into his dismal cave, became the Paris who 
beguiled Helen to Troy, and the Lancelot who corrupted the faith 
of the wife of Arthur. 

The wonder becomes greater when from the necessary outgrowth 
of certain conditions of thought and speech we turn to popular 
stories which appear at first sight as if they could not be brought 
within this class of epical legends, and which yet exhibit, in spite of 
differences of detail and local colouring, a closeness of resemblance 
which establishes their substantial identity. If, among the stories 
which Hindu, Persian, Greek, or Teutonic mothers recounted to 
their children, we find tales which turn on the same incidents, and 
in their most delicate touches betray the influence of precisely the 


same feelings, we must conclude either that these legends were chap. 
passed from the one tribe or clan to the other, or that befere these ■ ^ 

tribes separated from their common home they not only possessed 
in mythical phrases relating to physical phenomena the germs of the 
future epics of Europe and Asia, but had framed a number of stories 
which cannot be traced back to such phrases, which seem to point 
rather to a storehouse of moral proverbs, and which cannot be 
accounted for on any hypothesis of conscious borrowing by one 
distinct people from another It would, indeed, be safer to affirm 
of any given story that it has not been thus borrowed than to say 
that it cannot be traced back to the one source from which have 
sprung the great epic poems of the world. 

The story of the Master Thief is a case in point. It looks at first The 


sight as though it had nothing to do with the legends of the great and the 
Norse or Hellenic heroes, and the resemblance of some of its incidents goat- 
to those of a story told in the Hitopadesa suggests the conclusion 
that it found its way into Europe through the Arabic translation 
known as the Kalila and Dinana. Professor Max Muller, plainly 
avowing this belief, says that " the story of the Master Thief is told . 
in the Hitopadesa." l The Sanskrit tale is that of the Brahman who, 
on hearing from three thieves in succession that the goat which he . 
carried on his back was a dog, throws the animal down and leaves it 
as a booty for the rogues who had hit upon this mode of cheating 
him. "The gist of the story," adds Professor Muller, "is that a man 
will believe almost anything, if he is told the same by three different 
people.'' But, while a far greater resemblance to the Egyptian tale 
is exhibited by the Hindu version of the Master Thief as told by 
Somadeva Bhatta, presently to be noticed, it may fairly be asked 
whether this is either the story or the moral of the European " Master 
Thief." In the Teutonic version we find no incidents resembling 
those of the Sanskrit tale. The Norse story exhibits some points of 
likeness, together with differences which rather force us to think that 
it cannot have been suggested by the Eastern fable. 

In the latter the Brahman is directly deceived by others ; in the The 
Norse legend the peasant deceives himself, and the moral seems Thief? 7 
to be, not that a man can be brought to believe anything if he 
hears it asserted by several seemingly independent witnesses, but 
that experience is thrown away on one who will put his hand into 
the fire after he has been burnt. In the Norse tale, the farmer 
intends to drive one of his three oxen to market, and the youth, 
"who is a postulant for the novitiate in the worshipful order of 
1 Chips from a German Workshop, ii. 229. 


BOOK thieves, is told that his desire shall be granted if he can steal this 
- ox on the road, without the owner's knowledge and without doing 
him any harm. The lad accordingly puts a silver-buckled shoe in 
the way. The man admires it, but passes on without picking it up, 
as an odd shoe would be of little use. Presently he sees before 
him the same shoe, which the thief, having run by another way, has 
again cast on the road, and tying up his ox hastens back to pick 
up the fellow, while the lad goes away with the beast. Determined 
to test him further, the fraternity tell the boy that he shall be as 
good as any one of them if, under the same conditions, he can 
steal the second ox, which the man was now driving to market. 
As he goes along, the peasant sees a lad hung under the armpits 
to a tree, but passes on with little concern until he sees as he 
supposes another lad in the same position on another tree. Still 
not caring to give any help, he plods onwards until the thief hangs 
himself up for the third time on his road. The man, thinking 
that he is bewitched, resolves to go back and see whether the 
other two still hang where he saw them, and the ox which he leaves 
tied up is the second sacrifice. The thieves now tell the youth 
that if he can steal the third ox he shall be their master. So 
he places himself in a thicket, and as the man draws near with his 
last beast, imitates the bellowing of cattle; and the peasant, his 
wits even more flustered than before, hurries away to catch the lost 
oxen, leaving his third animal a prey to the thief. 1 At this point the 
resemblance of the Norse to the Brahman story ceases ; but the 
career of the Master Thief is as yet scarcely begun. He has yet to 
overreach the society over which he now presides. The thieves set 
out to see whether they cannot do something surpassing all that he 
had done ; and the lad, taking advantage of their absence to drive 
the three oxen into the road to the great delight of their owner, who 
sees them return to the farm, carries off all the precious things which 
formed the common store of the robbers. Thus far the Norse story 
agrees in its main features with the Scottish tale of the Shifty Lad, a 
although even here the points of difference are so great as to pre- 
clude the idea that the one was derived from the other. The sequel 
of the Norse tale is substantially the same as the Teutonic story of 
the Master Thief. This story has, therefore, really nothing to do 
with the fable of the Brahman and the goat, and it may fairly be 
dot ilited whether, on the supposition that the idea was gained from 
the Hitopadesa, " nothing was easier than to invent the three varia- 

' Dasent, Norse Tales, " The Mas- * Campbell, Popular Tales of the 

ter Thief," 268. West Highlands, vol. i. p. 320. 


tions which we find in the Norse Master Thief" and the Shifty Lad CHAP. 

of Highland tradition. Professor Max Miiller adds that "the case ■ Y"-~ - 

would be different if the same story occurred in Herodotos." 

" At the time of Herodotos." he continues, " the translations of The legend 
the Hitopadesa had not yet reached Europe, and we should be ptimtos?" 
obliged to include the Master Thief within the most primitive stock 
of Aryan lore. But there is nothing in the story of the two sons of 
the architect who robbed the treasury of Rhampsinitos which turns 
on the trick of the Master Thief. There were thieves, more or less 
clever, in Egypt as well as in India, and some of their stratagems 
were possibly the same at all times. But there is a keen and well- 
defined humour in the story of the Brahman and his deference to 
public opinion. Of this there is no trace in the anecdote told by 
Herodotos. That anecdote deals with mere matter of fact, whether 
imaginary or historical. The story of Rhampsinitos did enter into 
the popular literature of Europe, but through a different channel. 
We find it in the " Gesta Romanorum," where Octavianus has taken 
the place of Rhampsinitos, and we can hardly doubt that there it 
came originally from Herodotos." 1 But what are really the facts of 
the case? The evidence which proves that the Herodotean story 
was reproduced in the "Gesta Romanorum" cannot be taken as of 
itself establishing the same origin for the Norse, the Teutonic, and 
the Irish legend. The incident of the Brahman and the goat may 
be left on one side, as only distantly resembling a very subordinate 
part of the Norse version ; but the real story of the Master Thief's 
career is precisely the story of the architect's son in the legend of 
Rhampsinitos. The possible affinity of thievish stratagems in all 
countries can scarcely account for a series of extraordinary incidents 
and astounding tricks following each other in the same order, although 
utterly different in their outward garb and colouring. Strangely 
enough, the Highland version, which agrees with the Norse tale in 
making the young thief cheat his master, agrees most closely with 
the Egyptian myth. 2 In the latter, the younger of the two sons who 

1 Chips from a German Workshop, wealth of Rhampsinitos as amassed by 

ii. 231. extortion if not by direct robbery. Here 

1 The groundwork of the Arabian also one of the brothers is unlucky ; 

Nights' story of the Forty Thieves is but although he is found alive in the 

manifestly the same, but the likeness to cave, the thieves are none the wiser, 

the legend of Rhampsinitos is not as he is immediately killed. Here too 

nearly so close. Here, however, as in the body is nailed up against the wall, 

the Egyptian tale, we have two brothers, but it is within the cave; and it is 

who become possessed of the secret of a taken away by the other brother, who 

treasure-house. The king is replaced is impelled to this task, not by the 

by the forty thieves ; but it may be mother of the dead man, but by his 

noted that Herodotos speaks of the wife. The thieves are not less per- 


BOOK have learnt from their father the secret of entering the treasure-house 

■ ■ ' ' - is caught in a trap, placed there by the king when he found his gold 

and jewels dwindling away. At his own request the elder brother 
cuts off his head, and the king, astounded at finding a headless body, 
bids his guards to impale it on a wall, with strict charge to bring 
before him any one whom they might hear mourning for the dead 
man. The mother, seeing her son's body thus exposed, threatens 
to tell the king everything unless the body is brought safely home 
to her. Loading some asses with skins full of wine, the elder son, 
as he approaches the guard, loosens the string of two or three wine- 
skins, and the soldiers, rushing up at the sight of wine trickling on 
the ground, try to soothe the seemingly distracted owner, while they 
solace themselves by the liquor which they catch in their cups, until 
at length, overcoming the young man's reluctance, they sit down 
with him, and drink themselves to sleep. The dead body is then 
taken away by the brother, who, hearing of the new device by which 
the king proposed to catch him, crowns his exploits by cheating the 
king's daughter, and leaving a dead man's hand in hers. His mar- 
riage with the princess follows, and he is held in honour as the 
cleverest man of the cleverest people in the world. 1 
The story The Hindu version of the story of Rhampsinitos is in every way 

ancf Gata ra mferior to the well-pointed legend of Herodotos. It is related by 
Somadeva Bhatta of Cashmir in his " Ocean of the Streams oi 
Narrative," a professed abridgement of the still older collection called 
the Vrihat Katha. In this tale the elder of the two thieves simply 
makes a hole through the wall (which would at once betray their 
mode of entrance) in order to reach the chamber in which the king 
has placed not only his treasures but his daughter. He remains 
with her too long, and being caught in the morning, is hanged, but 
not before he has by signs bidden his brother Gata to carry off and 
save the princess. Gata therefore on the next night enters the 
chamber of the princess, who readily agrees to fly with him. The 
body of Karpara is then exposed, in order to catch the surviving 
malefactor, who tricks them much after the fashion of the Egyptian 
story, the chief difference being that Gata burns the body of his 

plexed than Rhampsinitos when they the action of lightning. —Curious Myths 

find that the body has been removed, of the Middle Ages, second series, 

and that thus some one else is possessed "Schamir." 

of their secret. The spell which opens The story of Rhampsinitos becomes 

the cave connects the Arabian story in the Seven Wise Masters the tale of 

with the vast mass of legends turning the " Man who threw his father's head 

on substances which have the power of in a muck-heap." 

splitting rocks, and which Mr. Gould ' Herodotos, ii. 121, &c • Tales of 

has resolved into phrases descriptive of Ancient Greece, 385. ' ' 


brother Karpara, for whom he contrives to perform the necessary chap. 
amount of mourning by dashing on the ground a karpara, er pot of '■ • 

rice, and then bewailing his loss by the words, " Alas for my precious 
Karpara," — words which the guards of course apply to the broken 
pipkin, and not to the dead thief The story winds up with a pro- 
clamation from the king, promising half his realm to the magician 
who has done all this : but the princess bids him beware, and Gata 
goes away with her to another country. 1 

The mason's secret is much more closely reproduced in the story The story 
which Pausanias tells of Trophonios and Agamedes, the builders of phonios 
the temple of Phoibos, after he had slain the dragon at Delphoi. an iy^ ga ~ 
These two builders also raise the treasury of Hyrieus, placing one of 
the stones so that they could remove it from the outside. Hyrieus, 
astonished at the lessening of his wealth, sets a snare, in which 
Agamedes is caught, and Trophonios cuts off his head to save him 
from torture and himself from discovery. The latter precaution seems 
unnecessary, since Pausanias adds that the earth opened and received 
Trophonios as in the myth of Amphiaraos. 

In the Scottish story the Shifty Lad goes through his apprentice- The 
ship not among a company of thieves, but under the sole charge of 
the Black Rogue, of whom he rids himself by getting him to try the 
pleasant sensation of being hung by the neck. The trick answers to 
that of the Norse thief, but the mode of effecting it differs widely. 
Having disposed of his master, he engages himself to a carpenter 
whom he persuades to break into the king's storehouse. The advice 
of the Seanagal whom the king consults is that a hogshead of soft 
pitch should be placed near the entrance. The wright, again making 
the venture, sinks into the pitch, and the Shifty Lad, stepping in on 
his shoulders, takes as much as he can carry, and then sweeping off 
his master's head, leaves the body in the hogshead. Again the 
Seanagal is consulted, and his answer is " that they should set the 
trunk aloft on the points of the spears of the soldiers, to be carried 
from town to town, to see if they could find any one at all that would 
take sorrow for it." As they pass by the wright's house, his wife 
screams, but the Shifty Lad cutting himself with an adze leads the 
captain of the guard to think that the cry was caused by sorrow at 

1 See Mr. Cowell's Paper " On the the legends which tell of unsuccessful 

Hindu Version of the Story of Rham- attempts to rescue the imprisoned 

psinitos," in the Journal of Philosophy, maiden, who is finally won only by the 

No. I. p. 66. The imprisonment of the peerless knight or irresistible warrior 

king's daughter in the treasure-chamber who can leap the hedge of spears or 

can scarcely fail to remind us of Bryn- cross the fiery barrier. See also book 

hild within her flaming walls ; and thus ii. ch. viii. sect. 2. 
the myth seems to exhibit an affinity to 


BOOK his own hurt. The body is then by the king's order hung on a tree, 

■ '- • the guard being ordered to seize any one who should venture to take 

it down. The lad, driving before him a horse loaded with two kegs 
of whisky, approaches the soldiers as though he wished to pass them 
stealthily, and when they catch the horse's bridle, he runs off, leaving 
the men to drink themselves to sleep, and then returning takes 
away the wright's body. This exploit is followed by others which 
occur in no other version : but the final scene is a feast, at which, 
according to the Seanagal's prediction, the Shifty Lad asks the king's 
daughter to dance. The Seanagal upon this puts a black mark upon 
him ; but the lad, like Morgiana in the story of " AH Baba and the 
Forty Thieves," discovering the mark, puts another on the Seanagal, 
and on twenty other men besides him. The king is then advised to 
say that the man who had done every trick that had been done must 
be exceedingly clever, and that if he would come forward and give 
himself up, he should have the princess for his wife. All the marked 
men accordingly claim the prize ; and the craft of the Shifty Lad 
is once more called into practice, to secure the maiden for himself. 1 
Mr. Campbell, who relates this story, gives full weight to the sug- 
gestion that the incidents in which it resembles the version of 
Herodotos may "have been spread amongst the people by those 
members of their families who study the classics at the Scotch Uni- 
versities ; " but he adds with good reason, that if the resemblances to 
other stories not classical are to be accounted for in the same way, 
it must be supposed " that these books have all been read at some 
time so widely in Scotland as to have become known to the labouring 
population who speak Gaelic, and so long ago as to have been 
forgotten by the instructed who speak English and study foreign 
languages." 2 
Point and In the Norse and Teutonic versions it seems impossible not to 
these see ^ e most striking incident of the Egyptian tale in a connexion 

stories. an( } under forms which force on us the conclusion that they are not 
related to each other in any other way than by their growth from a 

1 The theft of treasure by a clever huge mill-stone which he places round 

rogue occurs in the story of the Travels his neck, and so keeps watch all night, 

of Dummling, who is Boots under He is assailed by evil demons, but he 

another name. Compare also Grimm's returns every blow with interest — a 

stories of " The Four Accomplished description which reminds us of the 

Brothers," "The Rogue and his Hesiodic narrative of the toil of Hermes 

Master," and of the " Young Giant." the whole night through. The only 

In the latter tale Hermes takes more reward which he asks is the pleasure of 

the form of the Maruts, or Crushers ; kicking his master, who is sent spinning 

and the myth of the Molionids is re- into the air and is never more seen, 
enacted with singular exactness. The 2 Tales of the West Highlands, i. 

young giant brings up from the water a 352. 


common root In these versions the king is represented by a good- chap. 

humoured squire who makes himself merry over the successful ■ : 

devices of the Master Thief, as he accomplishes the several tasks 
imposed upon him. These tasks taken separately are much the 
same in each, but the difference of order indicates that no one was 
regarded at the first as essentially more difficult than another. In 
none of them, however, does the humour of the story turn on the 
force of public opinion. The whole point lies in the utter inability 
of any one to guard against the thief, even when they know that they 
are going to be robbed and have themselves pointed out the object 
to be stolen. Here, as in the stories of Rhampsinitos and the Shifty 
Lad, the means for achieving one of the tasks is wine : but the thief 
has to take away not the dead body of a man, but a living horse, on 
which sits a groom, or, as in the Norse tale, twelve horses, each with 
a rider guarding them. The disguise assumed by the thief is the 
dress of a beggar-woman, and her wine, which in the German story 
is powerfully drugged, soon puts the guards to sleep as soundly as 
the soldiers of the Egyptian king. In this version the thief swings 
the rider, saddle and all, in the air by ropes tied to the rafters of the 
stable ; in the Norse tale, the twelve grooms find themselves astride 
the beams in the morning. The theft of the sheet and ring from 
the persons of the squire and his wife is an incident not found in 
either the Egyptian or the Scottish stories ; but the trick practised on 
the priest occurs again in the Hindu tale of the nautch-girl Champa 
Ranee, under a disguise which cannot hide the common source from 
which the stories have come down to us, while it leaves no room for 
the notion that the one version has been suggested by the other. 

But in truth the supposition is in this case wholly uncalled for. The 
The story of the Master Thief was told in Europe, probably ages mLi™ 
before the Homeric poems were put together, certainly ages before Thief - 
Herodotos heard the story of the Egyptian treasure-house. In all 
the versions of the tale the thief is a young and slender youth, 
despised sometimes for his seeming weakness, never credited with 
his full craft and strength. No power can withhold him from doing 
aught on which he has set his mind : no human eye can trace the 
path by which he conveys away his booty. It is the story of the 
child Hermes, and even under the most uncouth disguise it has lost 
but little either of its truthfulness or its humour. Bolts and bars are 
no defence against him ; yet the babe whom Phoibos can shake in 
his arms is the mighty marauder who has driven off all his oxen from 
Pieria. When his work is done, he looks not much like one who 
needs to be dreaded ; and the soft whistling sound which closes his 


BOOK defence wakes a smile on the face of Phoibos, 1 as the Teutonic squire 
\- laughs on finding himself tricked in the northern story. In each 
case the robber is exalted to the same high dignity. 

"Well, friend," said Apollon with a smile, "thou wilt break into 
many a house, I see, and thy followers after thee ; and thy fancy for 
beef will set many a herdsman grieving. But come down from the 
cradle, or this sleep will be thy last Only this honour can I promise 
thee, to be called the Master Thief for ever." 2 
The origin The thief in the northern stories marries the squire's daughter, as 
° t f the of the architect's son marries the daughter of Rhampsinitos. The 
the Master marriage represents the compact made between Phoibos the all- 
seeing and Hermes the sweet .singer. In this peaceful alliance with 
the squire the Teutonic tale leaves him ; but there are other sides to 
the character of the Master Thief, and each of these describes with 
singular fidelity the action and power of air in motion. He is the 
child breathing softly in the cradle, he is the giant rooting up trees 
in his fury. No living thing can resist the witchery of his harping. 
As he draws nigh, life is wakened where before he came there had 
been stillness as of the dead. With him comes joy or sorrow, health 
or the pestilence. His lyre is the harp of Orpheus, and it discourses 
the music of the Vedic Ribhus, or of the Finnic Wainamoinen, the 
son of Ilmatar, the daughter of theAir, 3 whose singing draws the 
sun and moon from heaven. The beasts of the field come to hear 
him, like the clouds which gather in the sky when the wind blows ; 
the trees move along his track when he comes in his sterner moods. 
Nothing can remain still when he pipes. The leaf must wave on the 
hill-side, the Jew must dance in the thorn-bush, while the music 
lasts. 4 He is the Erlking, whose mysterious harmony is heard by 

1 This is precisely reproduced by one literature into another being se- 
Horace in his well-known ode, with an condary or inorganic. The number of 
incident which is not mentioned in the stories belonging to the latter class is 
Homeric hymn, but is in close agree- probably much smaller than is generally 
ment with the spirit of the Norse tale. supposed. 

— Carm. i. x. 3 As Hermes is one of the fire- 

2 tovto yh.p oZv ical iirsiTa /xer a6a- making or fire-bringing gods, so Wai- 

vdrois yepas ?£eis, nambinen catches the fish that has 

APXOS *HAHTEfiN KeKK^creat swallowed the fire, which, struck by 

ij/iara Trdvra. Ukko, the lord of the air, from the new 

Hymn to Hermes, 292. sun and moon, has fallen into the sea. 

This may, I think, be considered For an examination of the Finnic epic, 

demonstrative evidence that the story see Gubernatis, Zoological Mythology, i. 

of the Master Thief belongs to the class 147, et seq. As the Finnish thunder- 

of myths which Professor Max Miiller god, Ukko has his hammer, like the 

calls organic, as being legends " which Slavonic Perkunos and the Teutonic 

were known to the primeval Aryan Thor. 

race, before it broke up into Hindus, * This story of "The Jew among the 

Greeks, Romans, Germans, and Celts," Thorns," in Grimm's Household Tales, 

all stories imported in later times from is reproduced under » hundred forms ; 


the child nestled in his father's arms. 1 He is the piper of Hameln, 2 chap. 

who drives away the noisome rats, but who also draws the«children ■ ^ — ■ 

of the town happy and joyous to the blue river where they leave all 
griefs behind them, as gently as the Homeric Psychopompos guides 
the souls across the waters of Lethe. But in all his offices he retains 
his character of searching subtlety. The barred gates of the unseen 
land cannot stay the harping breeze, whether he comes as Orpheus 
or Wainamoinen : and his curious searching into every nook and 
cranny, his mocking laugh at those who come to see the mischief 
wrought by him, are reproduced under a strange disguise in Paul 
Pry and Peeping Tom of Coventry. Nay, the Hindu deity Rudra, 
the " bountiful," the " gracious," the " thousand quivered," appears 
sometimes in an aspect scarcely more dignified. Like Hermes and 
the Shifty Lad, he too is " the lord of thieves, the robber, the cheater, 
the deceiver, the lord of pilferers and robbers." 8 

Thus, then, in the story of the Master Thief, the idea of any Limits tc- 
lateral transmission becomes inadmissible. But as this tale in all thesiTof" 
its modifications can be traced back to phrases denoting physical conscious 
phenomena, we have yet to see whether there are other tales which 
apparently cannot be resolved into such expressions, and for which 
the idea of any such borrowing is equally untenable or superfluous. 
If any such stories be forthcoming, we cannot avoid the conclusion 
that before the several branches of the Aryan race separated from 
their common home, they not only had in their language the germs 
of all future mythological systems, but carried with them as nursery 
tales a number of stories not evolved from phrases descriptive of 
natural phenomena, the ideas of which were impressed on their minds 
not less firmly than the more strictly mythical words and phrases 
were impressed on their memories. These stories were, however, 
little more than outlines, for it cannot be too often repeated that even 

but in few or none of these can it be * " Horest du nicht 

maintained with any show of reason Was Erlenkonig mir leise verspricht ? " 
that one has been deliberately adapted Goethe. 

from another. The fiddle which makes 2 The magic pipe or lyre reappears 

the Jew dance is reproduced in the form in the legend of "The Rose of the 

of a stick in "The Lad who went to Alhambra," where it is applied with 

the North Wind " (Dasent, Norse Tales, great humour to cure the mad freak of 

263). The stick is of course the gift Philip V.— Irving's Alhambra. 
of the wind, just as Hermes gives the 3 Muir, Sanskrit Texts, part iv. ch. 

harp to Phoibos. In the German story iii. section vii. Slightly altered, the 

the Jew is made to yield up his purse to story of Godiva in Coventry is told 

the fiddler, who, when brought to trial, again in the tale of Allah-ud-deen, 

excuses himself by a quibble like that who sees through a crevice the king's 

of Hermes. He had not robbed any daughter on her way to the bath, when 

one : the Jew gave the money of his it is death for any one to be seen abroad 

own'free will. Hermes is a very truthful or to be found looking on her. 
person and knows not how to tell a He. 


BOOK in the tales which exhibit the closest likeness in their most developed 
• forms, the points of difference in detail and colouring are so striking 
as to leave no room for doubt that the Aryan tribes carried away with 
them for these stories no rigid types to which they were compelled to 
adhere with Egyptian slavishness, but living ideas which each tribe 
might from time to time clothe in a different garb. How these ideas 
were furnished is a question which it may be by no means as easy to 
answer as it is to resolve the life of Achilleus and Meleagros into the 
daily course of the sun through the heavens. It becomes therefore 
of the utmost importance in such an inquiry as this, to bring together 
and compare the popular traditions of nations whose geographical 
positions show that their parting when they left the common home 
was for them a final separation. No one could have the hardi- 
hood to maintain that the countrymen of Herman had access to the 
pages of Pausanias, or that the soldiers of Varus had in their child- 
hood listened to stories borrowed from the epic of Wainamoinen, 
Yet the children's tales gathered during the last half-century have 
established the general affinity of the folk-lore of Greeks, Romans, 
Germans, and Scandinavians, and a likeness not less astonishing runs 
through the popular tales of these races and those of the Hindu. 1 
In India, as in Germany, old women, who doubtless thought them- 
selves fit for nothing, have preserved to us a series of exquisite 
legends which pour a flood of light on the early history of the human 
mind. The Hindu child is still roused and soothed by the stories 
of the sweet Star-Lady and the lovely Queen of the Five Flowers, 
just as the young German and Norseman used to listen to the tale 
of the beautiful Briar-rose sleeping in death-like stillness until the 
kiss of the pure Knight rouses her from her slumber. We are clearly 
debtors to the old women for the preservation of thousands of lovely 
and touching legends which have never found their way into epic 
poetry. Had it not been for the grandmothers of Hellas, we should 
in all likelihood never have heard of the grief of Demeter, as she 
sank down by the fountain in Eleusis, or of the woe of Telephassa, 
which ended as she sank to rest on the Thessalian plain in the 
evening. Schools in Athens, Thebes, or Argos, doubtless did their 
inevitable destructive work ; but we can as little doubt that many 
an Athenian mother pointed on the slopes of Hymettos to the spot 

» Old Deccan Days a series of tales finitely enhanced if, as the translator 

taken down from the dictation of Anna assures us, they are given precisely as 

Mi,? fL/ -r? Za ' . aD - d translat r ed b y the y ™e from the lips of the narrator, 

Miss *rere. The stories are of great without additions or embellishments 
importance; but their value is inde- "ausnments. 


where the glistening form of Prokris first met the eye of I^ephalos chap. 
as he stepped forth on the shore, and the young Delian learnt to be *— — '■ — -- 
proud of the rugged island, where the nymphs bathed the infant 
Phoibos in pure water and swathed him in broad golden bands. 
Clearly we have to thank old crones for the story of Narkissos who 
died for love of his own fair face, and of Selene' gazing on Endymion 
as he slept on the hill of Latmos. 

Among these Hindu tales we find a large class of stories which Frame- 
have little or nothing in common with the epic poems of the Aryan popular 
nations, but which exhibit a series of incidents in striking parallelism storles - 
with those of the corresponding Teutonic versions. These incidents 
are in themselves so strange, and the result is brought about by turns 
so unexpected, that the idea of their independent developement among 
separated tribes who had carried away with them nothing but some 
proverbial sayings as the groundwork of these stories becomes a wild 
extravagance. Whatever the consequences may be, the conclusion 
seems irresistible that these stories had been wrought out into some 
detail, while these tribes or nations still continued to form a single 
people; and if these tales can scarcely be resolved into phrases 
denoting physical phenomena, they are perhaps more wonderful even 
than the epic poems, the growth of which from common germs would 
be inevitable if the theory of comparative mythologists be regarded 
as established. The resemblances between these stories may perhaps 
bring down the time of separation to a comparatively late period ; 
but the geographical position of Hindu and German tribes must still 
throw that time back to an indefinitely distant past ; and close as the 
parallelism may be, the differences of detail and colouring are such 
that we cannot suppose these Aryan emigrants to have carried away 
with them to their new abodes more than the leading incidents 
grafted on the leading idea. The fidelity with which the Hindu 
and the German tales adhere to this framework is indeed astonishing. 
' One of the most remarkable of these coincidences is furnished by The ; story^ 
the story of the "Dog and the Sparrow," in Grimm's collection, 1 °Ji t e he ° s 
as compared with an episode in the " Wanderings of Vicram Maha- Sparrow, 
raja." In both a bird vows to bring about the ruin of a human 
being ; in both the bird is the helper and avenger of the innocent 
against wanton injury, and in both the destruction of the guilty is the 
result of their own voluntary acts. There are other points of like- 
ness, the significance of which is heightened by points of singularly 
subtle difference. In the German story, the sparrow is offended 

1 For a Russian variant of the " Dog and Sparrow," see, Gubernatis, Zoological 
Mythology, ii. 268. 


BOOK because a carter, not heeding the warning which she had given him, 
L drove his waggon over a dog which she had saved from starving. 

" You have killed my brother, the dog," she said, " and that shall 
cost you your horses and your cart." 

" Horses and cart, indeed," said the carrier. " What harm can 
you do to me ? " and he drove on. 

But presently the sparrow contrived to force out the cork from 
the bunghole of one of the casks in the waggon, and all the wine ran 
out on the ground. " Ah me ! I am a poor man now," cried the 
carter, when he saw it. " Not poor enough yet," said the sparrow, 
as she perched on the head of one of the horses, and picked out his 
eye. The carter in his rage took up his hatchet to kill the bird, but 
instead of it, he hit his horse, which fell down dead. So it fared 
with the second cask and the two remaining horses. Leaving his 
waggon on the road, the carter found his way home, and bemoaned 
to his wife the loss of his wine and his beasts. 

"Ah my husband," she replied, "and what a wicked bird has 
come to this house ; she has brought with her all the birds in the 
world, and there they sit among our corn, and are eating every ear 
of it." 

" Ah me, I am poorer than ever," said the man, as he beheld the 
havoc. " Still not poor enough, carrier ; it shall cost you your life," 
said the bird as she flew away. By and by the sparrow appeared at 
the window-sill, and uttered the same words, and the carrier, hurling 
his axe at it, broke the window-frame in two. Every other piece of 
furniture in the house was demolished as he vainly attempted to hit 
the bird. At length he caught her, and his wife asked if she should 
kill her. 

" No," said he, " that were too merciful ; she shall die much more 
horribly, for I will eat her alive." So saying, he swallowed her 
whole ; but she began to flutter about in his stomach, and presently 
came again into his mouth, and cried out, " Carrier, it shall cost you 
your life." 

Thereupon the man handed the axe to his wife, saying, " Kill me 
the wretch dead in my mouth." His wife took it, and aimed a blow, 
but missing her mark struck her husband on the head and killed him. 
Then the sparrow flew away and was never seen there again. 1 

1 This last incident is clearly the head with the axe. This story from 

same as that which brings about the the Panchatantra Professor Max Miiller 

death of the bald carpenter, who being (Chips, &°c, ii. 232) identifies with the 

attacked by a mosquito called his son fable in Phaadrus, of the bald man who, 

to drive it away. The son aiming a trying to kill a gnat, gives himself a 

blow at the insect, splits his father's severe blow in the face, and he attri- 


In the Hindu story the bird is a parrot, and the dog's place is CHAP, 
taken by a poor woodcutter, from whom a dancing-girl attempts to • — ^- — • 
extort a large sum of money by deliberate falsehood. The girl thus ofthe tory 
represents the carter, and at once the framework of the tale is provided; ^ ] u ^" 
but the method by which the sparrow wreaks her vengeance on the man the Parrot, 
is thoroughly awkward and unartistic when compared with the simple 
scheme which brings about the ruin of the nautch-woman. She, like 
the carrier, is rich ; but she cannot resist the temptation of making 
more money by charging the woodcutter with the dowry which she 
said that he had promised to pay on marrying her, the promise and 
the marriage being alike purely imaginary. The raja, being called 
to give judgement in the case, determines to abide by the decision of 
a parrot famed for his wisdom, and belonging to a merchant in the 
town. When the woodcutter had given his version of the matter, 
the parrot bade Champa Ranee, the nautch-girl, tell her story. After 
hearing it, he asked where the house was to which her husband had 
taken her. " Far away in the jungles," was the reply. "And how 
long ago ? " The day was named, and twenty witnesses proved that 
Champa was at the time in the city. The parrot then gave judge- 
ment for the woodcutter against the nautch-girl, as the sparrow had 
befriended the dog against the carter. Great was the praise bestowed 
on the wise parrot, but the incensed nautch-girl said, " Be assured 
I will get you in my power, and when I do, I will bite off your head." 

Then follows the vow of the parrot, answering to the oath of the 
sparrow ; but he has no need to repeat it. 

"Try your worst, madam," said he, "but in return I tell you 
this ; I will live to make you a beggar. Your house shall be by your 
own orders laid even with the ground, and you for grief and rage shall 
kill yourself." 

Time goes on, and the nautch-girl, summoned to the merchant's 
house, dances so well that he asks her to name her own reward ; and 
the price which she demands is the parrot, Taking the bird home, 
she ordered her servants to cook it for her supper, first cutting off its 
head and bringing it to be grilled, that she might eat it before tasting 
any other dish. The parrot is accordingly plucked, but while the 
servant goes to fetch water wherein to boil him, the bird, who had 
pretended to be dead and thus escaped having his neck wrung, slipped 
into a hole let into the wall for carrying off the kitchen sewage. In 
this dilemma the maid grilled a chicken's head, and placed it before 
Champa Ranee, who, as she eat it, said — 

butes it, therefore, to some old Aryan carter has certainly all the appearance 
proverb. The German story of the of a more independent growth. 


book "Ah ! pretty Polly, so here is the end of you. This is the brain 

_£: that thought so cunningly and devised my overthrow; this the tongue' 

that spoke against me; this is the throat through which came the 
threatening words. Ha ! ha ! who is right now, I wonder ? " 

With some little fear the parrot heard her words, for the loss of 
his wing feathers had left him unable to fly ; but at length he con- 
trived to find his way to a neighbouring temple, and to perch behind 
the idol. It was the favourite god of Champa Ranee, who, in her 
abject fear of death, had long besought him to translate her to 
heaven without the process of dying. So when she next came to 
offer her wonted supplication, the parrot spoke, and the nautch-girl 
at once took its words for the utterances of the god. 

" Champa Ranee, nautch-girl, your prayer is heard, this is what 
you must do ; sell all you possess, and give the money to the poor, 
and you must also give money to all your servants and dismiss them. 
Level also your house to the ground, that you may be wholly 
separated from earth. Then you will be fit for heaven, and you may 
come, having done all I command you, on this day week to this 
place, and you shall be transported thither body and soul." 1 

The infatuated woman does as she is bidden, and after destroying 
her house and giving away all her goods, she returns to the temple, 
attended by a vast train of men and women whom she had invited 
to be witnesses of her glorification. 

1 This incident recurs in the Norse you in a sack ; and all your gold and 
version of the Master Thief. Here, your silver and all that you have of 
however, there is no real bird, but only this world's goods you must lay together 
the thief disguised as a bird, nor are in a heap in your dining-room. ' Well, 
the victims of the trick actually killed. Father Lawrence fell on his knees be- 
but they are grievously mauled, and fore the angel and thanked him; and 
are robbed as effectually as the nautch- the very next day he preached a. fare- 
girl. What is more to the point is, that well sermon and gave it out how there 
the property is in each case abandoned had come down an angel into the big 
by an act of their own'free will. Having maple in his garden, who had told him 
undertaken to cheat the priest and his that he was to be taken up alive into 
clerk, the thief "dressed himself up heaven for his piety's sake, and he 
like a bird, threw a great white sheet preached and made such a touching dis- 
over his body, took the wings of a course that all who were at church wept, 
goose and tied them to his back, and both young and old." — Dasent, Norse 
so climbed up into a great maple which Tales, "Master Thief." Here, as in 
stood in the priest's garden, and when the Hindu story, the time is fixed, and 
the priest came home in the evening the farewell sermon answers to the in- 
the 1 youth began to bawl out, ' Father vitations sent out by Champa Ranee to 
Lawrence, Father Lawrence, ' — for that all her friends that they should come 
was the priest's name. ' Who is that and witness her ascension. Another 
calling me?' said the priest. ' I am an priest is deceived in the admirable 
angel,' said the Master Thief, 'sent Gaelic story of the " Son of the Scottish 
from God to let you know that you Yeoman who stole the Bishop's Horse 
shall be taken up alive into heaven for and Daughter, and the Bishop Himself." 
your piety's sake. Next Monday night See also Mr. Campbell's excellent re- 
you must hold yourself ready for the marks on this story, Tales of the West 
journey, for I shall come then to fetch Highlands, ii. 263. 


As they waited, a fluttering of little wings was heard, and a parrot chap. 

flew over Champa Ranee's head, calling out, " Nautch-girl, nautch- ■ : — • 

girl, what have you done ? " Champa Ranee recognised the voice as 
Vicram's : he went on, " Will you go body and soul to heaven ? 
Have you forgotten Polly's words ? " 

Champa Ranee rushed into the temple, and falling on her knees 
before the idol, cried out, " Gracious Power, I have done all as you 
commanded ; let your words come true ; save me, take me to heaven." 

But the parrot above her cried, "Good-bye, Champa Ranee, 
good-bye ; you ate a chicken's head, not mine. Where is your house 
now ? Where are your servants and all your possessions ? Have 
my words come true, think you, or yours ? " 

Then the woman saw all, and in her rage and despair, cursing her 
own folly, she fell violently down on the floor of the temple, and, 
dashing her head against the stone, killed herself. 1 

It is impossible to question the real identity of these two stories, Origin 
and incredible that the one could have been invented apart from the of these W 
other, or that the German and the Hindu tale are respectively stor 'es. 
developements merely from the same leading idea. This idea is that 
beings of no repute may be avengers of successful wrongdoers, or to 
put it in the language of St. Paul, that the weak things of the earth 
may be chosen to confound the strong, and foolish things to confound 
the wise. But it was impossible that this leading idea should of 
itself suggest to a Hindu and a Teuton that the avenger should be a 
bird, that the wrongdoer should punish himself, and should seal his 
doom by swallowing his persecutor or by at least thinking that he 
was devouring him. There is no room here for the argument which 
Professor Max Miiller characterises as sneaking when applied even 
to fables which are common to all the members of the Aryan family. 2 
A series of incidents such as these could never have been thought 
out by two brains working apart from each other ; and we are driven 
to admit that at least the machinery by which the result was to be 
brought about had been devised before the separation, or to main- 
tain that the story has in the one case or in the other been imported 
bodily. Probably no instance could be adduced m which a bor- 
rowed story diners so widely from the original. In all cases of 
adaptation the borrower either improves upon the idea or weakens 
it. Here both the stories exhibit equally clear tokens of vigorous 
and independent growth. 8 

1 Frere, Old Dcccan Days, p. 127. ' It is scarcely an exaggeration to 

1 Chips from a German Workshop, say that there is scarcely one important 

ii. 233. feature of the Hindu popular stories 




and Her- 

But the story of the nautch-girl is only one incident in a larger 
drama. The bird of the German tale is a common sparrow ; the 
<rf h Vioram S parrot which brings about the death of Champa Ranee is nothing 
less than the Maharaja Vicram, who has received from the god of 
wisdom the power of transporting his soul into any other body, while 
by an antidote he keeps his own body from corruption. And here 
we are brought to a parallelism which cannot be accounted for on 
any theory of mediaeval importation. The story of Vicram is essen- 
tially the story of Hermotimos of Klazomenai, whose soul wanders at 
will through space, while his body remains undecayed at home, until 
his wife, tired out by his repeated desertions, burns his body while 
he is away, and thus effectually prevents his resuming his proper 
form. A popular Deccan tale, which is also told by Pliny and 
Lucian, must have existed, if only in a rudimentary state, while 
Greeks and Hindus still lived as a single people. But a genuine 
humour, of which we have little more than a faint germ in the Greek 
legend, runs through the Hindu story. In both the wife is vexed by 
the frequent absence of her husband : but the real fun of the Deccan 

which are not to be found in those of 
Germany and Scandinavia, and which 
are not repeated in Celtic traditions. 
In each case the story is the same, yet 
not the same, and the main question 
becomes one rather of historical than of 
philological evidence. The substantial 
identity of the tales is indisputable ; 
and if the fact be that these stories 
were in the possession of Germans and 
Norwegians, Irishmen and Scottish 
Highlanders, long before any systematic 
attempt was made to commit to writing 
and publish the folklore of Europe, the 
further conclusion is also involved that 
these stories do not owe their diffusion 
to book-learning ; and assuredly the 
commercial intercourse which would ac- 
count for them implies an amount and 
a frequency of communication beyond 
that of the most stirring and enter- 
prising nations of the present day. Mr. 
Campbell, in his invaluable collection 
of Popular Tales of the West High- 
lands, dismisses the hypothesis as 
wholly untenable. Of the notion that 
these Highland traditions may have 
sprung up since the publication of 
Grimm's and Dasent's collections of 
German and Norse tales, he asserts 
that a manuscript lent to him by the 
translator proves that the stories were 
known in Scotland before these transla- 
tions were made public (vol. i. p. xlvi. ), 
and adds, reasonably enough, that 

" when all the narrators agree in saying 
that they have known these stories all 
their lives, and when the variation is so 
marked, the resemblance is rather to be 
attributed to common origin than to 
books" (ib. xlviii.). More definitely he 
asserts, " After working for a year and 
weighing all the evidence that has come 
in my way, I have come to agree with 
those who hold that popular tales are 
generally pure traditions " (ib. 227). 
The care with which he has examined 
the large bodies of Celtic traditions, 
gives his judgement the greatest weight, 
and fully justifies his conclusion that 
" popular tales are woven together in a 
network which seems to pervade the 
world, and to be fastened to everything 
in it. Tradition, books, history, and 
mythology hang together; no sooner 
has the net been freed from one snag, 
and a mesh gained, than another mesh 
is discovered ; and so, unless many 
hands combine, the net and the con- 
tents will never be brought to shore " 
(ib. 229). It is not a little startling to 
find that the so-called classical mytho- 
logy of the Greeks, in which the myth 
of Psyche" was supposed to be almost 
the only popular tale accidentally pre- 
served to us, contains the germs, and 
more than the germs, of nearly every 
story in the popular traditions of Ger- 
many, Norway, India, and Scotland. 


tale rises from the complications produced by the carpenter's son, chap. 

who overhears the god Gunputti as he teaches Vicram th# mystic ■ '■ ' 

words which enable him to pass from his own body into another ; 
but as he could not see the antidote which Vicram received to keep 
his tenantless body -from decay, the carpenter's son was but half 
enlightened. No sooner, however, had Vicram transferred his soul 
to the parrot's body, than the carpenter's son entered the body of 
Vicram, and the work of corruption began in his own. The pseudo- 
raja is at once detected by the Wuzeer Butti, who stands to Vicram 
in the relation of Patroklos to Achilleus, or of Theseus to Peirithoos, 
and who recommends the whole court to show a cold shoulder to the 
impostor, and make his sojourn in Vicram's body as unpleasant as 
possible. Worn out at last with waiting, Butti sets off to search for 
his friend, and by good luck is one of the throng assembled to 
witness the ascension of Champa Ranee. Butti recognises his friend, 
and at once puts him into safe keeping in a cage. On reaching 
home it became necessary to get the carpenter's son out of Vicram's 
body, and the Wuzeer, foreseeing that this would be no easy task, 
proposes a butting match between two rams, the one belonging to 
himself, the other to the pseudo-raja. Butti accordingly submits his 
own ram to a training, which greatly hardens his horns; and so 
when the fight began, the pretended raja, seeing to his vexation 
that his favourite was getting the worst in the battle, transported his 
soul into the ram's body, to add to its strength and resolution. No 
sooner was this done, than Vicram left the parrot's body and re- 
entered his own, and Butti, slaying the defeated ram, put an end to 
the life of the carpenter's son, by leaving him no body in which to 
take up his abode. But fresh troubles were in store for Butti ; and 
these troubles take us back to the legends of Brynhild and Perse- 
phone, of Tammuz (Athamas), Adonis, and Osiris. Not yet cured 
of his wandering propensities, Vicram goes to sleep in a jungle with 
his mouth open, into which creeps a cobra who refuses to be dis- 
lodged — the deadly snake of winter and darkness, which stings the 
beautiful Eurydike, and lies coiled around the maiden on the glisten- 
ing heath. The raja, in his intolerable misery, leaves his home, just 
as Persephone is taken away from Demeter, and Butti seeks him in 
vain for twelve years (the ten years of the struggle at Ilion), as he 
roams in the disguise of a fakeer. Meanwhile, the beautiful Buc- 
coulee who had recognised her destined husband under his squalid 
rags as Eurykleia recognises Odysseus, had succeeded in freeing 
Vicram from his tormentor, and thus all three returned to the long 
forsaken Anar Ranee. But before we examine incidents which take 


BOOK us into the more strictly mythical regions of Aryan folk-lore, it is 

• ~ • necessary to show how large is that class of stories to which the tale 

of the Dancing Girl and the Woodcutter belongs. There are some 
which are even more remarkable for their agreement in the general 
scheme with thorough divergence in detail. 
The Table, In the story entitled " The Table, the Ass, and the Stick," in 

the Ass 

and the' Grimm's collection, a goat, whose appetite cannot be satisfied, brings 
Stick - a tailor into grievous trouble by leading him to drive his three sons 
away from their home on groundless charges. At last, finding that 
he had been cheated, he scourges the goat, which makes the best of 
its way from his dwelling. Meanwhile, the three sons had each been 
learning a trade, and each received his reward. To the eldest son 
was given a table, which at the words " Cover thyself," at once pre- 
sented a magnificent banquet ; the second received a donkey, which 
on hearing the word " Bricklebrit " rained down gold pieces, 1 and 
both were deprived pf their gifts by a thievish innkeeper, to whom 
they had in succession revealed their secret. On reaching home, 
the eldest son, boasting to his father of his inexhaustible table, was 
discomfited by finding that some common table had been put in its 
place ; and the second in like manner, in making trial of his ass, 
found himself in possession of a very ordinary donkey. But the 
youngest son had not yet returned, and to him they sent word of the 
scurvy behaviour of the innkeeper. When the time of the third son's 
departure came, his master gave him a sack, adding, " In it there lies 
a stick." The young man took the sack as a thing that might do him 
good service, but asked why he should take the stick, as it only made 

1 This donkey is, in fact, Midas, at they grant to her the power of becoming 

whose touch everything turns to gold — more beautiful every day, and that a 

a myth which reappears in the Irish piece of gold shall fall out of her mouth 

tradition of Lavra Loingsech, who had every word that she speaks. But she 

horse's ears, as Midas had those of an has a step-sister, the winter, who, not 

ass. The reeds betrayed the secret in having her kindly feelings, refuses to 

the case of Midas ; the barber of Lavra share her bread with the dwarfs, who 

whispered the secret in the Irish story decree that she shall grow more ugly 

to a willow ; the willow was cut down every day, and that toads shall spring 

and the harp made of the wood mur- from her mouth whenever she speaks, 

mured "Lavra Loingsech has horse's This is the story of "Bushy Bride" 

ears." (Fergusson, The Irish before the in Dasent's' Norse Tales. The dawn- 

Conquest.) The horse and the ass children reappear in the story of Hansel 

doubtless represent the Harits of Hindu and Grethel, who, wandering into the 

mythology ; the production of gold (the forest (of night or winter), come upon 

golden light) by the sun or the dawn a house with windows made of clear 

recurs again and again in Aryan legends. sugar (ice), where they fall into the 

In Grimm's story of the "Three Little power of a witch (Hades), who, like 

Men in the Wood," the kindly dawn- the dwarfs, guards the hoard of treasure, 

child shares her bread with the dwarfs, The old witch is destroyed by Grethel 

who, as in the Volsung tale, guard the after the fashion of the cannibal in the 

treasures of the earth, and in return Zulu tale. (Max Muller, Chips, ii. 214.) 


the sack heavier to carry. The stick, however, was endowed with CHAP. 

the power of jumping out of the sack and belabouring any one • - ■ 

against whom its owner had a grudge. Thus armed, the youth went 
cheerfully to the house of the innkeeper, who, thinking that the sack 
must certainly contain treasure, tried to take it from the young man's 
pillow while he slept. But he had reckoned without his host. The 
stick hears the fatal word, and at once falls without mercy on the 
thief, who roars out that he will surrender the table and the ass. 
Thus the three gifts reach the tailor's house. 1 As for the goat, 
whose head the tailor had shaven, it ran into a fox's house, where 
a bee stung its bald pate, and it rushed out, never to be heard of 

In the Deccan tale we have a jackal and a barber in the place of The 
the goat and the tailor : and the mischief is done, not by leading the the j ac i ia i > 
barber to expel his children, but by cheating him of the fruits of his ?, n< y he 
garden. The parallel, however, is not confined to the fact of the 
false pretences ; the barber retaliates, like the tailor, and inflicts a 
severe wound on the jackal. As before, in the German story, the 
goat is a goat; but the jackal is a transformed raja, none other in 
short than the Beast who is wedded to Beauty and the monster who 
becomes the husband of Psyche, and thus even this story lies within 
the magic circle of strictly mythical tradition. But before he wins his 
bride, the jackal-raja is reduced to sore straits, and his adventures 
give occasion for some sharp satire on Hindu popular theology. 
Coming across a bullock's carcass, the jackal eats his way into it, 
while the sun so contracts the hide that the jackal finds himself unable 
to get out Fearing to be killed if discovered, or to be buried alive if 
he escaped notice, the jackal, on the approach of the scavengers, 
cries out, "Take care,, good people, how you touch me, for I am a 
great saint." The mahars in terror ask him who he is, and what he 
wants. " I," answered the jackal, " am a very holy saint. I am also 
the god of your village, and I am very angry with you, because you 
never worship me nor bring me offerings." " O my lord," they cried, 
"what offerings will please you ? Tell us only, and we will bring you 
whatever you like." " Good," said the jackal ; " then you must fetch 
hither plenty of rice, plenty of flowers, and a nice fat chicken : place 
them as an offering beside me, and pour a great deal of water over 
them, as you do at your most solemn feasts, and then I will forgive 
you your sins." The wetting, of course, splits the dry bullock's skin, 
and the jackal, jumping out, runs with the chicken in his mouth to 

1 The Norse story of " The Lad who went to the North Wind " turns on the 
same machinery. 


BOOK the jungle. When again he was nearly starved, he heard a Brahman 
*• bewailing his property, and declaring that if a dog or a jackal were to 
offer to marry one of his daughters, he should have her — an eagerness 
in complete contrast with the reluctance of the merchant who is 
obliged to surrender his child to the beast The jackal takes him at 
his word, and leads his wife away to a splendid subterranean palace, 
where she finds that each night the jackal lays aside his skin, and 
becomes a beautiful young man. Soon the Brahman comes to the 
jackal's cave to see how his child gets on; but just as he is about to 
enter, the jackal stops him, and, learning his wants, gives him a 
melon, the seeds of which will bring him some money. A neighbour, 
admiring the fruit produced from these seeds, buys some from the 
Brahman's wife, and finding that they are full of diamonds, pearls, 
and rubies, purchases the whole stock, until the Brahman himself 
opens a small withered melon, and learns how he has been over 
reached. In vain he asks restitution from the woman who has 
bought them ; she knows nothing of any miraculous melons, and a 
jeweller to whom he takes the jewels from the withered melon, 
accuses him of having stolen the gems from his shop, and impounds 
them all. Again the Brahman betakes himself to the jackal, who, 
seeing the uselessness of giving him gold or jewels, brings him out a 
jar which is always full of good things. 1 The Brahman now lived in 
luxury ; but another Brahman informed the raja of the royal style in 
which his once poorer neighbour feasted, and the raja appropriated 
the jar for his own special use. When once again he carried this 
story of his wrongs to his son-in-law, the jackal gave him another jar, 
within which was a rope and a stick, which would perform their work 
of chastisement as soon as the jar was opened. Uncovering the jar 
while he was alone, the Brahman had cause to repent his rashness, 
for every bone in his body was left aching. With this personal ex- 
perience of the powers of the stick, the Brahman generously invited 
the raja and his brother Brahman to come and test the virtues of his 
new gift ; and a belabouring as hearty as that which the wicked inn- 
keeper received in the German tale made them yield up the dinner- 
making jar. The same wholesome measure led to the recovery of 
the precious stones from the jeweller, and the melons from the 
woman who had bought them. It only remained now, by burning 

1 This jar is, of course, the horn of serves as the source of life and wealth 

Amaltheia, the napkin of Rhydderch, will be more fitly examined when we 

the never-failmg table of the Ethiopians, come to analyse the myth of the divine 

the cup of the Malee's wife in the ship Argo. See the section -on the 

.Hindu legend ; but the countless forms Vivifying Sun, Book ii. 
assumed by the mysterious vessel which 

wish. 77 

the enchanted raja's jackal-skin, the lion-skin of HeraklSs, to trans- CHAP. 

form him permanently into the most splendid prince eve» seen on • : 

earth. 1 • 

The independent growth of these tales from a common framework The Lad 
is still more conclusively proved by the fact that the agreement of the t0 t h e 
Norse with the Hindu legend is far more close and striking than the ^nd* 
likeness which it bears to the German story. In the Norse version 
we have not three brothers, but one lad, who represents the Brah- 
man ; and in the Norse and Hindu stories alike, the being who does 
the wrong is the one who bestows the three mysterious gifts. The 
goat in the German version is simply mischievous : in the Norse tale, 
the North Wind, which blows away the poor woman's meal, bestows 
on her son the banquet-making cloth, the money-coining ram, and 
the magic stick. 2 The jackal and the cloth are thus alike endowed 
with the mysterious power of the Teutonic Wish. 8 This power is ex- 
hibited under a thousand forms, among which cups, horns, jars, and 
basins hold the most conspicuous place, and point to the earliest 
symbol used for the expression of the idea. 

The points of likeness and difference between the Hindu story of Thestor? 
Punchkin and the Norse tale of the " Giant who had no Heart in his ?? Punch- 
Body" are perhaps still more striking. In the former a rajah has 
seven daughters, whose mother dies while they are still children, and 
a stepmother so persecutes them that they make their escape. In 
the jungle they are found by the seven sons of a neighbouring king, 
who are hunting ; and each takes one of the princesses as a wife, the 
handsomest of course marrying the youngest After a brief time of 
happiness, the eldest prince sets off on a journey, and does not return. 
His six brothers follow him, and are seen no more. After this, as 
Balna, the youngest princess, rocks her babe in his cradle, a fakeer 
makes his appearance, and having vainly asked her to marry him, 
transforms her into a dog, and leads her away. As he grows older, 
Balna's son learns how his parents and uncles have disappeared, and 
resolves to go in search of them. His aunts beseech him not to do 

1 In the mythology of Northern terbuch, s.v. ) to point to mulgeo, mulceo, 

Europe the lion-skin becomes a bear- and thus to denote the wizard or the 

sack, and thus, according to the story sorcerer. The story of his remaining 

of Porphyry, Zalmoxis, the mythical hidden for years in a cave, and then 

legislator of the Getai, was a Berserk, reappearing among the Getai, is a. 

as having been clothed in a bearskin as variant of the myths of Persephone - , 

soon as he was born. Probably the Adonis, Baldur, Osiris, and other deities 

explanation is about as trustworthy as of the waxing and waning year, 
that which traces the name Tritogeneia 2 Dasent, Tales from the Norse, xciv.. 

to a Cretan word trito, meaning head. cxli. 266. 

The other form of the name, Zamolxis, 8 Tylor, Primitive Culture, i. 327.. 

has been supposed (Nork, Real-Wbr- 


BOOK so ; but the youth feels sure that he will bring them all back, and at 
• length he finds his way to the house of a gardener, whose wife, on 
hearing his story, tells him that hi* father and uncles have all been 
turned into stone by the great magician Punchkin, who keeps Balna 
herself imprisoned in a high tower because she will not marry him. 
To aid him in his task, the gardener's wife disguises him in her 
daughter's dress, and gives him a basket of flowers as a present for 
the captive princess. Thus arrayed, the youth is admitted to her 
presence, and while none are looking, he makes himself known to his 
mother by means of a ring which she had left on his finger before the 
sorcerer stole her away. But the rescue of the seven princes seemed 
to be as far off as ever, and the young man suggests that Balna 
should now change her tactics, and by playing the part of Delilah to 
Samson, find out where his power lies, and whether he is subject to 
death. The device is successful, and the sorcerer betrays the secret. 

" Far away, far away, hundreds of thousands of miles away from 
this, there lies a desolate country covered with thick jungle. In the 
midst of the jungle grows a circle of palm trees, and in the centre of 
the jungle stand six jars full of water, piled one above another ; below 
the sixth jar is a small cage which contains a little green parrot ; on 
the life of the parrot depends my life, and if the parrot is killed I 
must die." 1 

But this keep is guarded by myriads of evil demons, and Balna 
tries hard to dissuade her son from the venture. He is resolute, and 
he finds true helpers in some eagles whose young he saves by killing 
a large serpent which was making its way to their nest. The parent 
birds give him their young to be his servants, and the eaglets, crossing 
their wings, bear him through the air to the spot where the six water 
jars are standing. In an instant he upsets the jar, and snatching the 
parrot from his cage, rolls him op in his cloak. The magician in his 
dismay at seeing the parrot in the youth's hands yields to every de- 
mand made by him, and not only the seven princes but all his other 
victims are restored to life — a magnificent array of kings, courtiers, 
officers, and servants. 2 Still the magician prayed to have his parrot 
given to him. 

1 In the Gaelic story of the "Young 2 This portion of the story is found 
King of Easaidh Ruadh," which con- in the Arabian Nights' tale of "The 
tains this story, this puzzle is thus put : Two Sisters who were jealous of their 
"There is a great flagstone under the Younger Sister." Here also the en- 
threshold. There is a wether under chantments are overcome by gaining 
the flag. There is a duck in the possession of a bird, and the malignant 
wether's belly, and an egg in the belly demons who guard it are represented 
of the duck, and it is in the egg that by dismal cries and jeering voices which 
my soul is." assail all who attempt the task. The 


"Then the boy took hold of the parrot, and tore off one of his chap. 
wings, and when he did so, the magician's right arm fell off* ^—^ 

" Punchkin then stretched out his left arm, crying, ' Give me my 
parrot' The prince pulled off the parrot's second wing, and the 
magician's left arm tumbled off. 

'"Give me my parrot,' cried he, and fell on his knees. The 
prince pulled off the parrof s right leg, the magician's right leg fell off; 
the prince pulled off the parrot's left leg, down fell the magician's 

" Nothing remained of him save the limbless body and the head ; 
but still he rolled his eyes, and cried, ' Give me my parrot ! ' ' Take 
your parrot, then,' cried the boy ; and with that he wrung the bird's 
neck, and threw it at the magician, and as he did so, Punchkin 
twisted round, and with a fearful groan he died." 1 

In its key-note and its leading incidents this story is precisely The Giani 
parallel to the Norse tale of the "Giant who had no Heart in his no Heart in 
Body." Here, as in the Deccan legend, there is a king who has ^ Body - 
seven sons, but instead of all seven being sent to hunt or woo, the 
youngest is left at home ; and the prince whose children they marry 
has six daughters, not seven. This younger brother who stays at 
home is the Boots of European folk-lore, a being of infinitely varied 
character, and a subject of the highest interest for all who wish to 
know whence the Aryan nations obtained the materials for their epic 
poems. Seemingly weak and often despised, he has keener wit and 
more resolute will than all who are opposed to him. Slander and 
obloquy are to him as nothing, for he knows that in the end his truth 
shall be made clear in the sight of all men. We see him in a thou- 
sand forms. 2 He is the Herakles on whom the mean Eurystheus de- 
bird, as in the Hindu tale, is won by to shiver than the sun. At midnight 
the youngest of the family, but it is the he is still quick with the heat of fire, 
princess Parizade disguised as a man which cannot be cooled even by contact 
who performs the exploit, having, like with the dead. Like Sigurd, he recovers 
Odysseus, as he approached the Seiren's the treasures in the robber's keeping, 
land, filled her ears with cloth. Nor and he learns to shiver only when his 
is the bird less mighty than the magi- bride pours over him at night a pail of 
cian, although he is not killed off in the water full of fish — in other words, when 
same way. See also Tylor, Primitive Helios plunges into the sea as Endy- 
Cullure, i. 305. mion. Elsewhere, he is not only the 

1 For Slavonic stories of external wanderer or vagabond, but the dis- 
hearts see Ralston, Russian Folk Tales, charged soldier, or the strolling player, 
109; Songs of the Russian. People, 165. who is really the king Thrushbeard in 

2 Dasent, Norse Tales, cliv. Some the German story, who tames the pride 
of the stories told of Boots are very sig- of the princess as Indra subdues Da- 
nificant. Among the most noteworthy hana ; or he is the countryman who 
is Grimm's story of " One who travelled cheats the Jew in the story of the 
to learn what shivering meant." The "Good Bargain." He is the young 
stupid boy in this tale shows marvellous king of Easaidh Ruadh in the Scottish 
strength of arm, but he is no more able story, who gets for the giant the Glaive 


BOOK lights to pour contempt ; he is Cinderella sitting in the dust, while 
her sisters flaunt their finery abroad ; he is the Oidipous who knows 
nothing, 1 yet reads the mysterious riddle of the Sphinx; he is the 
Phoibos who serves in the house of Admetos and the palace of 
Laomedon ; he is the Psyche who seeks her lost love almost in de- 
spair, and yet with the hope still living in her that her search shall not 
be unsuccessful ; above all, he is the Ithakan chief, clothed in beggar's 
rags, flouted by the suitors, putting forth his strength for one moment 
to crush the insolent Arnaios, then sitting down humbly on the thres- 
hold, 2 recognised only by an old nurse and his dog, waiting patiently 
till the time comes that he shall bend the unerring bow, and having 
slain his enemies appear' once more in glorious garb by the side of a 
wife as radiant in beauty as when he left her years ago for a long and 
a hard warfare far away. Nay, he even becomes an idiot, but even 
in this his greatest humiliation the memory of his true greatness is 
never forgotten. Thus the Gaelic " Lay of the Great Fool " relates 


Tale of wonder, that was heard without lie, 
Of the idiot to whom hosts yield, 
A haughty son who yields not to arms, 
Whose name was the mighty fool. 

The might of the world he had seized 
In his hands, and it was no rude deed ; 
It was not the strength of his blade or shield, 
But that the mightiest was in his grasp.* 

He becomes, of course, the husband of Helen, 

The mighty fool is his name, 

And his wife is the young Fairfine ; 
The men of the world are at his beck, 

And the yielding to him was mine ; 

and the Helen of the story has, of course, her Paris. The fool goes 
to sleep, and as he slumbers a Gruagach gives her a kiss, and like 
Helen " the lady was not ill-pleased that he came.'' But his coming 

of Light (Excalibur, or the spear of who is wheedled of his three wish-gifts, 

Achilleus), and who rides a dun filly, but recovering them in the end is seen 

gifted like the horse Xanthos with the in his native majesty. 

power of speech. He is the "bald ' S /aiSev' elSdbs Oltitirovs. 

rough-skinned gillie " of the smithy in Sophokles, Oid. Tyr. 397. 

the Highland tale of " The Brown Bear So again of Odysseus, &tppova t' 

of the Green Glen," on whose head the oi/Tmr. — //. iii. 220. 

mysterious bird alights to point him out ' Odyssey, xviii. no. 

as the father of the dawn-child. In the » Campbell, Tales of the West High- 

story of the "Three Soldiers" in the lands, iii. 154. 

same collection, he is the poor soldier 


is for evil luck, and the deceiver shall be well repaid when the fool chap. 
comes to take vengeance. , - v - 

Still will I give my vows, 
Though thou thinkest much of thy speech ; 
When comes the Gruagach of the tissue cloak, 
He will repay thee for his wife's kiss. 

Boots then acts the part of Balna's son in the Hindu story, while Mythical 
the sorcerer reappears in the Norse tale as a giant, who turns the an^com- 3 
six princes and their wives into stone. The incident is by no means binations. 
peculiar to this tale, and the examples already adduced would alone 
warrant the assertion that the whole mass of folk-lore in every 
country may be resolved into an endless series of repetitions, com- 
binations, and adaptations of a few leading ideas or of their develope- 
ments, all sufficiently resembling each other to leave no doubts of 
their fundamental identity, yet so unlike in outward garb and colour- 
ing, so thoroughly natural and vigorous under all their changes, as to 
leave no room for any other supposition than that of a perfectly 
independent growth from one common stem. If, speaking of the 
marvels wrought by musical genius, Dr. Newman could say, " There 
are seven notes in the scale ; make them thirteen, yet how slender an 
outfit for so vast an enterprise," 1 we may well feel the same astonish- 
ment as we see the mighty harvest of mythical lore which a few seeds 
have yielded, and begin to understand how it is that ideas so 
repeated, disguised, or travestied never lost their charm, but find us 
as ready to listen when they are brought before us for the hundredth 
time in a new dress, as when we first made acquaintance with them. 

In the modified machinery of the Norse tale, the remonstrances Agency of 
addressed to Balna's son in the Hindu story are here addressed to thesV '" 
Boots, 2 whose kindness to the brute creatures who become his stones - 

1 University Sermons, p. 34S. In the seducer whom she loathes ; and as 

these two stories the Magician Punchkin Helen calls herself the dog-faced, so 

and the Heartless Giant are manifestly Balna is transformed into a dog when 

only other forms of the dark beings, Punchkin leads her away. The eagles 

the Panis, who steal away the bright whose young he saves, like the heroes 

treasures, whether cows, maidens, or of so many popular tales, are the bright 

youths, from the gleaming west. In clouds who bear off little Surya Bai to 

each case there is a long search for the nest on the tree-top. 

them ; and as Troy cannot fall without 3 The stories of Boots and Cinder- 

Achilleus, so here there is only one who ella lead us to a vast family of kindred I 

can achieve the exploit of rescuing the myths. In all of these the beauty of 

beings who have been turned into stone, the hero or heroine is disfigured by a 

as Niobg is hardened into rock. The squalid dress, and sometimes by a 

youthful son of Balna in his disguise is dark-brown staining of the face and 

the womanlike Theseus, Dionysos, or arms. In each case, while the heroine 

Achilleus. Balna herself imprisoned in carries away in nutshells or in other 

the tower with the sorcerer whom she tiny receptacles dresses gleaming with 

hates is Helen shut up in Ilion with the splendour of the stars, the moon, 





friends is drawn out in the more full detail characteristic of Western 
■ legends. The Hindu hero helps eagles only ; Boots succours a 
raven, a salmon, and a wolf, and the latter having devoured his 
horse bears him on its back with the speed of light to the house of 
the giant who has turned his brothers into stone. 1 There he finds, 
not his mother, like Balna's son, but the beautiful princess who is to 
be his bride, and who promises to find out, if she can, where the 
giant keeps his heart, for, wherever it be, it is not in his body. The 

and the sun, she is clothed with the 
skin of a cat, a dog, or an ass, or, as 
in the instance of Allerleirauh, of all 
the beasts of the land. In each case, 
after escaping from desperate dangers 
by the help of a horse or a bull, she 
becomes a scullion, whose abode is a 
cellar into which the light of day cannot 
penetrate. From this noisome dungeon 
she is rescued by a threefold ordeal. 
In the English story of Catskin, the 
cook, in the first case, dashes a basin 
of water in her face ; in the second, he 
breaks her head with the ladle ; in the 
third, he smites her with the skimmer. 
In other versions the person who so 
ill-treats her under her mean disguise 
is the king or prince, whom she after- 
wards marries ; but the three smitings, 
followed each by a greater display of 
splendour, are to be found in all. 
Whence came these features? That 
they could suggest themselves spon- 
taneously to the fancy of savages in all 
parts of the world is beyond all bounds 
of belief. In its oldest shape seemingly 
the myth comes before us in the Vedic 
story of Apala (the water-maiden), who 
comes down from the mountain to draw 
water, and in so doing draws Soma, or 
ambrosia, which she presents to the 
sun-god Indra. But the maiden is ugly 
and deformed, and to free her of her 
loathsomeness, Indra consents to pass 
over her three times. This threefold 
smiting is brought out more clearly in a 
legend of the BrihaddevatS, in which 
the water-maiden beseeches Indra to 
make for her a beautiful and faultless 
skin. Indra accordingly passes over her 
with wheel, chariot, and rudder. By 
three efforts he takes off her ugly skin, 
and Apala appears in a beautiful one. 
The Sorna which Apala brings to Indra 
becomes in the popular stories of Europe 
the soup which the kitchen drudge pre- 
pares for the king, or prince, or lord 
in the story, who in each case marries 
her. But the three smitings of Indra 

constitute his marriage with the maiden, 
and there can be little doubt that the 
rudder of his chariot in the torn bosom 
of Apala has a fuller signification. 
This legend is cited in the "Zo- 
ological Mythology " of De Gubernatis, 
of which Mr. Coote, Folk Lore Record, 
vol. iii. part i., speaks as "one of the 
most remarkable combinations of erudi- 
tion and imagination which this age 
has produced. " 

1 The constant agency of wolves and 
foxes in the German stories at once 
suggests a comparison with the Myrmi- 
dons whom the Homeric poet so elabo- 
rately likens to wolves, with Phoibos 
himself as the wolf-god of ^Eschylos, 
and with the jackal princes of eastern 
story. In Grimm's story of " The Two 
Brothers," the animals succoured are 
the hare, fox, wolf, and lion, and they 
each, as in the Hindu tale, offer their 
young as ministers to the hero who has 
spared their lives. In the beautiful 
legend of the Golden Bird, the youngest 
brother and the fox whom by his kind- 
ness he secures as his ally, alike repre- 
sent the disguised chieftain of Ithaka, 
and the rajas of the Hindu stories. 
The disguise in which the youngest 
brother returns home is put on by him- 
self. He has exchanged clothes with a 
beggar ; the fox is of course enchanted, 
and can be freed only by destroying the 
bodyin which he is imprisoned. But 
this idea of enchantment would inevi- 
tably be suggested by the magic power 
of Athene in seaming the face of Odys- 
seus with the wrinkles of a squalid 
old age, while the Christianised North- 
man would convert Athene herself into 
a witch. In this story the mere presence 
of the disguised youth, who was supposed 
to be murdered, just as the suitors sup- 
posed Odysseus to be dead, makes the 
golden bird begin to sing, the golden 
horse begin to eat, and the beautiful 
maiden to cease weeping. The meaning 
is obvious. 


colloquies which lead at length to the true answer exhibit the giant chap. 

in the more kindly and rollicking character frequently best«wed on ^ 

trolls, dwarfs, elves, and demons, in the mythology of the Western 
Aryans. The final answer corresponds precisely to that of Punch- 
kin. " Far, far away in a lake lies an island ; on that island stands 
a church ; in that church is a well ; in that well swims a duck ; in 
that duck there is an egg; and in that egg there lies my heart, you 
darling." His darling takes a tender farewell of Boots, who sets off 
on the wolf's back, to solve, as in the Eastern tale, the mystery of 
the water and the bird. The wolf takes him to the island ; but the 
church keys hang high on the steeple, and the raven is now brought 
in to perform an office analogous to that of the young eaglets in the 
Deccan legend. At last, by the salmon's help, the egg is brought 
from the bottom of the well where the duck had dropped it. 

" Then the wolf told him to squeeze the egg, and as soon as ever 
he squeezed it, the giant screamed out. 

' " ' Squeeze it again,' said the wolf ; and when the prince did so, 
the giant screamed still more piteously, and begged and prayed so 
prettily to be spared, saying he would do all that the prince wished 
if he would only not squeeze his heart in two. 

" ' Tell him if he will restore to life again your six brothers and 
their brides, you will spare his life,' said the wolf. Yes, the giant 
was ready to do that, and he turned the six brothers into king's sons 
again, and their brides into king's daughters. 

" ' Now squeeze the egg in two,' said the wolf. So Boots squeezed 
the egg to pieces, and the giant burst at once." 

The supposition that these stories have been transmitted laterally Influence 
is tenable only on the further hypothesis, that in every Aryan land, literature 
from Eastern India to the Highlands of Scotland, the folk-lore of the ? n Folk " 

' lore. 

country has had its character determined by the literature of written : 
books, that in every land men have handled the stories introduced 
from other countries with the deliberate purpose of modifying and 
adapting them, and that they have done their work in such a way as 
sometimes to leave scarcely a resemblance, at other times scarcely to 
effect the smallest change. In no other range of literature has any 
such result ever been achieved. In these stories we have narratives 
which have confessedly been received in the crudest form, if the 
fable of the Brahman and the goat is to be taken as the original of 
the Master Thief, and which have been worked up with marvellous 
vigour and under indefinitely varied forms, not by the scholars who 
imported the volumes of the Kalila and Dimna, or the Exploits of 
the Romans, but by unknown men among the people. The tales 

s 4 




have been circulated for the most part only among those who have 
. no books, and many, if not most, of them have been made known 
only of late years for the first time to the antiquarians and philo- 
logists who have devoted their lives to hunting'them out. How then 
do we find in Teutonic or Hindu stories not merely incidents which 
specially characterise the story of Odysseus, but almost the very 
words in which they are related in the Odyssey? The task of 
analysing and comparing these legends is not a light one even for 
those who have all the appliances of books and the aid of a body of 
men working with them for the same end. Yet old men and old 
women reproduce in India and Germany, in Norway, in Scotland, 
and in Ireland, the most subtle turns of thought and expression, and 
an endless series of complicated narratives, in which the order of 
incidents and the words of the speakers are preserved with a fidelity 
nowhere paralleled in the oral tradition of historical events. It may 
safely be said that no series of stories introduced in the form of 
translations from other languages could ever thus have filtered down 
into the lowest strata of society, and thence have sprung up again, 
like Antaios, with greater energy and heightened beauty, and 
" nursery tales are generally the last things to be adopted by one 
nation from another." * But it is not safe to assume on the part of 
Highland peasants or Hindu nurses a familiarity with the epical 
literature of the Homeric or Vedic poets ; and hence the production 
of actual evidence in any given race for the independent growth of 
popular stories may be received as throwing fresh light on questions 
already practically solved, but can scarcely be regarded as indispen- 
sable. It can scarcely be necessary to prove that the tale of the 
Three Snake Leaves was not derived by the old German story-tellers 
from the pages of Pausanias, or that Beauty and the Beast was not 
suggested by Appuleius. There is nothing therefore which needs to 
surprise us in the fact that stories already familiar to the western 
Aryans have been brought to us in their eastern versions only as 

Probably no two stories furnish more convincing evidence of the 
extent to which the folk-lore of the Aryan tribes was developed, 
while they still lived as a single people, than that which we find in 
the German legend of Faithful John and the Deccan story of Rama 
and Luxman, who reflect the Rama and Laxmana of Purana legends. 
A comparison of these legends clearly shows that at least the follow- 
ing framework must have been devised before Hindus and Germans 
started on the long migration which was to lead the one to the 

1 Max Miiller, Chips, ii. 216. 


regions of the Ganges and the Indus, and the other to the countries chap. 
watered by the Rhine and the Elbe. Even in those early days the - — Y'— • 
story must have run that a king had seen the likeness of a maiden 
whose beauty made him faint with love ; that he could not be with- 
held from seeking her; that his faithful friend went with him and 
helped him to win his bride ; that certain wise birds predicted that 
the trusty friend should save his master from three great dangers, but 
that his mode of rescuing him should seem to show that he loved his 
master's wife ; that for his self-sacrifice he should be turned into a 
stone, and should be restored to life only by the agency of an 
innocent child. That two men in two distant countries knowing 


nothing of each other could hit upon such a series of incidents as 
these, none probably will have the hardihood to maintain. Still less 
can any dream of urging that Hindus and Germans agreed together 
to adopt each the specific differences of their respective versions. In 
the German story the prince's passion for the beautiful maiden is 
caused by the sight of her portrait in a gallery of his father's palace, 
into which the trusty John had been strictly charged not to let the 
young man enter. 1 Having once seen it, he cannot be withheld from 
going to seek her, and with his friend he embarks as a merchant in a 
ship laden with all manner of costly goods which may tempt the 
maiden's taste or curiosity. The scheme succeeds ; but while the 
princess is making her purchases the Faithful John orders all sail to 
be set, and the ship is far at sea when the maiden turns to go home. 
At once we recognise the form in which Herodotos at the outset of 
his history has recorded the story of 16, and are tempted to think 
that Herodotos did not in this instance invent his own rationalistic 
explanation of a miraculous story, but has adopted a version of the 
myth current in his own day. The comparative freedom from super- 
natural incidents would of course determine his choice. The next 

1 This is substantially the Rabbi- the case before the Rabbis, who decide 

nical story of " The Broken Oath," the that he must go back ; but on his per- 

difference being that the young man is sistent refusal, she beseeches him to 

already in Fairy Land, and finds in the suffer her to take leave of him and to 

forbidden chamber, not the picture, but embrace him. " He replied that she 

the maiden herself. The sequel of this might, and as soon as she embraced 

story exhibits the maiden as the Fairy him, she drew out his soul, and he 

Queen, who lays the man under a died." Thus far the story runs like 

pledge to remain with her. After a that of Fouque's Undine ; but in the 

while he feels a yearning to return to sequel the insensibility of the Jew to 

his earthly home. He is suffered to do the ludicrous is shown in the words put 

so on pledging his word that he will into the mouth of the fairy, who leaves 

come back. But the pledge redeemed her son Solomon in the keeping of the 

without murmuring by Thomas of Rabbis, assuring him that he will pass 

Ercildoune is set at nought by the hero examinations satisfactorily. — Keightley, 

of this tale. The forsaken fairy carries Fairy Mythology, 505. 







scene in the drama is a colloquy between three crows, whose lan- 
guage Faithful John understands, and who foretell three great dangers 
impending over the prince, who can be saved only at the cost of his 
preserver. On his reaching shore a fox-coloured horse would spring 
towards him, which, on his mounting it, would carry him off for ever 
from his bride. No one can save him except by shooting the horse, 
but if any one does it and tells the king, he will be turned into stone 
from the toe to the knee. If the horse be killed, the prince will 
none the more keep his bride, for a bridal shirt will lie on a dish, 
woven seemingly of gold and silver, but composed really of sulphur 
and pitch, and if he puts it on it will burn him to his bones and mar- 
row. Whoever takes the shirt with his gloved hand and casts it into 
the fire may save the prince ; but if he knows and tells him, he will 
be turned to stone from his knee to his heart. Nor is the prince 
more safe even if the shirt be burnt, for during the dance which fol- 
lows the wedding the queen will suddenly turn pale and fall as if 
dead, and unless some one takes three drops of blood from her right 
breast she will die. But whoever knows and tells it shall be turned 
to stone from the crown of his head to the toes of his feet. The 
friend resolves to be faithful at all hazards, and all things turn out as 
the crows had foretold ; but the king, misconstruing the act of his 
friend in taking blood from his wife, orders him to be led to prison. 
At the scaffold he explains his motives, but the act of revelation seals 
his doom; and while the king intreats for forgiveness the trusty 
servant is turned into stone. In an agony of grief the king has the 
figure placed near his bed, and vainly prays for the power of restoring 
him to life. Years pass on ; twin sons are born to him, and one day, 
as he gives utterance to the longing of his heart, the statue says that 
it can be brought back to life if the king will cut off the heads of the 
twins and sprinkle the statue with their blood. The servant is 
restored to life, and when he places the children's heads on their 
bodies they spring up and play as merrily as ever. 

In truth and tenderness of feeling this story falls far short of the 
Deccan tale, in which the prince Rama sees the image of his future 
bride, not in a picture, but in a dream. Having won her by the aid 
of Luxman, he is soon after attacked by the home-sickness which is 
common to the heroes of most of these tales, and which finds its 
highest expression in the history of Odysseus. During the journey, 
which answers to the voyage of the king with Faithful John, Luxman, 
who, like John, understands the speech of birds, hears two owls 
talking in a tree overhead, and learns from them that three great 
perils await his master and his bride. The first will be from a rotten 


branch of a banyan-tree, from the fall of which Luxman will just save chap. 

them by dragging them forcibly away ; the next will be, from an ^ 

insecure arch, and the third from a cobra. This serpent, they said, 
Luxman would kill with his sword. 

" But a drop of the cobra's blood shall fall on her forehead. The 
wuzeer will not care to wipe off the blood with his hands, but shall 
instead cover his face with a cloth, that he may lick it off with his 
tongue ; but for this the raja will be angry with him, and his re- 
proaches will turn this poor wuzeer into stone. 

" ' Will he always remain stone ? ' asked the lady owl. ' Not for 
ever,' answered the husband, ' but for eight long years he will remain 
so.' ' And what then ? ' demanded she. ' Then,' answered the other, 
' when the young raja and ranee have a baby, it shall come to pass 
that one day the child shall be playing on the floor, and, to help 
itself along, shall clasp hold of the stony figure, and at that baby's 
touch the wuzeer will come to life again.' " 

As in the German tale, everything turns out in accordance with 
the predictions of the birds. When, therefore, Luxman saw the 
cobra creep towards the queen, he knew that his life must be for- 
feited for his devotion, and so he took from the folds of his dress 
the record of the owl's talk and of his former life, and, having laid 
it beside the sleeping king, killed the cobra. The raja, of course, 
starts up just as his friend is licking the blood from his wife's fore- 
head, and, drawing the same inference with the German prince, 
overwhelms him with reproaches. 

" The raja had buried his face in his hands : he looked up, he 
turned to the wuzeer ; but from him came neither answer nor reply. 
He had become a senseless stone. Then Rama for the first time 
perceived the roll of paper which Luxman had laid beside him ; and 
when he read in it of what Luxman had been to him from boyhood, 
and of the end, his bitter grief broke through all bounds, and falling 
at the feet of the statue, he clasped its stony knees and wept aloud." 

Eight years passed on, and at length the child was born. A few 
months more, and in trying to walk, it "stretched out its tiny hands 
and caught hold of the foot of the statue. The wuzeer instantly came 
back to life, and stooping down seized the little baby, who had 
rescued him, in his arms and kissed it." 1 

1 The calamity which overtakes into a frog. But this transformation is 

Luxman and Faithful John is seen in merely the sinking of the sun into the 

an earlier and less developed form in western waters (see note 3, p. 165), and 

the' German story of the Frog Prince. the time of his absence answers to the 

Here the faithful friend is overwhelmed charmed sleep of Endymion. Trusty 

with grief because his master is turned Henry is so grieved at the loss that he 




of these 

There is something more quiet and touching in the silent record 
- of Luxman which stands in the place of Faithful John's confession 
at the scaffold, as well as in the doom which is made to depend on 
the reproaches of his friend rather than on the mere mechanical act 
of giving utterance to certain words. But the Hindu legend and 
the German story alike possess a higher interest in the links which 
connect them, like most of the popular stories already noticed, with 
the magnificent epic to which we give the name of Homer, with the 
songs of the Volsungs and Nibelungs, with the mythical cycle of 
Arthur and Charlemagne, and the Persian Rustem. The bridal shirt 
of sulphur and pitch, which outwardly seemed a tissue of gold and 
silver, carries us at once from the story of Faithful John to the myth 
of Dei'aneira and the poisoned coat which put an end to the career 
of Herakles. We enter again the charmed circle, where one and the 
same idea assumes a thousand different forms, where we can trace 
clearly the process by which one change led to another, but where 
any one disregarding the points of connexion must fail to discern 
their sequence, origin, and meaning. In the legend of Dei'aneira, 
as in that of Iason and Glauke, the coat or shirt is laden with destruc- 
tion even for Herakles. It represents, in fact, " the clouds which 
rise from the waters and surround the sun like a dark raiment." 
This robe Herakles tries to tear off, but the " fiery mists embrace 
him, and are mingled with the parting rays of the sun, and the dying 
hero is seen through the scattered clouds of the sky, tearing his own 
body to pieces, till at last his bright form is consumed in a general 
conflagration." 1 In the story of Medeia this robe is the gift of Helios, 
which imparts a marvellous wisdom to the daughter of the Kolchian 
king. It is the gleaming dress which reappears in story after story of 
Hindu folk-lore. "That young raja's wife," people said, "has the 
most beautiful saree we ever saw : it shines like the sun, and dazzles 
our eyes. We have no saree half so beautiful." It is the golden 
fleece of the ram which bears away the children of the Mist (Nephele) 
to the Eastern land. In other words, it is the light of Phoibos, the 
splendour of Helios, the rays or spears of the gleaming Sun. As 
such, it is identified with the sword of Apollon the Chrysaor, with 
the sword which Aigeus leaves to be discovered by Theseus under 
the broad stone, with the good sword Gram which Odin left in the 

binds three iron bands round his heart 
for fear it should break with grief and 
sorrow. When the Frog Prince sets out 
with his bride in the morning, the iron 
bands break and Trusty Henry is set 
free. This is the stony sleep of Lux- 

man, brought on by grief, and broken 
only by the light touch of early morning, 
there represented by the innocent child 
of Rama. 

1 Max Miiller, Chip from a German 
Workshop, ii. 89. 


tree trunk for Volsung to draw out and wield, with the lion's skin CHAP. 

• ■ v 
of Herakles, with the jackal's skin worn by the enchanted rajas of »— — J- • 

Hindu story, with the spear of Achilleus and the deadly arrows 

of Philoktetes, with the invincible sword of Perseus and the sandals 

which bear him through the air like a dream, with the magic shoes 

in the story of King Putraka and of the Lad who went to the North 

Wind, with the spear of Artemis and the unerring darts of Meleagros. 1 

Whether under the guise of spears or fleece or arrows, it is the golden 

hair on the head of Phoibos Akersekomes, which no razor has ever 

touched ; the wonderful carpet of Solomon, which figures in the 

Arabian Nights as the vehicle for relieving distressed lovers from 

their difficulties. 

In the Hindu story, the bride of Rama is won after an exploit The sleep 

which in its turn carries us away to the deeds of Hellenic or Teutonic °£ g^ 

heroes. When the prince tells Luxman of the peerless beauty whom mer. 

he has seen in his dream, his friend tells him that the princess lives 

far away in a glass palace. 2 " Round this palace runs a large river, 

and round the river is a garden of flowers. Round the garden are 

four thick groves of trees. The princess is twenty-four years old, but 

she is not married, for she has determined only to marry whoever 

can jump across the river and greet her in her crystal palace ; and 

though many thousand kings have assayed to do so, they have all 

perished miserably in the attempt, having either been drowned in the 

river or broken their necks by falling." The frequent recurrence of 

this idea in these Hindu tales might of itself lead any one who knew 

nothing of the subject previously to doubt whether such images could 

refer to any actual facts in the history of any given man or woman. 

In the story of Rama it has lost much of its old significance. The 

death-like cold of a northern winter gives place to the mere notion 

of solitude and seclusion. Running streams and luxuriant gardens 

show that the myth has been long transferred to a more genial 

climate ; but it is scarcely necessary to say that the changes in the 

story indefinitely enhance its value, so long as the idea remains the 

same. In some form or other this idea may be said to run through 

almost all these legends. In the story of " Brave Seventee Bai" it 

1 In a number of little Russian songs his foes and gain his bright bride."— 

this invincible hero is represented as Ralston, Songs of the Russian people, 

besieging a town, and gaining from 191. The search of this hero for the 

it a bride. " He is tall and radiant ; peerless maiden is described in another 

he sits within a tent made of white silk, song.— Ibid. 223. 

or ridel on a horse with a mane of * The glass or marble of the H.nda 

gold • his sabre flashes like the sun, tale answers to tue ice of the JSorse 

and s'o do the swords of his trusty com- legends, 
rades, who enable him to drive away 




Origin of 
fill myths 
relating to 
sleep of 

assumes a form more closely akin to the imagery of Teutonic mytho- 
■ logy ; and there we find a princess who declares that she will marry 
no one who has not leaped over her bath, which " has high marble 
walls all round, with a hedge of spikes at the top of the walls." In 
the story of Vicram Maharaja the parents of Anar Ranee "had 
caused her garden to be hedged round with seven hedges made of 
bayonets, so that none could go in nor out ; and they had published 
a decree that none should marry her but he who could enter the 
garden and gather the three pomegranates on which she and her 
maids slept." So, too, Panch Phul Ranee, the lovely Queen of the 
Five Flowers, " dwelt in a little house, round which were seven wide 
ditches, and seven great hedges made of spears." The seven hedges 
are, however, nothing more than the sevenfold coils of the dragon of 
the Glistening Heath, who lies twined round the beautiful Brynhild. 
But the maiden of the Teutonic tale is sunk in sleep which rather 
resembles death than life, just as Demeter mourned as if for the death 
of Persephone while her child sojourned in the dark kingdom of 
Hades. This idea is reproduced with wonderful fidelity in the story 
of Little Surya Bai, and the cause of her death is modified in a 
hundred legends both of the East and the West The little maiden 
is high up in the eagle's nest fast asleep, when an evil demon or 
Rakshas seeks to gain admission to her, and while vainly striving 
to force an entrance leaves one of his finger-nails sticking in the crack 
of the door. When on the following morning the maiden opened 
the doors of her dwelling to look down on the world below, the sharp 
claw ran into her hand, and immediately she fell dead. The powers 
of winter, which had thus far sought in vain to wound her, have at 
length won the victory ; and at once we pass to other versions of the 
same myth, which tell us of Eurydike stung to death by the hidden 
serpent, of Sifrit smitten by Hagene (the Thorn), of Isfendiyar slain 
by the thorn or arrow of Rusten, 1 of Achilleus vulnerable only in his 
heel, of Brynhild enfolded within the dragon's coils, of Meleagros 
dying as the torch of doom is burnt out, of Baldur the brave and pure 
smitten by the fatal mistletoe, of the sweet Briar Rose plunged in her 
slumber of a hundred years. 

The idea that all these myths have been deliberately transferred 
from Hindus or Persians to Greeks, Germans, and Norsemen may be 
dismissed as a wild dream. Yet of their substantial identity in spite 
of all points of difference and under all the disguises thrown over 
them by individual fancies and local influences, there can be no 
question. The keynote of any one of the Deccan stories is the key- 

1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, i. 323. 


note of almost all ; and this keynote runs practically through the great CHAP. 

body of tales gathered from Germany, Scandinavia, Ireland, and ^— — : ■ 

Scotland. It is found again everywhere in the mythology of the 
Greeks, whether in the legends which have furnished the materials 
for their magnificent epics, or have been immortalised in the dramas 
of their great tragedians, or have remained buried in the pages of 
mythographers like Pausanias or Diodoros. If then all these tales 
have some historical foundation, they must relate to events which 
took place before the dispersion of the Aryan tribes from their original 
home. If the war at Troy took place at all, as the Homeric poets 
have narrated it, it is, to say the least, strange that precisely the same 
struggle, for precisely the same reasons, and with the same results, 
should have been waged in Norway and Germany, in Wales and Persia. 
Unless we are to adopt the hypothesis of conscious borrowing in i^ 
most exaggerated form, the dream of a historical Ilion and a histories 
Carduel must fade away before the astonishing multitude of legends 
which comparative mythologists have traced to phrases descriptive 
of physical phenomena. At the least it must be admitted that the 
evidence seems to point in this direction. To take these stories after 
any system, and arrange their materials methodically, is almost an 
impossible task. The expressions or incidents worked into these 
legends are like the few notes of the scale from which great musicians 
have created each his own world, or like the few roots of language 
which denoted at first only the most prominent objects and processes 
of nature and the merest bodily wants, but out of which has grown 
the wealth of words which feed the countless streams of human 
thought. In one story we may find a series of incidents briefly 
touched, which elsewhere have been expanded into a hundred tales, 
while the incidents themselves are presented in the countless combi- 
nations suggested by an exuberant fancy. The outlines of the tales, 
when these have been carefully analysed, are simple enough; but 
they are certainly not outlines which could have been suggested by 
incidents in the common life of mankind. Maidens do not fall for 
months or years into death-like trances, from which the touch of one 
brave man alone can arouse them. Dragons are not coiled round 
golden treasures or beautiful women on glistening heaths. Princes 
do not everywhere abandon their wives as soon as they have married 
them, to return at length in squalid disguise and smite their foes with 
invincible weapons. Steeds which speak and which cannot die do 
not draw the chariots of mortal chiefs, nor do the lives of human 
kings exhibit everywhere the same incidents in the same sequence. 
Yet every fresh addition made to our stores of popular tradition does 




or spells 
in the 
and in 

but bring before us new phases of those old forms of which mankind, 
-- we may boldly say, will never grow weary. The golden slipper of 
Cinderella is the slipper of Rhodopis, which an eagle carries off and 
drops into the lap of the Egyptian king as he sits on his seat of 
judgement at Memphis. 1 This slipper reappears Li the beautiful 
Deccan story of Sodewa Bai, and leads of course to the same issue 
as in the legends of Cinderella and Rhodopis. The dragon of the 
Glistening Heath represents the seven-headed cobra of the Hindu 
story, and in the legend of Brave Seventee Bai the beautiful Brynhild 
becomes his daughter, just as the bright Phoibos is the child of the 
sombre Leto. In the Greek myth dragons of another kind draw the 
chariot of Medeia, the child of the sun, or impart mysterious wisdom 
to Iamos and Melampous, as the cobras do to Muchie Lai. That 
the heroes of Greek and Teutonic legends in almost every case are 
separated from, or abandon, the women whom they have wooed or 
loved is well known ; and the rajas and princes of these Hindu 
stories are subjected to the same lot with Herakles and Odysseus, 
Oidipous and Sigurd, Keph^los and Prokris, Paris and Oinone. 
Generally the newly-married prince feels a yearning to see his father 
and his mother once more, and, like Odysseus, pines until he can 
set his face homewards. Sometimes he takes his wife, sometimes 
he goes alone ; but in one way or another he is kept away from 
her for years, and reappears like Odysseus in the squalid garb of 
a beggar. 

Curiously enough, in these Hindu stories the detention of the 
wandering prince or king is caused by one of those charms or spells 
which Odysseus in his wanderings discreetly avoids. The Lotos- 
eaters and their magic fruit reappear in the nautch-people or con- 
jurors, whom the rajah who has married Panch Phul Ranee, the Lady 
of the Five Flowers, asks for rice and fire. The woman whom he 
addresses immediately brings them. " But before she gave them 
to him, she and her companions threw on them a certain powder, 
containing a very potent charm ; and no sooner did the raja receive 
them than he forgot about his wife and little child, his journey and 
all that had ever happened to him in his life before : such was the 
peculiar property of the powder. And when the conjuror said to him, 
' Why should you go away ? Stay with us and be one of us,' he 
willingly consented." 2 Unless the translator has designedly modified 

1 ./Elian, V. H. xiii. 33 ; Strabo, about in many of the German stories 

xvii. p. 808. Gubernatis, Zoological by his allowing his parents to kiss him 

Mythology, i. 31, 126. on one side of his face, or on his lips. 

3 This forgetfulness of his first love In the Gaelic story of the Battle of 

en the part of the solar hero is brought the Birds neither man nor other crea- 



the language of the Deccan tale-teller (and in the absence of any chap. 

admission to this effect we cannot suppose this), we may fairly quote • -^~ — 

the words as almost a paraphrase from the Odyssey : — 

r&v 5* os tis \arroio tpdyot fie\i7j54a Kapv6v, 
oiix £r' vLirayyelKai ird\iv ij6e\ev ou5e yectrBcu, 
&A\* avTov &oi\ovTO per' avdpdfft AtoTotpdyotaiv 
Aarbi/ tyeTrrtfievoL fxtvepsv v6fnov re \adea9ai. 1 

The nautch-woman here has also the character of Kirke, and the 
charm represents the Kama ^dpfiaxa which turn the companions of 
Eurylochos into swine, while Kirke's wand is wielded by the sor- 
cerers who are compelled to restore to life the victims whom they 
had turned into stone, and by the Rakshas from whom Ramchundra, 
in the story of Truth's Triumph, seeks to learn its uses. " The 
rod," she replies, "has many supernatural powers; for instance, by 
simply uttering ycur wish, and waving it in the air, you can conjure 
up a mountain, a river, or a forest, in a moment of time." At length 
the wanderer is found ; but Panch Phul Ranee and Seventee Bai 
have the insight of Eurykleia, and discern his true majesty beneath 
the fakeer's garb. 3 " The raja came towards them so changed that 

ture is to kiss him, and the mischief is 
done by his greyhound, who recognises 
him as Argos knows Odysseus. Camp- 
bell, i. 34. 

1 Od, ix. 97. 

2 This garment of humiliation ap- 
pears in almost innumerable legends. 
In the German story of the Golden 
Bird the prince puts it on when, on 
approaching his father's house, he is 
told that his brothers are plotting his 
death. In the tale of the Knapsack, 
the Hat, and the Horn, the wanderer 
who comes in with a coat torn to rags 
has a knapsack from which he can pro- 
duce any number of men, and a horn 
(the horn of the Maruts) at whose blast 
the strongest walls fall down. He thus 
takes on his enemies a vengeance pre- 
cisely like that of Odysseus, and for 
the same reason. In the story of the 
Golden Goose, Dummling, the _ hero 
who never fails in any exploit, is de- 
spised for his wretched appearance. In 
that of the Gold Child the brilliant hero 
comes before the king in the guise of a 
humble bear-hunter. The tale of the 
King of the Golden Mountain repeats 
the story of King Putraka, and shows 
the Gold Child in a shepherd's ragged 
frock. Elsewhere he is seen as the 
poor miller's son (the Miller's Son and 
the Cat), and he becomes a discharged 

soldier in the story of " The Boots 
made of Buffalo Leather.'' The beg- 
gar reappears in the Norse tale of 
Hacon Grizzlebeard, the Thrushbeard 
of Grimm's collection, while Boots, 
who grovels in the ashes, is the royal 
youth who rides up the mountain of ice 
in the story of the Princess on the 
Glass Hill. In another, Shortshanks, 
who by himself destroys all the Trolls 
opposed to him, is a reflexion of 
Odysseus, not only in his vengeance, 
but in his bodily form. Odysseus is 
Shortshanks when compared with Mene- 
laos (Iliad va. 210-11). In the tale of 
the Best Wish (Dasent), Boots carries 
with him in the magic tap the horn of 
Amaltheia, and is seen again as a 
tattered beggar in the story of the 
Widow's Son. In the legend of Big 
Bird Dan he is the wandering sailor, 
who, like Odysseus, is tossed, worn and 
naked, on the Phaiakian shore ; in that 
of Soria Moria Castle (a tale in which 
the Sun seeks for the Dawn, the re- 
verse of the Psych6 story) he is Halvor 
who grubs among the ashes — the con- 
nexion with fire and light being never 
forgotten in these stories, for these 
ashes are always living embers. The 
adventure of Halvor is for the recovery 
of a Helen, who has been stolen away 
by a Troll ; but no sooner is the Ilion 


BOOK not even his own mother knew him ; no one recognised him but his 

— — ' wife. For eighteen years he had been among the nautch-people ; 

his hair was rough, his beard untrimmed, his face thin and worn, 
sunburnt, and wrinkled, and his dress was a rough common blanket." 
Can we possibly help thinking of the wanderer, who in his beggar's 
dress reveals himself to the swineherd; or of his disguise, when 
AthenS destroyed his golden locks and clothed him in tatters; 1 
and lastly of his recognition by his old nurse when she saw the 
wound made by the bite of the boar who slew Adonis ? So in the 
Vengeance of Chandra we see the punishment of the suitors by 
Odysseus, an incident still further travestied in Grimm's legend of 
the King of the Golden Mountain. So too as we read of the body 
of Chundun Raja, which remained undecayed though he had 
been dead many months, or of Sodewa Bai, who a month after her 
death looked as lovely as on the night on which she died, we are 
reminded of the bodies of Patroklos a and of Hektor s which Aphrodite 
or Apollon anointed with ambrosial oil, and guarded day and night 
from all unseemly things. 
The Snake gut though the doom of which Achilleus mournfully complained 


to Thetis lies on all or almost all of these bright beings, they cannot 
be held in the grasp of the dark power which has laid them low. 
Briar-Rose and Surya Bai start from their slumbers at the magic touch 
of the lover's hand, and even when all hope seemed to be lost, wise 
beasts provide an antidote which will bring back life to the dead. 
In the story of Panch Phul Ranee these beneficent physicians are 
jackals, who converse together like the owls of Luxman or the crows 
in the tale of Faithful John. "Do you see this tree?" says the 
jackal to his wife. " Well, if its leaves were crushed, and a little of 
the juice put into the raja's two ears and upon his upper lip, and 
some upon his temples also, and some upon the spear-wound in his 
side, he would come to life again, and be as well as ever." These 
leaves reappear in Grimm's story of the Three Snake Leaves, in 
which the snakes play the part of the jackals. In this tale a prince 
is buried alive with his dead wife, and seeing a snake approaching 
her body, he cuts it in three pieces. Presently another snake, 
crawling from the corner, saw the other lying dead, and going away 
soon returned with three green leaves in its mouth ; then, laying the 
parts of the body together, so as to join, it put one leaf on. each 

or stronghold of the robber demolished the Gaelic tale of the Sea-Maiden, 

than, like Odysseus, he begins to feel Campbell, i. 101. 

an irresistible longing to see his father ' Od. xvi. 175, 207 ; xiii. 435 ; xxi. 

and his home once more. 208. 

The story of Shortshanks is told in 2 //. xix. 32. 3 lb. xxiv. 20. 


wound, and the dead snake was alive again. The prince applying chap. 

the leaves to his wife's body restores her also to life. The» following v - 

are the words of Apollodoros * in relating the story, also told by 
i ./Elian, of Glaukos and Polyidos : — " When Minos said that he must 
' bring Glaukos to life, Polyidos was shut up with the dead body ; 
and, being sorely perplexed, he saw a dragon approach the corpse. 
This he killed with a stone, and another dragon came, and, seeing 
the first one dead, went away, and brought some grass, which it 
placed on the body of the other, which immediately rose up. Polyidos, 
having beheld this with astonishment, put the same grass on the body 
of Glaukos, and restored him to life." 2 

These magic leaves become a root in the German story of the The Two 
Two Brothers, a tale in which a vast number of solar myths have 
been rolled together. The two brothers, " as like one another as 
two drops of water,'' are the Dioskouroi and the Asvins, or the other 
twin deities which run through so large a portion of the Aryan 
mythology. They are also the Babes in the Wood, although it is 
their father himself who, at the bidding of his rich brother, thrusts 
them forth from their home, because a piece of gold falls from the 
mouth of each every morning. They are saved by a huntsman, who 
makes them marksmen as expert as Kastor and Polydeukes. When 
at length they set out on their adventures, the huntsman gives them 
a knife, telling them that if, in case of separation, they would stick it 
into a tree by the wayside, he who came back to it might learn from 
the brightness or the rusting of the blade whether the other is alive 
and well. If the tale thus leads us to the innumerable stories which 
turn on sympathetic trees, gems, and stones, it is not less noteworthy 

1 iii. 3, I. See further Professor is the same with the story of the Master 

Max Miiller's " Essay on the Migration Thief, who has his familiar title in the 

of Fables," Selected Essays, vol. i. p. so-called Homeric Hymn — a hymn, 

500. In this essay the strange and whatever its date, older than the days 

unexpected ramifications of stories are of Thucydides. 

traced with wonderful skill ; and the 2 Apollodoros, iii. 3, I. Mr. Gould, 

presence of a story in Iceland and Italy, referring to this story as introduced in 

without its being found in other parts Fouque's " Sir Elidoc," places these 

of Europe, is shown to be not neces- flowers or leaves in the large class of 

sarily conclusive proof of their inde- things which have the power of restor- 

pendent origin. But the chronological ing life, or splitting rocks, or opening 

test, wherever it can be applied, dis- the earth and revealing hidden trea- 

penses with this inquiry. The presence sures. The snake leaves represent in 

of the story of the Snake Leaves in short the worms or stones which shatter 

India and in Germany in our own day rocks, the sesame which opens the rob- 

leaves it barely possible that it may bers' cave, and finally the vulgar hand 

have been taken straight from Germany of glory, which, when set on fire, aids 

to India, or from India to Germany ; the treasure-seeker in his search. All 

but when we find it in the pages of these fables Mr. Gould refers to one and 

Apollodoros, the fact of its having been the same object— lightning.— Curious 

known in Europe two thousand years Myths of the Middle Ages, second 

ago is established beyond dispute. It series, p. 145, &c. 


BOOK as bringing before us almost all the brute animals, whose names were 
*• once used as names of the sun. The two brothers lift their weapons 
to shoot a hare, which, begging for life, promises to give up two 
leverets. The hare is suffered to go free, and the huntsmen also 
spare the leverets, which follow them. The same thing happens with 
a fox, wolf, bear, and lion, and thus the youths journey, attended 
each by % five beasts, until they part, having fixed the knife into the 
trunk of a tree. The younger, like Perseus, comes to a town where 
all is grief and sorrow because the king's daughter is to be given up 
on the morrow to be devoured by a dragon on the summit of the 
dragon's mountain. Like Theseus and Sigurd, the young man 
becomes possessed of a sword buried beneath a great stone, and, 
like Perseus, he delivers the maiden by slaying the dragon. Then 
on the mountain-top the youth rests with the princess, having charged 
his beasts to keep watch, lest any one should surprise them. But 
the victory of the sun is followed by the sleep of winter, and the lion, 
overcome with drowsiness, hands over his charge to the bear, the 
bear to the wolf, the wolf to the fox, the fox to the hare, until all are 
still. The Marshal of the kingdom, 1 who here plays the part of 
Paris, now ascends the mountain, and, cutting off the young man's 
head, leads away the princess, whom, as the dragon-slayer, he claims 
as his bride. At length the sleep of the lion is broken by the sting 
of a bee, and the beast rousing the bear asks the reason of his failing 
to keep watch. The charge is passed from one beast to the other, 
until the hare, unable to utter a word in its defence, begs for mercy, 
as knowing where to find a root which, like the snake leaves, 
shall restore their master to life. A year has passed away, and the 
young man, again approaching the town where the princess lived, 
finds it full of merriment, because she is going on the morrow to be 
married to the Marshal. But the time of his humiliation is now past. 
The huntsman in his humble hostel declares to the landlord that he 
will this day eat of the king's bread, meat, vegetables, and sweet- 
meats, and drink of his finest wine. These are severally brought to 
him by the five beasts, and the princess, thus learning that her lover 
is not dead, advises the king to send for the master of these animals. 
The youth refuses to come unless the king sends for him a royal 
equipage, and then, arrayed in royal robes, he goes to the palace, 
where he convicts the Marshal of his treachery by exhibiting the 
dragon's tongues which he had cut off and preserved in a handker- 
chief bestowed on him by the princess, and by showing the necklace, 

1 In the romance of Tristram, the Steward of the King of Ireland plays the 
part of the Marshal. 


of which she had given a portion to each of his beasts, and which is, chap. 

in fact, the necklace of Freya and the Kestos or cestus of Ajphrodite. ■ : ■ 

But the tale is not told out yet, and it enters on another cycle of the 
sun's career. The youth is no sooner married to the princess than, 
like Odysseus or Sigurd, he is separated from her. Following a white 
doe into a forest, he is there deceived by a witch, at whose bidding 
he touches his beasts with a twig, and turns them into stones, and is 
then changed into a stone himself. Just at this time the younger 
brother returns to the place where the knife, now partially covered 
with rust, remained fixed in the tree. He becomes, of course, as in 
the myth of Baldur, the avenger of his brother, and the witch under- 
goes the doom of Punchkin or of the Giant who had no heart in his 
body ; but when he tells the younger brother that even his wife had 
taken him to be her husband, and admitted him into her chamber, 
the latter cuts off the elder's head. The magic root is again brought 
into use, and he learns how faithful his brother had been when his 
wife asks him why, on the two previous nights, he had placed a 
sword in the bed between them. The story thus, in its last incident, 
runs into the tales of Sigurd and the Arabian Allah-ud-deen. 1 

If we sought to prove the absolute identity of the great mass of Myths of 
Hindu, Greek, Norse, and German legends, we surely need go no the Moot,' 
further. Yet there are other points of likeness, at least as striking as *" d the 
any that have been already noticed, between the stories which in the 
East and West alike relate to the phenomena of night. In the 
Hindu tale the disguised wife of Logedas Raja finds Tara Bai on a 
gold and ivory throne. " She was tall and of a commanding aspect. 
Her black hair was bound by long strings of pearls, her dress was of 
fine-spun gold, and round her waist was clasped a zone of restless, 
throbbing, light-giving diamonds. Her neck and her arms were 
covered with a profusion of costly jewels, but brighter than all shone 
her bright eyes, which looked full of gentle majesty.'' But Tara Bai 
is the star (boy ) child, or maiden, the Asteropaios of the Iliad, of 
whom the Greek myth said only that he was the tallest of all their 
men, and that he was slain after fierce fight by Achilleus, whom he 
had wounded 8 Elsewhere she reappears as Polydeukes, the glittering 
twin brother of Kastor, and more particularly as the fairy Melusina, 
who is married to Raymond of Toulouse. This beautiful being, who 
has a fish's tail, as representing the moon which rises and sets in the 
sea, vanishes away when her full form is seen by her husband 8 In 

1 The Norse tale of Shortshanks * //. xxi. 1 66, &c. 

(Dasent) is made up in great part of 3 The name Melusina is identified by 

the materials of this story. Mr. Gould with that of the Babylonian 

9 8 



battle of 
light and 

another phase she is Kalypso, the beautiful night which veils the sun 
-- from mortal eyes in her chamber flashing with a thousand stars, and 
lulls to sleep the man of many griefs and wanderings. 1 Lastly, she is 
St. Ursula, with her eleven thousand virgins (the myriad stars), whom 
Cardinal Wiseman, in a spirit worthy of Herodotos, transforms into a 
company, or rather two companies, of English ladies, martyred by 
the Huns at Cologne, but whose mythical home is on Horselberg, 
where the faithful Eckhart is doomed to keep his weary watch. 
Labouring on in his painful rationalism, Cardinal Wiseman tells us 
of one form qf the legend which mentions a marriage-contract made 
with the father of St. Ursula, a very powerful king, by which it was 
arranged that she should have eleven companions, and each of these 
a thousand followers. 2 There are thus twelve, in addition to the 
eleven thousand attendants, and these twelve reappear in the Hindu 
tales, sometimes in dark, sometimes in lustrous forms, as the twelve 
hours of the day or night, or the twelve moons of the lunar year. 
Thus in the story of Truth's Triumph a raja has twelve wives, but 
mo children. At length he marries Guzra Bai, the flower girl, who 
bears him a hundred sons and one daughter ; and the sequel of the 
tale relates the result of their jealousy against these children and 
their mother. Their treacherous dealing is at last exposed, and 
they suffer the fate of all like personages in the German and Norse 

There is, in fact, no end to the many phases assumed by the 
struggle of these fairy beings, which is the warfare between light and 
darkness. But the bright beings always conquer in the end, and 
return like Persephone from the abode of Hades to gladden the 
heart of the Mater Dolorosa. 3 The child in the Deccan stories 
appears not only as Guzra Bai, but as Panch Phul Ranee, as Surya 
Bai, as the wife of Muchie Lai, the fish or frog-sun. 4 All these 

Mylitta, the Syrian moon-goddess. — 
Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, 
second series, "Melusina." 

Mr. Gould connects Melusina, as 
first seen close to a. fountain, with the 
Apsaras, or water-maidens, of Vedic 
mythology, and the swan maidens of 
Teutonic legend. She thus belongs to 
the race of Naiads, Nixies, and Elves, 
the latter name denoting a running 
stream, as the Elbe, the Alpheios. The 
fish's or serpent's tail is not peculiar to 
Melusina, and her attributes are also 
shared with the Assyrian fish-gods, and 
the Hellenic Proteus. 

1 Od. v. 60, Sec. 

2 Essays on Religion and Literature, 

edited by Archbishop Manning (1865), 
p. 252. 

3 Grote, History of Greece, i. 55. 

* The frog prince or princess is only 
one of the thou.' and personifications of 
names denoting originally the pheno- 
mena of clay and night. As carrying 
the morning light from the east to the 
west, the sun is the bull bearing Europe 
from the purple land (Phoinikia) ; and 
the same changes which converted the 
Seven Shiners into the Seven Sages, or 
the Seven Sleepers' of Ephesus, or the 
Seven Champions of Christendom, or 
the Seven Bears, transformed the sun 
into a wolf, a bear, a lion, a swan. As 
resting on the horizon in the morn- 



women are the daughters of a gardener or a milkwoman, in whom we 
see the image of Demeter, the bountiful earth, who lavishes on her ■ 
children her treasures of fruits, milk, and flowers. In her hand she 
holds her mystic cup, into which falls the ripe mango, which is her 
child transformed, as the ripe fruit falls on the earth. This cup, 
again, is the horn of Amaltheia, the table of the Ethiopians, of which 
Herodotos speaks as laden continually with all good things, the cup 
into which Helios sinks each night when his course is run, the 
modios of Serapis, 1 the ivory ewer containing the book of Solomon's 
occult knowledge, which Rehoboam placed in his father's tomb, the 
magic oil-bowl or lamp of Allah-ud-deen, and finally the San-Greal 
which furnishes to the knights of Arthur's round table as splendid a 
banquet as their hearts can desire. 



ing, he is Apollon swathed by the 
water-maidens in golden bands, or the 
wounded and forsaken Oidipous ; as 
lingering again on the water's edge 
before he vanishes from sight, he is the 
frog squatting on the water, a homely 
image of Endymion and Narkissos. In 
this aspect the sun is himself an apsara, 
or water-maiden ; and thus the Sanskrit 
Bheki is a beautiful girl, whom a king 
wins to be his wife on the condition 
that he is not to let her see a drop of 
water. Of course the king one day 
forgets his promise, shows her water, 
and Bheki vanishes. This is the 
counterpart to the legend of Melusina, 
who also dies if seen in the water. The 
sun and moon must alike sink when 
they reach the western sea. "This 
story," says Professor Max Muller, 
' ' was known at the time when Kapila 
wrote his philosophical aphorisms in 
India, for it is there quoted as an illus- 
tration. But long before Kapila, the 
story of Bheki must have grown up 
gradually, beginning with a short saying 
about the sun — such as that Bheki, the 
sun, will die at the sight of water, as 
we should say that the sun will set 
when it approaches the water from 
which it rose in the morning." — Chips 
from a German Workshop, ii. 248. In 
the Teutonic version, the change of 
the sun into the form of a frog is the 
result of enchantment ; but the story of 
the Frog Prince has more than one 
point of interest. The frog is com- 
pelled to iump into the fountain, out of 
which only the youngest daughter^ of 
the king has the power of drawing him. 
These daughters again are the com- 
panions of Ursula; the daughters of 

the raja who are jealous of their 
youngest sister ; the hours of the night, 
sombre in their beauty, and envious of 
the youngest and the fairest of all the 
hours, the hour of the dawn, which 
alone can bring the frog prince out of 
the pond. In the German story the 
enchantment can be ended only by the 
death of the frog ; but this answers to 
the burning of the enchanted raja's 
jackal skin in the Hindu tale. The 
sun leaping fully armed into the heaven 
as Chrysaor might well be another 
being from the infant whom the nymphs 
swathe with golden bands in his gleam- 
ing cradle. The warrior comes to life 
on the death of the child, and the frog 
on being dashed against the wall be- 
comes a beautiful prince. Of course he 
takes away his bride, " early in the 
morning as soon as the sun rose, in a 
carriage drawn by eight white horses 
with ostrich feathers on their heads, 
and golden bridles," the Harits who 
draw the car of Indra, the glistening 
steeds of Helios, the undying horses 
who are yoked to the chariot of Achil- 
leus. But with Achilleus comes Pa- 
troklos ; and as Luxman attends on 
Rama, so "Trusty Henry,' who comes 
with the carriage of the Frog Prince, 
represents the Faithful John of the 
Teutonic legend. 

1 Duncker, History of Antiquity, i. 
139. " The living Apis was called the 
Hapi-anch, or Living Apis," as the in- 
carnation of the god Ptah. " At his 
death he was canonized, and became 
Osir-Hapi," or the dead Apis— a name 
which the Greeks converted into Se- 
rapis. — Brown, Great Dionysiak Myth, 
i. 198 ; ii. 122. 


BOOK It is scarcely necessary to go further. If we do, we shall only be 

• v - - confronted by the same astonishing parallelism which is exhibited by 

the several versions of the stories already cited. The hypothesis of 
of Aryan conscious borrowing is either superfluous or dangerous. It is unne- 
foikiore. cggsary-j if adduced to explain the distant or vague resemblances in 
one story, while they who so apply it admit that it cannot account 
for the far more striking points of likeness seen in many others. It 
is dangerous because it may lead us to infer an amount of inter- 
course between the separated Aryan tribes for which we shall vainly 
seek any actual evidence. It is inadequate, because in a vast number 
of instances the point to be explained is not a similarity of ideas, but 
a substantial identity in the method of working them out, extending 
to the most unexpected devices and the subtlest turns of thought and 
expression. That the great mass of popular tradition has been thus 
imported from the East into the West, or from the West into the 
East, has never been maintained ; and any such theory would rest 
on the assumption that the folk-lore of a country may be created by 
a few scholars sitting over their books, and deliberately determining 
the form in which their stories shall be presented to the people. It 
would be safer to affirm, and easier to prove, that no popular stories 
have thus found their way from learned men to the common people 
The ear of the people has in all ages been deaf to the charming of 
the scholars, charm they never so wisely. Bookmen may, if they 
please, take up and adapt the stories of the people ; but the legend 
of "the Carter, the Dog, and the Sparrow " would never have found 
Its way into the nurseries of German peasants if written by Grimm 
himself in imitation of some other Aryan tale. The importation of 
one or two stories by means of written books is therefore a matter of 
very slight moment, so long as it is admitted that legends, displaying 
the most astonishing parallelism in the most distant countries of 
Europe and Asia, cannot be traced to any intercourse of the tribes 
subsequent to their dispersion from a common home. We thus have 
before us a vast mass of myths, fables, legends, stories, or by what- 
ever name they are to be called, some in a form not much advanced 
beyond the proverbial saying which was their kernel, others existing 
apparently only as nursery tales, others containing the germs of the 
great epics of the Eastern and the Western world. All these may be 
placed together in one class, as springing from phrases which at firsi 
denoted physical phenomena ; and enough has perhaps been already 
said to show that this class includes a very large proportion of strictly 
popular stories which seem at first sight to be in no way connected 
with epical mythology. There remain the comparatively few stories 


which seem to have had their origin in proverbs or adages ; and it is, chap. 

of course, possible that some or all of these may belong to those — — '■ 

more recent times when men had attained to some notion of the 
order of a moral world, to some idea of law and duty. But it is im- 
possible not to see that some at least of these stories turn on notions 
suggested by the older mythical speech. The dog and the parrot in 
the stories of the Carter and the Nautch-girl are weak things which 
bring down the pride of those who oppress the helpless ; but this is 
simply the character and the office of Boots in Teutonic stories, and 
Boots and Cinderella, Oidipous and Herakles, alike represent the 
sun, who, weak and powerless as he starts on his course, is at length 
victorious over all his enemies. The phenomena of nature present 
analogies to the order of the moral world, which are perhaps closer 
than theologians have imagined. If the words which we use to 
denote the most abstract ideas were at first mere names of sensible 
things, 1 the phrases which described the processes of nature must be 
capable of receiving a moral meaning. The story of the sun starting 
in weakness and ending, in victory, waging a long warfare against 
darkness, clouds, and storms, and scattering them all in the end, is 
the story of all heroism, of all patient self-sacrifice, of all Christian 
devotion. There is, therefore, nothing to surprise us if the phrases 
which we use with a spiritual meaning, and the proverbs in which we 
sum up our spiritual experience, should have been suggested by the 
very phenomena which furnished the groundwork of Aryan epic 
poetry. The tendency of physical science is to resolve complex 
agencies into a single force : the science of language seems to be 
doing the same work for the words and the thoughts of men. 

But the story of the heroes of Teutonic and Hindu folk-lore, the Historical 
stories of Boots and Cinderella, of Logedas Raja, and Surya Bai, ™™an 
are the story also of Achilleus and Oidipous, of Perseus and Theseus, pop" 1 ? 1 " 

J , . traditions. 

of Helen and Odysseus, of Baldur and Rustem and Sigurd. Every- 
where there is the search for the bright maiden who has been stolen 
away, everywhere the long struggle to recover her. 1 The war of Uion 
has been fought out in every Aryan land. Either, then, the historical 
facts which lie at the root of the narrative of the Iliad took place 
before the dispersion of the Aryan tribes from their common home, 
or they are facts which belong to the beautiful cloudiand, where the 
misty Ilion " rises into towers " at early dawn. 

' If theie be monotony in the charac- mythology when he said, " It is curious 

ter thus imparted to popular stories, the to remark at how little expense of in- 

monotony is not confined to these tales. vention successive ages are content to 

Sir Walter Scott was not thinking of receive amusement." 




The results obtained from an examination of Greek epic poetry, 
so far as it has come down to us, have a direct and important bearing 
on the mythology of northern Europe, and on the estimate which we 
must take of it. Of the general character of the Hellenic tribes 
we can form a notion more or less exact from the evidence of 
tome epics, contemporary documents, as soon as we reach the historical age ; 
but, whatever may be its defects or its vices, we are fully justified in 
saying that it is not the character of the great Achaian chieftains as 
exhibited either in the Iliad or the Odyssey. We have absolutely no 
warrant for the belief that the ancestors of Perikles or Themistokles, 
within ten or even more generations, were men who would approve 
the stabbing of enemies behind their backs, the use of poisoned 
arrows, and the butchery of captives deliberately set apart to grace 
the funeral sacrifices of a slain chief. Nay, more, we shall look in 
vain in any historical record for any portrait which will justify the 
belief that the picture of Achilleus in the Iliad is the likeness of an 
actual Achaian chieftain, while on any psychological analysis we 
seem to be driven to the conclusion that the character is one 
removed altogether from the bounds of humanity. If the analysis * 
of the character of Odysseus and Achilleus shows that almost every 
feature is traditional, and that the portraits, as a whole, are not 
of the poet's making, that the wisdom and the falsehood, the truth- 
fulness and the sullenness, whether of the one hero or the other, 
were impressed upon each by a necessity which no poet could resist, 
and that these conclusions are proved by the evidence, overwhelming 
in its amount, which shows that Achilleus and Odysseus are reflexions 
of Perseus, Theseus, Herakles, and these, again, of Phoibos and 
Helios, or of other deities who share their attributes — if the whole 
story which has gathered round the names of these great national 

1 For this analysis I must refer Science of Comparative Mythology, ch. ix. 
the reader to my Introduction to the section 2. 


heroes resolves itself into the cloudland of heaven with its never- chap. 

ceasing changes, we are at once justified in thinking that %: history ■ — li — • 

of the Teutonic heroes may be of much the same kind ; and if on 

examining it we not only find this suspicion borne out, but discern 

in it some of the most important incidents and sequences which 

mark the Greek legends, the conclusion is forced upon us that the 

Teutonic epics, like the Hellenic, are the fruit of one and the same 

tree which has spread its branches over all the Aryan lands, and that 

the heroes of these epics no more exhibit the actual character of 

Northmen and Germans than the portraits of the heroes in the Iliad 

and Odyssey are the pictures of actual Achaian chieftains. When 

we find further that the action in each case turns on the possession 

of a beautiful woman and the treasures which make up her dowry, 

that this woman is in each case seduced or betrayed, while the hero 

with his invincible weapons is doomed to an early death after the 

same stormy and vehement career, we see that we are dealing with 

materials which under different forms are essentially the same ; and 

our task becomes at each stage shorter and simpler. 

Hence as we begin the story of Volsung (who is Diogenes or the The Vol- 
son of Odin, his father Rerir and his grandfather Sigi being the only suns Iale - 
intermediate links), we suspect at once that we are carried away from 
the world of mortal men, when we find that he is one of those 
mysterious children whose birth from a mother destined never to see 
them 1 portends their future greatness and their early end ; and as we 
read further of the sword which is left for the strongest in the roof- 
tree of Volsung's hall, no room is left for doubt that we have before 
us the story of Theseus in another dress. The one-eyed guest with 
the great striped cloak and broad flapping hat, who buries the sword 
up to its hilt in the huge oak stem, 2 is Odin, the lord of the air, 
who in Teutonic mythology is like the Kyklops, one-eyed, as Indra 
Savitar is one-handed. But Aigeus in the Argive story is but one of 
the many names of Zeus Poseidon, and as the husband of Aithra, the 
ether, he also is lord of the air. In vain, when Odin has departed, 

1 So in the Hindu popular story, point of view, most important of the 

Vikramaditya (the child of Aditi, stories of fatal children is that of 

Kronos, or the Dawn-land of the East), Havelok the Dane, which has assumed 

is the son of Gandharba-sena. When its final shape as Hamlet under the hand 

his sire died, his grandfather, the deity of Shakespeare. For the history of 

Indra, resolved that "the babe should this myth and its variants, the tales of 

not be born, upon which his mother Argentile and Curan, &c., see Intro- 

stabbed herself. But the tragic event duetion to Comparative Mythology, 

duly happening during the ninth month, 304-309. 

Vikramaditya came into the world by 2 This tree grows through the roof 

himself." — Burton, Tales of Indian of the hall and spreads its branches 

Devilry, preface, p. xv. One of the far and wide in the upper air. It is 

most remarkable and, from a certain manifestly the counterpart of Yggdrasil. 


BOOK do Siggeir, the husband of Volsung's daughter Signy, and the other 
• guests at her marriage-feast, strive to draw the sword. It remains 
motionless in the trunk until it is touched by Sigmund, 1 the youngest 
and bravest of Volsung's sons — a reproduction in part of Volsung 
himself, as Odysseus is of Autolykos. To Sigmund's hand, as to 
Arthur, the sword yields itself at once, without an effort. Theseus 
lifts the huge stone beneath which Aigeus had placed his magic 
sword and sandals. The weapon of the Greek story is the sword 
of Chrysaor ; that of the Teutonic legend is the famous Gram, the 
Excalibur of Arthur and the Durandal of Roland, and Sigmund thus 
becomes, like Achilleus, the possessor of an irresistible arm. In 
truth, the whole myth of Volsung and his children is but a repetition, 
in all its phases, of that great drama of Greek mythology which begins 
with the loss of the golden fleece and ends with the return of the 
Herakleidai. This drama represents the course or history of the sun 
in all its different aspects, as ever young or growing old, as dying or 
immortal, as shooting with poisoned weapons or as hating a lie like 
death, as conquering the powers of darkness or as smitten by their 
deadly weapons; and thus in the defeat of Sigmund we have an 
incident belonging as strictly to the solar myth as the victory of 
Achilleus over Hektor, or the discomfiture of the Sphinx by Oidipous. 
It could not be otherwise. Odin and Phoibos live while Baldur and 
Asklepios die, but these rise again themselves or live in their children. 
So, too, there must be a struggle between Siggeir and Sigmund for 
the possession of Gram, for Siggeir stands to Sigmund in the 
relation of Polydektes to Perseus, or of Paris to Menelaos. But he 
is the dark being regarded for the present as the conqueror, and 
Sigmund and his ten brothers, the hours of the sunlit day, are taken 
and bound. The ten brothers are slain ; Sigmund himself is saved 
by his sister Signy, and with his son Sinfiotli, now runs as a were- 
wolf through the forest, the Lykeian or wolf-god wandering through 
the dark forest of the night — a dreary picture which the mythology 
of sunnier lands represented under the softer image of the sleeping 
Helios sailing in his golden cup from the western to the eastern 
ocean. But the beautiful Signy is no other than Penelope, and 

1 The Sigmund of Beowulf and the many or most mythical champions, can 

Volsung Tale bears a name which is an be wounded only in one part of his 

epithet of Odin, the giver of victory. body. If again Fafnir, when dying by 

He is drawn by Regin from the trunk his hand, tells him of the things which 

of a poplar tree, he is loved by the shall happen hereafter, we must remem- 

Valkyrie Brynhild, and instructed by ber that the Pythian dragon guarded 

the wise Gripir, as Achilleus and other the oracle of Delphi. — Grimm, Deutsche 

heroes are taught by Cheiron. He Mythologie, 343. 
wtars the invisible helmet, and like 


Siggeir's followers are the suitors who eat up the substance of Sigmund, chap. 

as they had deprived him of his armour. There remains therefore : — • 

to be wrought again a vengeance like that of Odysseus : and when 
Sinfiotli is, like Telemachos, strong enough to help his father, the 
two, like the Ithakan chieftains, burn up Siggeir and all his followers, 
the mode in which they are slain pointing to the scorching heat 
of the sun not less clearly than the deadly arrows which stream from 
the bow of Odysseus. Sigmund now regains his heritage, and for him, 
as for Odysseus, there follows a time of serene repose. Like Nestor, 
who is exaggerated in Tithonos, he reaches a good old age : but as 
Odysseus must yet go through the valley of death, so Sigmund has to 
fight the old battle over again, and is slain in a war with the sons of 
King Hunding, in whom are reflected the followers of Siggeir. But 
Achilleus is slain only when Apollon guides the spear of Paris ; and so 
when Sigmund's hour is come, the one-eyed man with the flapping hat 
and the blue garment (of ether) is seen again. As he stretches out his 
spear, Sigmund strikes against it his good sword Gram, and the blade- 
is shivered in twain. The hero at once knows that Odin stands before 
him, and prepares to die on the battle-field. But Iole stood by the 
funeral pile of Herakles, and Sigmund dies in the arms of his young 
wife Hjordis, youthful as Daphne or Arethousa, " refusing all leech- 
craft and bowing his head to Odin's will," as in the Trojan myth 
Paris cannot be healed even though Oinone would gladly save him. 

So ends the first act of the great drama ; but the wheel has only The Story 
to make another turn, and bring back the same series of events with ° Sl S urd - 
slight differences of names and colouring. Sigmund leaves Hjordis 
the mother of an unborn babe, the Phoibos, who is the child of Leto, 
and of the Sun who sank yestereve beneath the western waters. This 
child, who receives the name of Sigurd, is bom in the house of Hial- 
prek, who is localised as king of Denmark, but who represents Laios 
or Akrisios in the Theban and Argive legends ; and these, we need 
not say, are simply reflexions of Vritra, the being who wraps all 
things in the veil of darkness. Sigurd himself is the favourite hero 
of northern tradition. Like Achilleus, he is the destined knight who 
succeeds where all others have failed before him. Troy cannot fall 
if the son of Peleus be absent ; Fafnir cannot be slain, nor Brynhild 
rescued, except by the son of Sigmund. Physically, there is no 
difference between them. Both have the keen blue eyes, and golden 
locks, and invincible weapons of Phoibos and Athene ; on both alike 
rests the glory of a perfect beauty ; and to both their weapons and 
their armour come from the god of fire. But in the Norse story 
there is a connexion between Regin, the mysterious smith of King 


BOOK Hialprek, and the dragon Fafnir, which cannot be traced between 

• *' _. Hephaistos and the Delphian Python, but which is fully explained by 

the differences of a northern and a mediterranean climate. In the 
Norse story, there is enmity between Fafnir and Regin, between the 
serpent who has coiled round the treasure of Brynhild (as the Panis 
hide the cows of Indra), and the faculties of life and growth repre- 
sented by the dwarfs to whose race Regin belongs. 1 Regin, in short, 
is one of that class of beings who supply warmth and vigour to all 
living things ; Fafnir is the simple darkness or cold, which is the 
mere negation of life and light. Hence from Regin comes the bid- 
ding which charges Sigurd to slay Fafnir ; but the mode in which 
this enmity is said to have been excited is singularly significant. In 
their wanderings, Odin, Loki, and Hahnir, the gods of the glistening 
heavens, come to a river where, nigh to a ford, an otter is eating 
a salmon with its eyes shut. Loki, slaying the beast with a stone, 
boasts that at one throw he has got both fish and flesh. This is the 
first blow dealt by the lords of light to the powers of cold and dark- 
ness : but the way is as yet by no means open before them. Many 
a day has yet to pass, and many a hero yet to fall, before the beauti- 
ful summer can be brought out from the prison-house hedged in by 
its outwork of spears or ice. The slain otter is a brother of Fafnir 
and Regin, and a son of Reidmar. in whose house the three gods 
ask shelter, showing at the same time their spoil. At Reidmar's bid- 
ding his two surviving sons bind Loki, Odin, and Hahnir, who are 
not set free until they promise to fill the otter's skin with gold, and so 
to cover it that not a white hair shall be seen — in other words, the 
powers of the bright heaven are pledged to loosen the ice-fetters of 
the earth, and destroy every sign of its long bondage. But the gold 
is the glistening treasure which has been taken away when Perse- 
phone" was stolen from her mother Demeter and Brynhild left to 
sleep within the walls of flame. Hence Loki must discharge the 
office of Hermes when he goes to reclaim the maiden from the rugged 
lord of Hades ; and thus Odin sends Loki to the dwelling of the dark 
elves, where he compels the dwarf Andvari (who reappears as Albe- 
rich in the Nibelung legend) to give up the golden treasures which 

1 "The dwarfs of Teutonic my tho- qualities." Bunsen (God in History, 

logy are distinguished from its giants, ii. 484) rightly adds, "The word must 

because they do not, like the latter, be a simple Teutonic one, and we most 

represent the wild and lawless energies likely come on the traces of its primary 

of nature, but the contrivance and significance in our word Zwerch, as 

wonderful properties present in the equivalent to quer, wicked or cross, 

mineral and vegetable kingdoms, and the intellectual application of which has 

shown in form and shape, in colour survived in the English queer." 
and growth, in various hurtful or useful 


he had hoarded in the stony caves, whose ice-like walls answer to the , CHAP. 
dismal den of the Vedic Panis. One ring alone Andvafi seeks to -J2: — ■ 
keep. It is the source of all his wealth, and ring after ring drops 
from it He wishes, in other words, to keep his hold of the summer 
itself as represented by the symbol of the reproductive power in 
nature. The ring is the magic necklace of Harmonia and Eriphyle, 
the kestos of Aphrodite, the ship of Isis and Atheng, the Yoni of 
Vishnu, the Argo which bears within itself all the chieftains of the 
Achaian lands. Andvari prays in vain, but before he surrenders the 
ring, he lays on it a curse, which is to make it the bane of every man 
who owns it. It is, in short, to be the cause of more than one 
Trojan war, 1 the Helen who is to bring ruin to the hosts who seek to 
rescue her from thraldom. The beauty of the ring tempts Odin to 
keep it, but the gold he yields to Reidmar. It is, however, not 
enough to hide all the white hairs of the otter's skin. One yet 
remains visible, and this can be hidden only by the ring which Odiir 
is thus compelled to lay upon it, as the ice cannot be wholly melted 
till the full warmth of summer has come back to the earth. Thus the 
three ^Esir go free, but Loki lays again on the ring the curse of the 
dwarf Andvari. The working of this curse is seen first in the death 
of Reidmar, who is slain by Regin and Fafnir, because he refuses to 
share with them the gold which he had received from the ^Esir. The 
same cause makes Regin and Fafnir enemies. Fafnir will not yield 
up the treasure, and taking a dragon's form he folds his coils around 
the golden heaps upon the glistening heath, as the Python imprisons 
the fertilising streams at Delphoi. Thus foiled, Regin beseeches 
Sigurd to sniite the dragon ; but even Sigurd cannot do this without 
a sword of sufficient temper. Regin forges two, but the blades of 
both are shivered at the first stroke. Sigurd exclaims bitterly that 
the weapons are untrue, like Regin and all his race, — a phrase which 
points with singular clearness to the difference between the subter- 
ranean fires and the life-giving rays of the sun, which alone can 
scatter the shades of night or conquer the winter's cold. It is clear 
that the victory cannot be won without the sword which Odin drove 
into the oak trunk, and which had been broken in the hands of 
Sigmund. But the pieces remain in the keeping of Hjordis, the 
mother of Sigurd, and thus the wife of Sigmund plays here precisely 
the part of Thetis. In each case the weapons with which the hero is 
to win his victory come through the mother, and in each case they 

1 This ring reappears with precisely and it is absurd to suppose that such a 
the same qualities and consequences in series of incidents was constantly recur- 
many of the sagas of Northern Europe ; ring in actual history. 


BOOK are forged or welded by the swarthy fire-god ; but the Norse tale is 
; • even more true than the Homeric legend, for the sword which smites 

the darkness to-day is the same blade which the enemies of the sun 
yestereve snapped in twain. With the sword thus forged from the 
shattered pieces of Gram Regin bids Sigurd smite the Dragon : but 
the hero must first avenge his father's death, and King Hunding, his 
sons, and all his host are slain, like the suitors by the arrows of 
Odysseus, before Sigurd goes forth on his good steed Gran, which 
Odin had brought to him as Athene" brought Pegasos to Bellerophon, 
to encounter the guardian of the earth's treasures. But no sooner is 
the Dragon slain than Regin in his turn feels the desire of vengeance 
for the very deed which he had urged Sigurd to do, and he insists 
that the hero shall bring him his brother's heart roasted. Then filling 
himself with Fafnir's blood, Regin lies down to sleep, and Sigurd, as 
he roasts the heart, wonders whether it be soft, and putting a portion 
to his lips, finds that he understands the voices of the birds, who, 
singing over his head, bid him eat it all and become the wisest of 
men, and then, cutting off Regin's head, take possession of all his 
gold. This is manifestly the legend of Iamos and Melampous, while 
the wisdom obtained by eating the heart of Fafnir has a further con- 
nexion with the Python as the guardian of the Delphic oracle. 1 
The rescue With this exploit begins the career of Sigurd as Chrysaor. As 
hiid ryn Achilleus is taught by Cheiron, so is Sigurd instructed by Gripir, the 
wise man, and thus in the fulness of wisdom and strength, with his 
golden hair flowing over his shoulders, and an eye whose glance 
dazzled all who faced it, he rides over the desolate heath, until he 
comes to the circle of flame within which sleeps the Valkyrie Bryn- 
hild. 2 No other horse but Gran can leap that wall of fire, no knight 

1 Grimm regards the words Python the Odysseus who wanders very far 
and Fafnir as standing to each other in over many lands, after the fall of Ilion, 
the relation of 6)ip and (piip. "Die which again answers to the slaying of 
Erlegung des Drachen Fafnir gemahnt the dragon. The Fitela of Beowulf is 
an Tlv9av, den Apollo besiegte, und wie clearly the Sinfibtli of the Volsung tale. 
Python das delfische Orakel hiitete, For some remarks on the comparative 
weissagt der steibende Fafnir." — antiquity of these two legends see 
Deutsche Mythologie, 345. In the lay Ludlow, Popular Epics of the Middle 
of Beowulf this serpent or dragon ap- Ages, i. 41. The substantial identity 
pears under the name Grendel ; and, in of the two myths renders the question 
fact, the whole story of Sigurd is in of date of comparatively little import- 
that poem related substantially, although ance. The real point for consideration 
not with the same fulness of detail, of is that these stories are further identical 
Sigmund the father of Beowulf, the with the sagas of the three Helgis, and 
Waelsing, who, having slain the worm, of Baldur, and thus also with the myths 
becomes the possessor of the ring hoard of Adonis, Dionysos, Sarpedon, Mem- 
which he may enjoy at pleasure. Like non, and other gods and heroes of 
the Norse Sigurd, Sigmund is "of Hellenic tradition. 
, wanderers by far the greatest through- a Brynhild, as we might suppose, 
out the human race :' ' he is, in short, reappears in many Teutonic stories. In 




but Sigurd can guide him across that awful barrier : but at his touch chap. 
the maiden is roused from the slumber which had lasted«since Odin *- 
thrust the thorn of sleep or winter into her cloak, like the Rakshas' 
claw which threw the little sun-girl of the Hindu tale into her magic 
trance. At once she knows that before her stands the only man who 
never knew fear, the only man who should ever have her as his bride. 
But Brynhild also has the gift of marvellous wisdom, and as the 
Teutonic Alrune, 1 she reflects the knowledge of the Greek Athene' 
and the Latin Minerva. From her Sigurd receives all the runes, but 
these scarcely reveal to him so much- of the future as had been laid 
bare for him in the prophecies of Gripir. 2 By the latter he had been 
told that Brynhild (like Helen) would work him much woe : but 
Brynhild knew, as Sigurd rode on to the hall of Giuki the Niflung, 
that her place was now to be taken by another, and that her own lot 
was to be that of Ariadne, Aithra, Oinone, or Medeia. It is the old 
tale, repeated under a thousand different forms. The bright dawn 
who greeted the newly risen sun cannot be with him as he journeys 
through the heaven ; and the bride whom he weds in her stead is 
nearer and more akin to the mists of evening or the cold of winter. 
Thus Gudrun, loving and beautiful as she is, is still the daughter of 
Niflung, the child of the mist, and stands to Sigurd precisely in the 
relation of Deianeira to Herakles, as the unwitting cause of her hus- 
band's ruin. But Brynhild yet lives, and Gunnar, who, like Hogni or 
Hagene, is a son of the Niflung and brother of Gudrun, seeks to have 

the story of Strong Hans (Grimm), she 
is the chained maiden who is guarded 
by the dwarf (Andvari). When Hans 
(Sigurd) slays the dwarf, the chains im- 
mediately fall off her hands. In the 
story of the True Bride, the prince is as 
faithless as Sigurd, but the princess 
recovers him in the end with the hap- 
pier lot of Penelop£. In the story of 
the Woodcutter's Child the Knight has 
to cut his way through the thorny 
hedges, as Sigurd has to ride through 
the flames. As the fearless hero, Sigurd 
is the theme of the story of the " Prince 
who was afraid of Nothing," and whose 
fortunes are much like those of the 
deliverer of Brynhild. 

1 The Aurinia of Tacitus, Germ. 8. 
— Bunsen, God in History, ii. 454. 

* With the runes he also receives a 
great deal of good advice, pointing pre- 
cisely to those features in the myths of 
Phoibos, Helios, Hermes, and Hera- 
kles, which, when translated into the 
conditions of human morality, become 
faults or vices; Helios may burn his 

enemies without scruple or shame, but 
Sigurd must not do this, nor must he 
be, like Indra and Paris, yvvaipavks, 
nor a liar like Odysseus. The warn- 
ings which she adds are much of the 
same sort. 

The winter sleep of Brynhild is tra- 
vestied in the later story of Dietrich 
and Sigenot (Ludlow, Popular Epics, 
i. 263). Dietrich is here the Sigurd or 
bright hero, who wears the helmet of 
Grein whom he has slain, and who is 
the nephew of the giant Sigenot. Sige- 
not now carries off Dietrich and shuts 
him up in a hollow stone or tower, 
where, like Ragnar Lodbrog, he is 
attacked by many a strong worm or 
serpent — the snakes of night. One of 
his followers tries to raise him by a. 
rope, which breaks, and Dietrich tells 
him that the wounds which he has 
received cannot be healed. Things, 
however, turn out better than he ex- 
pects ; but the one night which he 
spent in the house seemed to him as 
thirty years. 


BOOK her as his wife. His desire can be satisfied only through Sigurd, who 


by the arts and philtres of Grimhild has been made to forget his first 
love and betroth himself to Gudrun. In vain Gunnar x strives to ride 
through the flames that encircle Brynhild, until at last, by the arts of 
Grimhild, Sigurd is made to change shapes and arms with Gunnar, 
and, mounting on Gran, to force Brynhild to yield. Thus Sigurd 
weds the Valkyrie in Gunnar's form, and lies down by her side with 
the unsheathed blade of Gram between them. 2 In the morning he 
gives to Brynhild the ring which was under the double curse of 
Andvari and Loki, receiving from her another ring in return. This 
ring is necessarily connected with the catastrophe ; but in the mode 
by which it is brought about, the Northern poets were left free to 
follow their fancy. In the Volsung tale, Gudrun and Brynhild are 
washing their hair in the same stream, when Brynhild says that no 
water from Gudrun's head shall fall upon her own, as her husband is 
braver than Gudrun's. When Gudrun replies that Sigurd, to whom 
she was wedded, had slain Fafnir and Regin and seized the hoard, 
Brynhild answers that Gunnar had done yet a braver deed in riding 
through the flames which surrounded her. A few words from Gudrun 
show her how things really are, and that the seeming Gunnar who 
had placed on her finger the ring won from the spoils of Andvari was 
really Sigurd who had transferred to Gudrun the ring which he had 
received from Brynhild. Thus her old love is re-awakened, only to 
be merged in the stinging sense of injustice which makes Oinone" in 
one version of the myth refuse to heal the wounded Paris, and leads 
Deianeira to resolve on the death of Herakles. The three instances 
are precisely the same, although Oinone is of the three the most 
gentle and the most merciful. But in all there is the consciousness 

* "Gunnar Gjukason seems to sig- story of the Two Brothers, and in the 

nify darkness, and thus we see that the romance of Tristram. In the Norse 

awakening and budding spring is gone, legend of the Big Bird Dan, who is no 

carried away by Gunnar, like Proser- other than the Arabian Roc, the princess 

pine by Pluto ; like SitS. by Ravana. lays the bare sword between her and 

Gudrun, the daughter of Grimhild, and Ritter Red. Sir G. W. Dasent adds 

sometimes herself called Grimhild, many more instances, as the story of 

whether the latter name meant summer Hr61f and Ingegerd, of Tristan and Isolt, 

(cf. Gharma in Sanskrit), or the earth and he rightly insists that " these mythi- 

and nature in the latter part of the cal deep-rooted germs, throwing out 

year, is a. sister of the dark Gunnar, fresh shoots from age to age in the 

and though now married to the bright popular literature of the race, are far 

Sigurd, she belongs herself to the more convincing proofs of the early 

nebulous regions." — Max Muller, Chips, existence of their traditions than any 

ii. no. For some analysis of the mere external evidence." — Norse Tales, 

Ramayana, which tells the story of introduction, cxlii. It is certainly worth 

Sita, Rama, and Ravana, see Introduc- noting that the incident is related also 

Hon to Comparative Mythology, 347. of Allah-ud-deen in the Arabian Nights' 

2 This incident recurs in Grimm's legend. 


of betrayal and the determination to punish it, and the feeling which chap. 
animates them is reflected again in the hate of Helen foj Paris after — — : — 
he has shut her up in Ilion. Thus Brynhild urges Gunnar to avenge 
her on Sigurd, like the summer twilight allying itself with the powers 
of winter to blot out the glory of the sun from the heavens. But 
Gunnar and his brothers cannot accomplish her will themselves : 
they have made a compact of friendship with Sigurd, and they must 
not break their oath. But Guttorm their half-brother is under no 
such covenant, and so this being, who represents the cold of winter, 
plunges a sword into the breast of Sigurd, who is sleeping in the arms 
of Gudrun. This weapon is the thorn which is fatal to the Persian 
Rustem and the gentle Surya Bai of modern Hindu folk-lore. But 
Sigurd is mighty even in death, and the blade Gram, hurled by his 
dying hand, cleaves Guttorm asunder, so that the upper part of his 
body fell out of the chamber, while the lower limbs remained in the 
room. The change which his death causes in the mind of Brynhild 
answers precisely to the pity which Oinone" feels when her refusal to 
heal Paris has brought about his death. Like Helen, who hates her- 
self, or is hated, for bringing ruin on ships, men, and cities, she 
bewails the doom which brought her into the world for everlasting 
damage and grief of soul to many men. Like Deianeira, and Oinone, 
and Kleopatra, she feels that without the man whom she loves life is 
not worth living for, and thus she lies down to die on the funeral pile 
of Sigurd. 

The sequel reproduces the same incidents under other names, The Story 
and with different colours. As Sigurd, like Theseus and Herakles, of Gudrun - 
first woos the Dawn, and then has to dwell with the maiden who 
represents the broad and open day, so Gudrun, the loving companion 
of the Sun in his middle journey, has to mourn his early death, and 
in her widowhood to become the bride, first of the gloaming, then of 
the darkness. Between these there is a necessary enmity, but their 
hatred only serves the more thoroughly to avenge the death of 
Sigurd. Atli, the second husband of Gudrun, claims all the gold 
which Sigurd had won from the dragon, but which the chieftains of 
Niflheim had seized when he died. In fair fight he could never 
hope to match them ; so Atli invites Hogni (Haugn or Hagen) and 
Gunnar to a feast, in which he overpowers them. Hogni's heart is 
then cut out, an incident which answers to the roasting of the heart 
of Fafhir ; and as the latter is associated with the recovery of the 
golden treasure, so the former is connected with the subsequent loss 
which answers to the coming on of the night when the sun has 
reached the end of his glorious course. When Sigurd died, Gunnar 


BOOK and his brothers had thrown the hoard into the Rhine — the water 

._ J • which receives Endymion as he plunges into his dreamless sleep ; and 

the secret of it is lost when Gunnar is cast into a pit full of snakes, all 
of whom, like Orpheus, he lulls to sleep by his harping, except one 
which flies at his heart, and kills him — a tale told over again in the 
transparent myth of Thora, Aslauga, and Ragnar Lodbrog. Thus 
the beings who, though they might be akin to the mist and cold of 
night, had made a covenant of peace and friendship with Sigurd, are 
all gone, and to Gudrun remains the task of avenging them. The 
story of her vengeance is practically a repetition of the legend of 
Medeia. Like the Kolchian woman, she slays the two sons whom 
she had borne to Atli ; but the ferocity of the Northern sentiment 
colours the sequel in which we see a sunset as blood-red and 
stormy as that in which Herakl£s rose from earth to the mansions of 
the undying gods. Gudrun makes Atli eat the flesh and drink the 
blood of his sons : and then, having slain him as he sleeps, by the 
aid of the son of her brother Hogni, she sets fire to the hall, and 
consumes everything within it. The shades of autumn are now fast 
closing in, and Gudrun, weary of her life, hastens to the sea shore to 
end her woes by plunging into the deep. But the waters carry her 
over to the land of King Jonakr, who makes her his bride, and she 
now becomes the mother of three sons, Saurli, Hamdir, and Erp, 
whose raven black hair marks them as the children of clouds and 
darkness. Once more the magic wheel revolves, and in the fortunes 
of Svanhild, the daughter of Sigurd and Gunnar, we see the destiny 
of the fateful Helen. Like her, Svanhild is the most beautiful of 
women, and Hermanric, the Gothic king, sends his son Randver to 
woo her for him ; but the young man is advised by the treacherous 
Bikki to woo her for himself, and he follows the counsel which 
chimes in only too well with his own inclinations, as with those of 
Svanhild, Hermanric orders that his son shall be hanged. Presently 
he receives a plucked hawk which Randver had sent to show him 
the weakness of parents who deprive themselves of the support of 
their children, and he gives orders to stop the execution. The 
messenger comes too late, Randver is already slain ; and Svanhild is 
trampled to death by the steeds of Hermanric's horsemen as she 
combs out her golden locks. But Hermanric must pay the penalty 
for his ill-doing not less than Sigurd 01 Atli. Gudrun's command 
goes forth to her three Niflung sons, Saurli, Hamdir, and Erp, to 
avenge Svanhild ; and thus, armed with helmets and cased in mail 
which no weapons can pierce, they take the way to the house of 
Hermanric As they go, the Niflungs quarrel among themselves, 


and Saurli and Hamdir slay Erp, because he is his mother's darling. 1 CHAP. 
The two brothers cut off Hermanric's hands and feet; But Erp is — — - 1 — •• 

not there to smite off his head, and Hermanric has strength to call 
out to his men, who bind the Niflungs and stone them to death, 
by the advice of a one-eyed man who tells them that no steel can 
pierce their panoply. Here the one-eyed man is again the stranger 
who had left the sword in the oak tree of Volsung's hall, and the 
men of Hermanric answer to the Achaians in their struggle with the 
robbers of Ilion. It was time, however, that the tale should end, 
and it is brought to a close with the death of Gudrun, for no other 
reason probably than that the revolutions of the mythic wheel must 
be arrested somewhere. The difference between the climates of 
northern and southern Europe is of itself enough to account for 
the more cheerful ending of the Hellenic story in the triumphant 
restoration of the Herakleidai. 

The very fact that in all this story there is, as we have seen, Helgi 
scarcely an incident which we do not find in the traditions of other Sa £ as - 
Aryan nations or tribes, renders it impossible to judge of the character 
of Northmen or Germans from the legends themselves. It is pos- 
sible, of course, and even likely that the poets or narrators have in 
each case thrown over the characters and events of their tale a colour- 
ing borrowed from the society of the time ; but that as portraits of 
actual manners they are gross and impossible exaggerations we are 
justified in concluding not only from the story itself, but from the 
recurrence of the myth in many lands unchanged in its essence, and 
even in its most prominent features. It is thrice repeated in the 
legends of the three Helgis, who, it is scarcely necessary to say, are 
mere reflexions, the one of the others. These are the holy ones, or 

1 The story of this murder has him. A little farther on Saurli stum- 
worked its way into the traditional bled and fell forward, but saved himself 
history of .<Ethelstan and Godwine. At with one hand, and said, ' Here hand 
the least, it seems impossible to shut helps foot ; better were it that Erp 
our eyes to the striking similarity of lived.' So they came on Hermanric as 
these stories ; and as their non-histori- he slept, and Saurli hewed off his 
cal character in the case of^Ethelstan hands, and Hamdir his feet, but he 
and Godwine has been placed beyond awoke and called for his men. Then 
reach of questioning, we are the more said Hamdir, ' Were Erp alive, the 
justified in saying that the old myth head would be off, and he couldn't call 
has served as the foundation of the out.'" In the story of yEthelstan and 
later legend. The Volsung story runs of Godwine we have the same phrases 
as follows : — "As the three went along, about the hands and feet ; in each case 
the two asked Erp what help he would a brother is slain, and in each case the 
give them when they got to Hermanric. loss of this brother is subsequently felt 
' Such as hand lends to foot,' he said. as a source of weakness. For the 
' No help at all,' they cried ; and pass- several shapes assumed by the legend 
ing from words to blows, and because see Freeman, Norman Conquest, ii. 
their mother loved Erp best, they slew 611-12. 





The first 




saviours, who make whole or restore life, like the Paieon or Asklepios 
• of Greek mythology. 1 

Of these Helgis, the first is called the son of Hiorvardur, and he 
is loved by Swava, the daughter of King Eilimir. But his brother 
Hedin makes a vow on the yule eve that Swava shall be his wife, not 
the bride of Helgi. He has been misled by the sorceress Hrimgerda, 
who seeks to make him her own, as Kirke and Kalypso use all their 
arts to detain Odysseus ; but the northern hero is more scrupulous 
than the Ithakan chieftain, and he not only rejects her love, but 
compels her to prophesy till the day dawns and her power is at an 
end, — a sufficiently clear token of her nature. Soon, however, he 
repents him of the oath which the sorceress had led him to take, and 
he confesses his guilt to Helgi, who, foreboding his own death in the 
coming struggle with Alfur, the son of Hrodmar, promises that when 
he is slain Swava shall be Hedin's. When he has received the death- 
wound, he tells Swava of this promise ; but she refuses to abide by 
it or to have any other husband but Helgi, and Helgi in his turn 
declares that though he must now die, he will come back again when 
his death has been avenged. This is manifestly the avenging of 
Baldur, and Helgi is thus another form of Adonis, or Memn6n, or 
Dionysos. The younger brother is the waning autumn sun, who 
thinks to obtain his brother's wife when the sun of summer has lost 
its power. 

At the birth of the second Helgi, known as Hundingsbana, the 
Nomas came and fixed the lot of the babe, like the Moirai in the 
legend of Meleagros. 2 When fifteen years old, he slays King Hund- 
ing and his sons, and afterwards wins the love of Sigrun, daughter of 
Hogni, who, like Swava, is a Valkyrie and a sister of Bragi and Dag, 
the brilliant heaven and the day. She promises Helgi that she will 
be his wife if he will vanquish the sons of Granmar, the bearded 
spirit, to one of whom she had been betrothed. Thus again we have 
the woman whom two heroes seek to obtain, the Helen for whom 
Menelaos and Paris contend together. In the battle which follows, 
Sigrun, as a Valkyrie, cheers him on, and Dag alone is spared of all 
the sons of Granmar. But although Dag swears allegiance to the 

1 They are the Alcis mentioned by 
Tacitus, Germ. 43, as worshipped by 
the Naharvali, and as answering to the 
Roman Castor and Pollux. They are 
the Teutonic Dioskouroi or Asvins ; 
and for the loss of the aspirate in the 
name as given by Tacitus, Bunsen cites 
the analogous forms Irmin and Her- 
man, Isco and Hisicion. — God in 

History, ii. 470. 

2 He is also identified as Hermod- 
hur, Heermuth, the son of Odin, who 
is sent to fetch up Baldur from the 
under world and is thus the returning 
or conquering sun who comes back 
after the winter solstice. — Bunsen, God 
in History, ii. 471. 


Volsungs, he yet treacherously stabs Helgi (another of jthe many chap. 
forms of Baldur's death), and tells Sigrun that he is dead. The — — ^ — - 
sequel, although essentially the same, shows the working of a new 
vein of thought. Sigrun curses Dag as one who had broken his 
oath, and refuses to live 

Unless a glory should break from the prince's grave, 

And Vigblar the horse should speed thither with him ; 

The gold-bridled steed becomes him whom I fain would embrace. 

Her tears disturb the repose of Helgi in his grave, and he rebukes 
her as making his wounds burst open afresh. But Sigrun is not to 
be scared or driven away. She prepares a common resting-place for 
him and for herself, a couch free from all care, and enters of her own 
free will the land of the dead. 

" Nothing I now declare Unlooked for, 

At Sefafioll Late or early, 

Since in a corpse's ■ Arms thou sleepest, 

Hogni's fair daughter, In a mound, 

And thou art living, Daughter of kings. 

Time 'tis for me to ride On the reddening ways ; 

Let the pale horse Tread the aerial path ; 

I toward the west must go Over Vindhialm's bridge, 

Ere Salgofnir Awakens heroes." l 

The third Helgi, Haddingaheld, is but a reproduction of the second The Thiro. 
Helgi, while Kara, the daughter of Halfdan, takes the place of Swava e gI ' 
or Sigrun. In all these tales the heroes and the heroines stand in 
precisely the same relations to each other ; 2 and thus, having seen 
that the myths of these heroes merely reproduce the legends of 
Baldur and of Sigurd the Volsung, we are prepared for the conclu- 
sion that the story of Siegfried, in the Lay of the Nibelungs, is only 
another form of the oft-repeated tale. For the most part the names 
are the same, as well as the incidents. The second Helgi is a son of 
Sigmund, his mother also being called Sigurlin ; and so Sigurd of the 
Volsung and Siegfried of the Nibelung Saga are each the son of Sig- 
mund. The slaying of Hunding by Helgi answers to the slaughter 
of Fafnir and Regin by Sigurd, Siegfried being also a dragon-slayer 
like Phoibos, or Oidipous, or Herakles. So too, as Sigurd first won 
the love of Brynhild and then marries Gudrun, for whose brother 

1 Second Lay of Helgi Hundings- among the German people." — God in 

bana, 46, 47. This is the legend of History, ii. 466. For the resurrection 

Lenore, of which Eunsen says that of Helgi and Sigrun see Introduction 

" Burger caught the soul of the story to Comparative Mythology, p. 289. 

as it was on the point of extinction, s For a tabularview of these paral- 

and lent it a new and immortal life lelisms see Bunsen," to. 470, &c. 





he finally wins Brynhild as a wife, so Siegfried in his turn marries 
Kriemhild, sister of the Burgundian Gunther, having wooed Bryn- 
hild for his brother-in-law. If, again, Brynhild causes the death of 
Sigurd, the man in whom she has garnered up her soul, so Siegfried 
is murdered at Brynhild's instigation. If in the Helgi Saga the son 
of Hogni bears the news of Helgi's death to Sigurd, so in the Volsung 
tale Hogni informs Gudrun of Sigurd's death, and in the Nibelung 
song Hagen brings to Kriemhild the tidings of the death of Siegfried. 
Like Swava and Sigrun, Brynhild kills herself that her body may be 
burnt with that of Sigurd ; and as in the story of the Volsungs, Atli 
(who appears as the comrade of the first Helgi) gets possession of 
Gunnar and Hogni and has them put to death, so Kriemhild in the 
Nibelungenlied marries Etzel, who catches Gunther and his brothers 
in the same trap in which Gunnar and Hogni had been caught by 
Atli. 1 

1 On the historical residuum which 
may possibly be contained in the later 
forms of these myths it is really unne- 
cessary to say anything. In Bunsen's 
words, " The fundamental element com- 
mon to them all is purely mythological, 
namely, the combat of the Sun-God, 
who is slain by his brother and avenged 
by a younger brother. . . . This ele- 
ment constitutes the basis of the Sigurd 
Saga, and the substance of the Helgi 
Saga, with the exception of some later 
additions ; it is the oldest form of the 
German myth of Herakles." — God in 
History, ii. 474.. Nevertheless, Bunsen 
thinks it worth while to make an at- 
tempt to determine the amount of 
historical matter wrapped up in it. He 
finds the name Atli or Etzel, and this 
represents the historical Attila, a con- 
clusion which is strengthened by the 
mention of Bludi as the father of Attila, 
whereas history speaks of Bleda as his 
brother. He finds also Gunnar, the 
brother of Gudrun, and Gunther the 
king of the Burgundians. Beyond this, 
seemingly, it is impossible to advance. 
"It is certainly difficult to make an 
expedition by Attila himself to the 
Rhine fit in with what we know of the 
history of these years. This, no more 
and no less, is the historical element in 
that great tragedy of the woes of the 
Nibelungs." — God in History, ii. 478. 
If any can be satisfied with claiming 
for this belief a historical sanction on 
such evidence as this, it may perhaps 
be a pity to break in upon their self- 
complacence ; but on the other side it. 

may fairly be asserted that two or three 
names, with which not a single known 
historical event is associated, and of 
which the stories told cannot be recon- 
ciled with anything which comes down 
to us on genuine historical testimony, 
furnish a miserably insecure foundation, 
for any historical inferences. If this 
is all that we learn from the popular 
tradition, can we be said to learn any- 
thing ? In the one Bleda is the brother 
of Attila, in the other he is not : it 
seems rash, then, to speak of Bludi as a 
"perfectly historical person." To us- 
they must remain mere names ; and 
while we turn aside from the task of 
measuring the historical authority of 
these Sagas as a. mere waste of time, 
we cannot on the same plea refuse con- 
sideration to evidence which may seem 
to trace such names as Atli, Bleda, andl 
Gunnar to a time long preceding the 
days of Attila, Bludi, and Gunther. It 
might have been supposed that this 
question had been long since set at rest. 
But the controversy has been reopened 
with singular boldness of assertion by 
Mr. Mahaffy in his Prolegomena to An- 
cient History. Mr. Mahaffy takes 
comfort from the thought that the his- 
torical basis of the Nibelungenlied is so 
certain that not even the mythologer's 
can gainsay it ; but he admits that this 
basis is one resting on the names of 
some few of the actors in the drama, 
and on these alone. Nor does he pre- 
tend to believe that the historical Attila, 
or Siegbert, or Gundicar, did any of the 
things which they are said to do in the 


That the later forms into which the Volsung story has been chap. 

thrown may contain some incidents which may be either trmly told or • ^ — 

else travestied from real history, it is impossible to deny. When at J n g e n' be " 
the best they who insist most on the historical character of these Lay- 
poems can but trace a name here and there, or perhaps see in the 
account of some fight a reference to some actual battle with which it 
has no likeness beyond the fact that men fought and were killed in 
both, as the fishes swim in the streams of Macedon and Monmouth, 
it seems useless to affirm it When the motives are alike in all, 
when in each case there is a wealthily dowered maiden whose hoard 
is stolen, a robber who refuses to disclose the secret of the lost 
treasure, and bloody vengeance by those who lay claim to this wealth, 
when thousands are murdered in a - single hall, and men lie down 
contentedly in flaming chambers floating in blood, treading out the 
falling brands in the gore and recruiting their strength by sucking the 
veins of the dead, we can scarcely regard it as a profitable task to 
search amidst such a mass of impossibilities the materials for a 
picture of society as existing whether amongst Northmen or amongst 
Greeks. That the colouring thrown over them is in part reflected 
from the manners of the age, there is no room to doubt ; but when 
the groundwork of the story has been shown to be purely mythical, 
this fact will not carry us far. We are confined to mere names or 
mere customs ; and the attempt to advance further lands us in the 
region of guesswork. Thus to Mr. Kemble's assertion that Attila 
" drew into his traditional history the exploits of others, and more 
particularly those of Chlodowic and his sons in the matter of the 
Burgundian kingdom," and that this fact will be patent to any one 
who will look over the accounts of the Burgundian war in Gregory of 
Tours, Mr. Ludlow replies that the search yields only two names, 
Godegiselus namely, and Theudericus, answering to the Giselher and 
Dietrich of the Nibelungen Lay. 1 Nor do we gain much if we find 
Gundicar, the Burgundian king, as one of the sovereigns conquered 
by Attila, if the Atli of the Volsung story belonged to the myth long 
before the days of the Hunnish devastator. The name of the Bishop 
Pilgrim seems to be more genuinely historical ; but even if he can 
be identified as a prelate who filled the see of Passau in the tenth 
century, we know no more about him from the poem than we learn of 
Hruodlandus from the myth of the Roland who fell at Roncesvalles. 

poem. The end at which Mr. Mahaffy Introduction to Comparative Mytho- 

aims is clear enough, but it is scarcely logy. 

one which reflects much credit on the * Ludlow, Popular Epics of the 

critic. I have examined his position Middle Ages, i. 180. 

more at length in Appendix II. of the 





The points of difference between the Norse and the German 
traditions are simply such as the comparison of one Greek myth with 
another would lead us to expect. Phoibos may be called the child 
of the darkness, as strictly as he may be said to be born in Delos or 
Ortygia. The offspring of Chrysaor, the lord of the golden sword of 
day, is the three-headed Geryoneus; and Echidna, the throttling 
snake, who is united with Herakles, is the daughter of Kallirhoe, the 
fair-flowing stream of the ocean. Hence there is nothing surprising 
in the fact that in the one set of myths Sigurd fights with, or is slain 
by, the Niflungs, while in the other he is said to be a Niflung him- 
self. 1 The real difference between the Teutonic and the Greek epics 
lies, not so much in the fact that a complex poem exhibits a being 
like Paris, sometimes in the garb of the Panis, sometimes with 
the attributes of Surya, as in the greater compass of the northern 
poems. The Iliad relates the incidents only of a portion of a single 
year in the Trojan war ; the Nibelung lay adds two or three complete 
histories to the already completed history of Siegfried. The antiquity 
of , these several portions of a poem, which by the confession of all 
has certainly been pieced together, is a question into which we need 
not enter. It is possible that the portion which relates to Siegfried 
may have been added at a later time to explain the intense hatred of 
Kriemhild for her brothers, and that this may be the most modem 
addition to the Nibelungenlied ; but it is not less certain that the 
myth of Siegfried is the myth of Baldur, and has existed in many 
shapes in every Aryan land. The Volsung story may represent the 
rougher songs of Norse sea-rovers, while the Nibelung song may 
introduce us to the more stately life and elaborate pageants of 
German kings and princes; but the heroes have changed simply 
their conditions, not their mind and temper, by crossing the sea or 
passing into another land. The doom of perpetual pilgrimage is laid 
on Perseus, Theseus, Bellerophon, Herakles, Odysseus; and Sigurd and 
Siegfried are not more exempt from it. 2 In their golden locks and 

" Ludlow, Popular Epics, i. 137. 

s This doom is brought out with 
singular clearness in the Gaelic story, 
where the Dame of the Fine Green 
Kirtle lays the Fair Gruagach under her 
spell, that he shall not rest by night or 
by day (Ixt6n, Sisiphos). '"Where 
thou takest thy breakfast that thou take 
not thy dmner, and where thou takest 
thy dinnefthat thou take not thy supper, 
in whatsoever place thou be, until thou 
findest out in what place I may be under 
the four brown quarters of the world.' 

" So it was in the morning of the 
morrow's day he went away without 
dog, without man, without calf, without 

" He was going and going and jour- 
neying; there was blackening on his 
soles, and holes in his shoes ; the black 
clouds of night coming, and the bright 
quiet clouds of the day going away, and 
without his finding a place of staying 
or rest for him." He is, in short, the 
wandering Wuotan (Wegtam), Savitar, 
Odysseus, Bellerophon, Phoibos, Dio- 


godlike countenances, in their flashing swords and unerring spears, CHAP. 

there is no difference between them ; and every additional point of : — ■ 

likeness adds to the weight of proof that these epic poems represent 
neither the history nor the national character of Northmen, Greeks, 
or Germans. In each case the spirit of the tradition has been care- 
fully preserved, but there is no servile adherence. In the Volsung 
story, Gudrun becomes the wife of Siegfried ; in the Nibelung song, 
her mother Kriemhild takes her place. The Hogni of the former 
tale becomes in the latter the Hagen of Tronege, against whom 
Siegfried is warned when he desires to marry Kriemhild, the sister of 
Gunther, Gemot, and Giselher, and. who recognises Siegfried as the 
slayer of the Niblungs, the conqueror of their magic sword, Balmung, 
and of all their treasures, and the possessor of the tarnkappe, or cape 
of darkness — all of them features with which the earlier legend has 
made us familiar. The story of Thetis or Demeter plunging Achilleus 
and Triptolemos into the bath of fire is here represented by the myth 
that Siegfried cannot be wounded, because he had bathed himself in 
the blood of a dragon whom he had slain — the Fafnir or Python of 
the Norse and Delphic legends. At the first glance Kriemhild is 
filled with love for Siegfried, but the latter cannot see her until he 
has sojourned for a year in the country of King Gunther — a condi- 
tion which answers to that under which Hades suffered Orpheus 
to lead away Eurydike. Here, like Sigurd in the Volsung myth, 
Siegfried wins Brynhild for Gunther or Gunnar ; but though there is 
here not the same complication, the narrative scarcely becomes on 
this account the more human. Like Perseus with the helmet of 
Hades, Siegfried can make himself invisible at will, and like Apollon 
Delphinios, he pushes a ship through the sea — a myth in which we 
recognise also the Wish breeze. 1 Here also, as in the Norse story, 
the ring and girdle of Brynhild come through Siegfried into the 

nysos, Herakl£s, Perseus, Sigurd, Indra, put into the ground. The necessary 
Oidipous, Theseus ; and it is unneces- consequence is that the woman has two 
sary to say that in the end he becomes golden children who, mounting on the 
the husband of the Dame of the Fine two golden foals of the mare, represent 
Green Kirtle, who is none other than the Asvins and the Dioskouroi, the 
Medeia with the magic robe of Helios. pieces put into the ground producing 
(Campbell, ii. 435.) two golden lilies on which the lives of 
1 The power of the Fish Sun is the children depend. In the tale of 
strikingly shown in the German stories the Fisherman and his Wife, the fish 
of the Gold Children and of the Fisher- accomplishes the wishes of the woman, 
man and his Wife. In the former a who chooses to become first a lady, then 
poor man catches the Golden Fish which queen, then pope ; but when she wishes 
makes him the possessor of the palace of to become the ruler of the universe, the 
Helios, and bids the man divide him flounder sends her back to her old hovel, 
into six pieces ; two to be given to his — an incident reflecting the fall of Tan- 
wife, two to his mare, and two to be talos, Sisyphos, and Ixion. 


BOOK possession of Kriemhild ; and at this point the myth assumes a form 

• ^ ■ which reminds us of the relations of Heraklgs with Eurystheus. Like 

H£re in the Greek tale, Brynhild holds that Siegfried ought to do 
service to Gunther, as Herakles did to his lord, and thus urges him 
to summon Siegfried to Worms. The hero, who is found in the 
Niflung's castle on the Norwegian border, loads the messengers with 
treasures, and Hagen cannot suppress the longing that all this wealth 
may yet come into the hands of the Burgundians. 1 No sooner has 
Siegfried, with his father Sigmund and his wife Kriemhild, reached 
Worms, than Brynhild hastens to impress on Kriemhild that Siegfried 
is Gunther's man, and that, like Theseus to Minos, he must pay 
tribute. In deep anger Kriemhild resolves to insult her adversary, 
and when they go to church, she presses on before Brynhild who 
bids her as a vassal stand back, and taunting her as having been won 
by Siegfried, shows him her girdle and ring as the evidence of her 
words. Gunther, urged by his wife, rebukes Siegfried for betraying 
the secret, but his anger is soon appeased. It is otherwise with 
Hogni, or Hagen, who here plays the part of Paris, by whose spear 
Achilleus is to fall. He sees his sister weeping, and, swearing to 
revenge her, spreads false tidings of the approach of an enemy, and 
when he knows that Siegfried is ready to set out against them, he 
asks Kriemhild how he may best insure her husband's safety. Not 
knowing to whom she spake, she tells him that when Siegfried bathed 
himself in the dragon's blood a broad linden leaf stuck between his 
shoulders, and there left him vulnerable, this place between the 
shoulders answering to the vulnerable heel of Achilleus. To make 
still more sure, Hagen asks Kriemhild to mark the spot, and the 
wife of the hero thus seals his doom. The narrative at this point 
becomes filled with all the tenderness and beauty of the Odyssey. 
Kriemhild is awakened to her folly in betraying Siegfried's secret to 
Hagen. Still, in vain she prays him not to go. He is the knight 
who knows no fear, and without fear he accompanies Hagen, doing 
marvellous. things, until one day he asks Hagen why he has brought 
no wine to drink, when Hagen offers to show him the way to a good 
spring. Siegfried hastens thither with him, and as he stoops to drink 
Hagen shoots him through the back on the spot marked by the silver 
cross. It is scarcely necessary to compare this with the vast number 
of myths in which the death of the sun is connected with water, 

1 These Burgundians in the later por- present state is put together out of two 

tion of the epic are often spoken of as different legends." — Popular Epics of 

Niblungs, as mythically they assuredly the Middle Ages, i. 133. At the most, 

are. The fact evidently shows, in Mr. it would be but one of two versions of 

Ludlow's opinion, " that the poem in its the legend. 


whether of the ocean or the sea. In the spirting out of Siegfried's chap. 
blood on Hagen, in the wonderful stroke with which he almost smites — — ^ — • 
his betrayer dead, in the death wrestle which covers the flowers all 
around with blood and gore, we have the chief features of the blood- 
stained sunset which looms out in the legend of the death of 
Herakles. The body of Siegfried, placed on a golden shield, is 
borne to the chamber of Kriemhild, who feels, before she is told, 
that it is the corpse of her murdered husband. " This is Brynhild's 
counsel," she said, "this is Hagen's deed;'' and she swears to 
avenge his death by a vengeance as fearful as that of Achilleus. As 
Siegfried had spoken, so should Hagen assuredly rue the day of his 
death hereafter. She gives orders to awaken Siegfried's men and his 
father Sigmund ; but Sigmund has not slept, for, like Peleus, he has 
felt that he should see his son again no more. Then follows the 
burial of Siegfried, when Gunther swears that no harm has come to 
the hero either from himself or from his men : but the lie is given to 
his words when the wounds bleed as Hagen passes before the dead 
body. When all is over, Sigmund says that they must return to their 
own land ; but Kriemhild is at last persuaded to remain at Worms, 
where she sojourns for more than three years in bitter grief, seeing 
neither Gunther nor Hagen. The latter now makes Gemot press 
Kriemhild to have her hoard brought from the Niblung land, and 
thus at length gaining possession of it, he sinks it all in the Rhine. 
In other words, Adonis is dead, and the women are left mourning 
and wailing for him ; or the maiden is stolen away from Demete'r, 
and her wealth is carried to the house of Hades ; or again, as in the 
Norse tale, the dwarf Andvari is keeping watch over the treasures of 
Brynhild : and thus ends the first of the series of mythical histories 
embodied in the Nibelung Lay. Whether this portion of the great 
Teutonic epic be, or be not, older than the parts which follow it, it 
is indubitably an integral narrative in itself, and by no means indis- 
pensable to the general plan of the poem, except in so far as it ac- 
counts for the implacable hatred of Kriemhild for her brothers. 

The second part of the drama begins with the death of Helche, The Story 
the wife of Etzel or Atli, who longs to marry Kriemhild, and who is of Ha & en - 
restrained only by the recollection that he is a heathen while the 
widow of Siegfried is a Christian. This objection, however, is over- 
ruled by the whole council, who, with the one exception of Hagen, 
decide that Etzel shall marry Kriemhild. Hagen is opposed to it, 
because Siegfried swore that he should rue the day on which he 
touched him, and on account of the prophecy that if ever Kriemheld 
took the place of Helche, she would bring harm to the Burgundians, 


BOOK as Helen did to the fleet, the armies, and the cities of Hellas. But 
- as the forsaken Ariadne' was wedded to Dionysos, so the messengers 
of Etzel tell Kriemhild that she shall be the lady of twelve rich 
crowns, and rule the lands of thirty princes. Kriemheld refuses to 
give an immediate answer; and the great struggle which goes on 
within her answers to the grief and sickness of soul which makes the 
mind of Helen oscillate between her affection for her husband 
Menelaos and the unhallowed fascinations of the Trojan Paris. So 
is brought about the second marriage of the bride of Siegfried, a 
marriage the sole interest of which lies in the means which it affords 
to her of avenging the death of Hagen's victim. This vengeance is 
now the one yearning of her heart, although outwardly she may be 
the contented wife of Etzel, just as Odysseus longed only to be once 
more at home with Penelope even while he was compelled to sojourn 
in the house of Kirke or the cave of Kalypso ; and if the parallel 
between Etzel and Paris is not close, yet it is closer than the likeness 
between the Etzel of the Niblungs' Lay and the Attila of history. The 
poet declares that her deadly wrath is roused by the reflexion that at 
Hagen's instigation she has given herself to a heathen ; but through- 
out it is clear that her heart and her thoughts are far away in the 
grave of the golden-haired youth who had wooed and won her in the 
beautiful spring-time, and that of Etzel she took heed only so far as 
it might suit her purpose to do so. Her object now is to get Hagen 
into her power, and she sends messengers to Gunther bidding him 
bring all his best friends, whom Hagen can guide, as from his child- 
hood he has known the way to the Huns' land. 1 All are ready to go 
except Hagen, and he is loth to put his foot into the trap which he 
sees that Kriemhild is setting for him ; but he cannot bear the taunts 
of his brother Gunther, who tells him that if he feels guilty on the 
score of Siegfried's death he had better stay at home. Still he 
advises that if they go they should go in force. So Gunther sets out 
with three thousand men, Hagen, and Dankwart, his brother, and 
other chiefs with such as they can muster; and with them goes 
Volker, the renowned musician, who can fight as well as he can play. 3 

1 Mr. Ludlow here remarks that "this tions of the epic which call for a cord- 
is one of the passages which imply the parison with other legends, and which 
legend contained in " Walthar of Aqui- taken together, show the amount of 
tame," where Hagen is represented as material which the poets of the Nibe- 
a fellow hostage with Walthar at Etzel's lung song, like those of the Iliad and 
court.' —Popular Epics, i. 130. It Odyssey, found ready to their hand 
may be so ; yet the phrase resolves itself The close agreement of the framework 
into the simple statement that the Tanis of the poem with that of the Volsuns 
know their way to the land whence they story and the legends of the Helgis and 
steal the cattle of Indra. the identity of all these with the mvth 
I must confine myself to those por- of Baldur, has been already shown It 


Hagen necessarily discerns evil omens as they journey on.. The CHAP. 

waters of the Danube are swollen, and as he searches alone the banks : 

for a ferryman, he seizes the wondrous apparel of two wise women 
who are bathing, one of whom promises that if he will give them 
their raiment, they will tell how he may journey to the Huns' land. 
Floating like birds before him on the flood, they lure him with hopes 
of the great honours which are in store for him, and thus they recover 
their clothes — a myth which feebly reflects the beautiful legends of 
the Swan maidens and their knights. No sooner, however, are they 
again clothed, than the wise woman who has not yet spoken tells 
him that her sister has lied, and that from the Huns' land not one 
shall return alive, except the king's chaplain. To test her words, 
Hagen, as they are crossing the river, throws the priest into the 
stream ; but although he tries to push him down under the water, 
yet the chaplain, although unable to swim, is carried by Divine aid 
to the shore, and the doomed Burgundians go onwards to meet their 
fate. In the house of Rudiger they receive a genial welcome ; but 
when Rudiger's daughter approaches at his bidding to kiss Hagen, 
his countenance seemed to her so fearful that she would gladly have 
foregone the duty. On their departure Rudiger loads them with 
gifts. To Gemot he gives a sword which afterwards deals the death- 
blow to Rudiger himself, who resolves to accompany them; while 
Hagen receives the magnificent shield of Nuodung, whom Witege 
slew. The ominous note is again sounded when Dietrich, who is 
sent to meet the Burgundians, tells Hagen that Kriemhild still weeps 
sore for the hero of the Niblung land ; and Hagen can but say that 
her duty now is to Etzel, as Siegfried is buried and comes again no 
more. It is the story of the Odyssey. When Dietrich is asked how 
he knows the mind of Kriemhild, "What shall I say?" he answers ; 
" every morning early I hear her, Etzel's wife, weep and wail full 
sadly to the God of heaven for strong Siegfried's body." 1 It is the 
sorrow of Penelope, who mourns for the absence of Odysseus during 
twenty weary years, though the suitors, like Etzel, are by her side, 
or though, as other versions went, she became a mother while the 
wise chief was far away fighting at Ilion or wandering over the wine- 
faced sea. 

is, therefore, quite unnecessary to give where the dawn-maidens mourn _ be- 
an abstract of the poem throughout, a cause they have to marry the giant, 
task which has been performed already but are rescued by the man who made 
by many writers, and among them by the gold and silver cap, as Penelope 
Mr. Ludlow, Popular Epics, i. is delivered from her suitors by the 
1 Compare the Gaelic story of the man who wrought the bed in her bridal 
Rider of Grianaig (Campbell, iii. 18), chamber. 


BOOK At .length Hagen and Kriemhild stand face to face : but when 

• the wife of Etzel asks what gifts he has brought, Hagen answers that 

Jeance of one s0 wealthy needs no gifts. The question is then put plainly, 
Kriem- "Where is the Niblungs' hoard? It was my own, as ye well know." 
Hagen answers that at his master's bidding it has been sunk in the 
Rhine, and there it must remain till the day of judgment. But wheu 
Kriemhild tells the Burgundians that they must give up their arms 
before going into the hall, Hagen begs to be excused. The honour 
is greater than he deserves, and he will himself be chamberman. 
Kriemhild sees that he has been warned, and learns to her grief and 
rage that the warning has come through Dietrich. 1 But the time for 
the avenging of Siegfried draws nigh. Etzel's men see Kriemhild 
weeping as through a window she looks down on Hagen and Volker, 
and when they assure her that the man who has called forth her 
tears shall pay for his offence with his blood, she bids them avenge 
her of Hagen, so that he may lose his life. Sixty men are ready 
to slay them, but Kriemhild says that, so small a troop can never 
suffice to slay two heroes so powerful as Hagen and the still more 
mighty Volker who sits by his side, — words which at once show that 
we have before us no beings of human race, and that Hagen is akin 
to the Panis, while Volker is the whispering breeze or the strong 
wind of the night, whose harping, like that of Orpheus, few or none 
may withstand. Kriemhild herself goes down to them : but Hagen 
will not rise to greet her. On his knees she sees the gleaming sword 
which he had taken from Siegfried, the good blade Gram, which 
Odin left in the house of Volsung. The words which burst from her 
bespeak the grief of a Penelop£ who nurses her sorrow in a harsher 
clime than that of Ithaka. She asks Hagen how he could venture 
into the lion's den, and who had sent for him to the Huns' country. 
To his reply that he had come only by constraint of the masters 
whose man he was, she rejoins by asking why he did the deed 
for which she bears hate to him. He has slain her beloved Siegfried, 
for whom if she weeps all her life long she could never weep enough. 
It is useless to deny the deed, and Hagen does not care to disown it. 
He tells the queen that he is in truth the man who slew Siegfried and 
has done to her great wrong; and the preparations for the last 
struggle go on with more speed and certainty. It is impossible not 
to think of the suitors in the house of Odysseus, although the bearing 

1 It is at this point that the passage in our present inquiry than as showing 

h inserted which connects the Nibe- the composite character of the great 

Inngenlied with the story ofWalthar of Teutonic epic. — Ludlow, Popular Epics, 

Aquitaine. It is of no further interest i. 146. 


of Hagen and his men is altogether more dignified. The very chap. 

weakening of the myth, which was too strong to allow the Homeric • ^__- 

poet so to paint them, has enabled the Teutonic bard to ascribe to 
the slayers of Siegfried a character of real heroism. But here, as in 
the Odyssey, the scene of vengeance is the great hall ; and we have 
to ask where the roof has ever been raised under which thousands have 
fought until scarcely one has been left to tell the tale of slaughter. 
In this hall the Burgundians are left to sleep on beds and couches 
covered with silks, ermine, and sable. But they are full of misgivings, 
and Hagen undertakes with Volker to keep watch before the door. 
Volker, the Phemios of the Odyssey, does more. With the soft and 
lulling tones of the harp of Hermes or of Pan, he lulls to sleep the 
sorrows of the men who are soon to die. Through all the house the 
sweet sounds find their way, until all the warriors are asleep ; and 
then Volker takes his shield and goes out to guard his comrades 
against any sudden onslaught of the Huns. The tragedy begins on 
the morrow with the accidental slaying of a Hun by Volker at the 
jousts which follow the morning mass ; and the fight grows hot when 
Dankwart smites off the head of Blodel, whom Kriemhild had sent 
to slay him because he was Hagen's brother. But Hagen survives to 
do the queen more mischief. Her son Ortlieb is being carried from 
table to table in the banqueting hall, and Hagen strikes off the boy's 
head which leaps into Kriemhild's lap. The hall runs with blood. 
Seven thousand bodies are flung down the steps ; but Hagen is still 
unconquered, and Irinc who had charged himself with the office 
of Blodel, and succeeded in wounding him in the face, falls in his 
turn a victim to his zeal. A fresh thousand are poured in to avenge 
his death : the Burgundians slay them all, and then sit down to keep 
watch with the dead bodies as their seats. The tale goes on with 
increasing defiance of likelihood and possibility. Kriemhild and 
Etzel gather before the hall twenty-thousand men; but still the 
Burgundians maintain the strife deep into the night. When at length 
they ask for a truce, and Giselher tells his sister that he has never 
done her harm, her answer is that he is the brother of Siegfried's 
murderer, and therefore he and all must die unless they will yield up 
Hagen into her hands. This they refuse, and Kriemhild sets fire 
to the hall, an incident which occurs in other sagas, as those of Njal 
and Grettir. Drink there is none, unless it be human blood, which 
is gushing forth in rivers ; but with this they slake their thirst and 
nerve their arms, while the burning rafters fall crashing around them, 
until the fire is extinguished in the horrid streams which gush from 
human bodies. Thousands have been slain within this fated hall ; six 




element in 
the Nibe- 

hundred yet remain ; the Huns attack them two to one. The fight 
is desperate. Rudiger, compelled to take part in it sorely against his 
will, is slain with his own sword by Gemot; and at length Volker 
the minstrel is killed by Hildebrand, who strives in vain to wound 
Hagen, for he is the master of Balmung, Siegfried's sword, the Gram 
of the Volsung story. Dietrich is at length more successful, and the 
slayer of Siegfried is at last brought bound into the presence of the 
woman who lives only to avenge him. With him comes Gunther, 
the last of the Burgundian chiefs who is left alive. Once more, in 
this last dread hour, the story reverts to the. ancient myth. Kriemhild 
places them apart, and then coming to Hagen, tells him that even 
now he may go free if he will yield up the treasure which he stole 
from Siegfried. Hagen's answer is that he cannot say where the 
hoard is as long as any of his masters remain alive. Kriemhild now 
takes to him the head of Gunther, the last of his liege lords, and 
Hagen prepares to die triumphantly. She has slain the last man who 
knew the secret besides himself, and from Hagen she shall never 
learn it Frantic in her sorrow, Kriemhild cries that she will at least 
have the sword which her sweet love bore when the murderer smote 
him treacherously. She grasps it in her hand, she draws the blade 
from its sheath, she whirls it in the air, and the victory of Achilleus 
is accomplished. Hagen is slain like Hektor. Her heart's desire is 
attained. What matters it, if death is to follow her act of dread 
revenge, as Thetis told the chieftain of Phthia that his death must 
follow soon when he has slain Hektor? The night is not far off 
when the sun appears like a conqueror near the horizon after his long 
battle with the clouds. The sight of the dead Hagen rouses the grief 
of Etzel and the fury of Hildebrand who smites Kriemhild and hews 
her in pieces. 

If we put aside the two or three names which may belong to 
persons of whose existence we have other evidence, the idea that this 
story of ferocious and impossible vengeance represents in any degree 
the history of the age of Attila becomes one of the wildest of dreams. 
Etzel himself is no more like the real Attila than the Alexandros of 
the Iliad is like the great son of the Macedonian Philip. The tale is, 
throughout, the story told, in every Aryan land, of the death of the 
short-lived sun, or the stealing of the dawn and her treasures, and of 
the vengeance which is taken for these deeds. It is but one of the 
many narratives of the great drama enacted before our eyes every 
year and every day, one of the many versions of the discomfiture of 
the thieves who seek to deceive the beautiful Sarama. But if this 
great epic poem contains no history, it is remarkable as showing the 


extent to which the myth has been modified by the influence of chap. 
Christianity and the growth of an historical sense in the* treatment • 
of national traditions. There is a certain awkwardness in the part 
played by Etzel, a part ludicrously unlike the action of the historical 
Attila ; and the pitiable weakness or inconsistency which leads him 
throughout to favour the schemes of his wife, and then, when Hagen 
is slain, to mourn for him as the bravest and best of heroes, serves 
only to bring out more prominently the fact that it is Kriemhild who 
fights single-handed against all her enemies, and that she is in truth 
a Penelope who trusts only to herself to deal with the ruffians who 
have dashed the cup of joy from her lips and stolen away her beauti- 
ful treasures. But the religious belief of the poets would not allow 
them to make use of any other method for bringing about the terrible 
issue. The bards who recounted the myths of the three Helgis would 
have brought back Siegfried from the grave, and added another to 
the heroes wno represent the slain and risen gods, Baldur, Dionysos, 
and Adonis or Osiris. In no other way could Siegfried have been 
brought back to the aid of his wife, unless like Odysseus he had been 
represented not as slain, but as fulfilling the doom which compelled 
him to fight or to wander far away from his home for twenty years. 
The closeness with which the bards of the Niblung legend followed 
the Saga of Sigurd rendered this alternative impossible, and it re- 
mained only to leave Kriemhild to accomplish that which no one else 
had the strength or the will to achieve on her behalf. But the myth 
had been further weakened in other directions. The slayer of Sigurd 
in the Volsung tale and his kindred alike belong with sufficient clear- 
ness to the dark powers who steal the cattle of Indra or Herakles, 
and thus they attract to themselves but little sympathy and no love ; 
but the Christian feeling which could brand Hagen as a murderer 
refused to make his brothers or his kinsfolk or his liege lords par- 
takers of his guilt, and thus the cowards of the first part of the story 
become the dauntless heroes of the second. 1 But to the remark that 
" Kriemhild's preferring to reside in the neighbourhood of her hus- 
band's murderers remains perfectly unaccountable," we can but say 
that the difficulty is confined to the hypothesis which would regard 
the story as a picture of human character and human society. 
Kriemhild was under the same necessity which kept Penelope in 
Ithaka, and the length of time during which the vengeance was 
delayed is due to the same cause. The sword which slays the dark- 
ness cannot fall until the ten long hours of the night have come to 
an end. Hence the many years during which Kriemhild makes 
1 Ludlow, Popular Epics, i. 172. 




The Story 
of Wal- 
thar of 
A quitaine. 

ready for the last dread act, and the many years which go before the 
fall of Ilion. Nor can we well say that the prominence given to 
Kriemhild's love for Siegfried as the motive for vengeance over and 
above the desire to recover the hoard is " the refinement of a later 
age." 1 The Odyssey shows precisely the same connexion between 
the desire to avenge Penelope" and the wish to save the substance 
wasted by the suitors ; and we have more than faint signs of the same 
mingled feeling in the Saga of the Volsungs. 

The story of Walthar of Aquitaine, a version of the same myth 
given by a monk of the eighth or ninth century, is noteworthy chiefly 
as making the hero bear away both the bride and her hoard, and 
giving him a tranquil and a happy close to his troubled and stormy 
life. Here also we have the names of Gibicho, Gunther, Etzel : but 
the Sigurd of this version is Walthar, while the part of Brynhild is 
played by Hildegund, who declares her readiness to obey her lover's 
bidding, when he charges her, as the guardian of the treasure, to take 
out for him a helmet, a coat of mail, and a breastplate, and to fill two 
chests with Hunnish rings or money. Thus we have the same magic 
armour and weapons which we find in all such legends, while Hilde- 
gund leads the war-horse, which appears here under the name Lion. 
But no sooner have they reached the Frank land than the greed of 
King Gunther is roused, and he resolves to attack Walthar. But 
Hagen, who accompanies him, is by no means so doughty as in the 
Niblung Song, and he is not reassured when he finds Walthar 
performing a series of exploits which reproduce those of Herakles, 
Perseus, and Theseus. In the end he decides that he can have a 
chance of grappling successfully with Walthar only if he pretends 
to withdraw. His plan succeeds, and he is enabled to come up with 
Walthar as he is journeying on with Hildegund. In the fight which 
follows, Walthar smites off a portion of Hagen's armour, and brings 
Gunther to his knees with a stroke of his sword; but just as he 
is about to deal him the death-blow, Hagen interposes his helmeted 
head and the blade is shivered in pieces. Walthar in his impatience 
and anger throws away the hilt, and Hagen avails himself of the time 
to smite off Walthar's right hand, the right hand so fearful to princes 
and people. Here again it is the cap of darkness which is fatal to 
the gleaming sword, while the loss of Walthar's right hand carries us 
to the myth of Indra Savitar. The closing scene curiously reflects 
the death of Sigurd. With failing breath, Walthar deals a blow which 
strikes out Hagen's right eye ; but whereas in the genuine myth 
Walthar's death ought here to follow, to be avenged afterwards by 
1 Ludlow, Popular Epics, i. 176. 



that of Hagen, here the two heroes, thus sorely bested, make up their 
quarrel, and Walthar bids Hildegund bring wine and offer the cup to ■ 
Hagen, who will not drink first, because Walthar is the better man. 
In short, the story ends with an interchange of courtesies, which have 
an air of burlesque not unlike that which Euripides has thrown over 
the Herakles of his Alkestis, and the bridal of Hildegund has all 
the joy and brightness which mark the reunion of Penelope" with . 
Odysseus. 1 


1 The later lay of Gudrun, of which 
Mr. Ludlow has given a summary 
(Popular Epics, i. 193, &c), has many 
of the features of the Nibelungen Lied 
and the story of Walthar of Aquitaine. 
It is scarcely necessary to note the end- 
less modifications of myths, with which 
the poets of successive ages allowed 
themselves to deal as freely as they 
pleased ; but we are fully justified in 
referring to the old myth incidents 
which are found in a hundred mythical 
traditions, but which never happen in 
the life of man. Thus, in the Lay of 
Gudrun, the child who is carried away 
to the griffin's or eagle's nest, whither 
three daughters of kings have been 
taken before, must remind us of the 
story of Surya Bai, although the child 
thus taken is Hagen, who grows up so 
mighty that he becomes celebrated as 
the Wayland of all kings, a title which 
sufficiently shows his real nature. Thus, 
although he is invested with all the 
splendour of the Trojan Paris, Hagen 
slays all the messengers sent by princes 
to sue for the hand of his beautiful 
daughter, nor can any succeed until 
Hettel comes — the mighty king at Hege- 
lingen ; a tale which merely repeats the 
story of Brynhild, Dornroschen, and 
all th'e enchanted maidens whom many 
suitors court to their own death. The 
wonderful ship which Hettel builds to 
fetch Hilda, capable of holding three 
thousand warriors, with its golden 
rudder and anchor of silver, is the 
counterpart of the Argo, which goes to 
bring back the wise and fair Medeia. 
The good knight Horant, at whose 
singing " the beasts in the wood let their 
food stand, and the worms that should 
go in the grass, the fish that should 
swim in the wave, leave their purpose," 
is the fiddler of the Nibelung Song, the 
Orpheus of the Hellenic legend. Of 
this feature in the story Mr. Ludlow 
says, " The quaintly poetical incident of 
Horant's singing is perhaps the gem of 
the earlier portion, a phrase to which 

objection can be taken only as it seems 
to look upon the incident as an original 
conception of the poets of the Gudrun 
Lay. From Mr. Ludlow's words no one 
would necessarily gather that the myth 
is simply that of Orpheus and nothing 
more, while the old tradition is further 
marked by the words puHnto the mouth 
of Hilda, that she would willingly 
become king Hettel's wife, if Horant 
could sing to her every day at morn and 
even, like the breeze of the dawn and 
the twilight in the myth of Hermes. 
Here also we have the magic girdle of 
Brynhild, Harmonia, and Eriphyle, the 
Cestus of Freya and Aphrodite 1 ; while 
in the stealing of Hilda, who is no un- 
willing captive, and the fury of Hagen, 
as he sees the ship carry her away 
beyond the reach of pursuit, we have 
precisely the fury of Aietes and his 
vain chase after the Argo, which is 
bearing away Medeia. Here ends the 
first part of the tale ; but it starts afresh 
and runs into greater complications 
after the birth of Ortwein and Gudrun, 
the son and daughter of Hettel and 
Hilda. Like her mother, Gudrun is 
carried away by Hartmut and his father, 
and a great struggle is the consequence. 
The Lay of King Rother (Ludlow, ibid. 
i. 317) is in great part made up of the 
same materials. Here also we have 
the beautiful maiden whose suitors woo 
her to their own destruction — the 
wonderful ship which Rother builds to 
bring away the daughter of King Con- 
stantine of Constantinople ; the sending 
of the messengers to the dungeon, where 
they remain until Rother comes to 
deliver them. But Rother, who wishes 
while on his expedition to be called 
Thiderich or Dietrich, is the splendid 
prince of the Cinderella story, and he 
obtains his wife by means of a gold and 
silver shoe which he alone is able to fit 
on her foot. But the princess is stolen 
away again from the home of king 
Rother, and brought back to Constanti- 
nople ; and thus we have a repetition of 


As we approach the later legends or romances, we find, as we 
might expect, a strange outgrowth of fancies often utterly incon- 
gruous, and phrases which show that the meaning of the old myths 
was fast fading from men's minds. Still we cannot fail to see that 
the stories, while they cannot by any process be reduced into harmony 
with the real history of any age, are built up with the materials which 
the bards of the Volsungs and the Nibelungs found ready to their 
hand. Thus in the story of Dietrich and Ecke, the latter, who plays 
a part something like that of Hagen or Paris, is exhibited in more 
lustrous colours than the Trojan Alexandras in the Iliad, although 
his nature and his doom are those of the Vedic Panis. Three knights, 
discoursing at Koln of brave warriors, give the palm to Dietrich of 
Bern, and Ecke who hears his praise swears that he must search 
through all lands till he finds him, and that Dietrich must slay him 
or lose all his praise. The incidents which follow are a strange 
travesty of the Volsung myth. Three queens hear the three knights 
talking, and the beautiful Seburk is immediately smitten with a love 
as vehement and lasting as that of Kriemhild in the Nibelung Song. 
Her one longing is to see Dietrich of Bern and to have him as her 
husband ; but the means which she adopts to gain this end is to send 
Ecke in search of him, armed with a breastplate, which answers to 
the coat of mail wrought for Achilleus by Hephaistos. This breast- 
plate had belonged to the Lombard king Otnit, to whom it had been 
a fatal possession, for as he slept before a stone wall (the wall of glass 
in the Hindu fairy tale) a worm found him and carried him into the 
hollow mountain — the tower in which Dietrich is confined, in the 
story of the giant Sigenot. This breastplate was recovered by Wolf- 
dietrich 1 of Greece, in whom it is hard not to see a reflexion of the 
Lykeian god of Delos, the Lupercus of Latin mythology ; and it is 
now given by Seburk to Ecke on the condition that if he finds 
Dietrich he will let him live. It is the Dawn pleading for the life 
of the Sun. " Could I but see the hero, no greater boon could be 
bestowed upon me. His high name kills me. I know not what 
he hath done to me, that my heart so longs after him." It is the 
language of Selene and Echo as they look upon Endymion and 
Narkissos; and all that is said of Dietrich recalls the picture of 

the old story in another dress. It is so closely with the general character of 

unnecessary to say that although we the Volsung and Nibelung legends, that 

hear much of Constantinople and it is unnecessary here to speak of them. 

Babylon, not a grain of genuine history Some remarks on the subject will be 

is to be gleaned amidst this confused found in Mr. Ludlow's Popular Epics, i. 

tangle of popular traditions and fancies. 308, &c. 

The form in which these myths are l Tylor, Primitive Culture, i. 2« 

exhibited in the Danish ballads, agrees 


the youthful Herakles as given in the apologue of Prodikos. He is CHAP. 

the father of the afflicted ; what he wins he shares ; all that is good ^ — ■ 

he loves. Wherever he goes, Ecke hears the people recount the 
exploits and dwell on the beauty and the goodness of Dietrich. 
Under a linden tree he finds a wounded man, and looking at his 
wounds, he cries out that he had never seen any so deep, and that 
nothing remained whole to him under helmet or shield. " No sword 
can have done this; it must be the wild thunder-stroke from heaven." 
Ecke is soon to see the hero who smote down the wounded man ; 
but no sooner is he confronted with the valiant knight, than he forgets 
the part which he ought to play if he means to appear as a messenger 
of Seburk and to do her bidding. He now speaks in his own cha- 
racter, as the Pani who bears an irrepressible hate for his adversary, 
while Dietrich is as passive in the matter as Achilleus when he de- 
clared that the Trojans had never done him any mischief. " I will 
not strive with thee," he says, " thou hast done me no harm ; give my 
service to thy lady, and tell her I will always be her knight" But 
Ecke is bent only upon fighting, and while he refuses to be the 
bearer of any message, he calls Dietrich a coward and dares him to 
the contest. Nor can we avoid noting that although Dietrich prays 
him to wait till the sun shines if fight they must, Ecke by his in- 
tolerable scoffs brings on the battle while it is yet night, and the strife 
between the powers of light and darkness is carried on amidst a storm 
of thunder and lightning until the day breaks. Ecke then thinks that 
he has won the victory; but just as he is boasting of his success, 
Dietrich is filled with new strength, and when Ecke refuses to yield 
up his sword, he runs him through. But he himself is sorely wounded, 
and as he wanders on he finds a fair maiden sleeping by a spring, as 
Daphne, Arethousa, Melusina, and the nymphs are all found near the 
running waters. The being whom Dietrich finds is gifted with the 
powers which Oinone cannot or will not exercise for the benefit of 
Paris. She heals him with a wonderful salve, and tells him that she 
is a wise woman, like Brynhild and Medeia, knowing the evil and the 
good, and dwelling in a fair land beyond the sea. But the story has 
been awkwardly put together, and of the fair Seburk we hear no more. 
This, however, is but further evidence of the mythical character of 
the materials with which the poets of the early and middle ages for 
the most part had to deal. 

The poem of the Great Rose Garden is a still more clumsy The Great 
travesty of the myth of the Phaiakian .or Hyperborean gardens. The ^°^ Gar " 
birds are there, singing so sweetly that no mournful heart could 
refuse to be solaced by them ; but the cold touch of the north is on 



The ro- 
mance of 

BOOK the poet, and his seat under the linden tree is covered with furs and 
r ; . . samite, while the wind which whispers through the branches comes 
from bellows black as a coal. In this garden is waged the same 
furious fight which fills Etzel's slaughter hall with blood in the Nibe- 
lung Lay; but the battle assumes here a form so h,orrible and so 
wantonly disgusting that we need only mark the more modern vein 
of satire which has used the myth for the purpose of pointing a jest 
against the monastic orders. The monk Ilsan, who, putting aside 
his friar's cloak, stands forth clad in impenetrable armour and wield- 
ing an unerring sword, is Odysseus standing in beggar's garb among 
the suitors ; but the spirit of the ancient legend is gone, and Ilsan 
appears on the whole in a character not much more dignified than 
that of Friar Tuck in Ivanhoe. 

The same wonderful armour is seen again in the beautiful 
romance of Roland. How thoroughly devoid this romance is of 
any materials of which the historian may make use, it is scarcely 
necessary to say; that many incidents in the legend may have 
been suggested by actual facts in the lifetime of Charles the Great, 
is an admission which may be readily made. When Charles the 
Great is made to complain on the death of Roland that now the 
Saxons, Bulgarians, and many other nations, as those of Palermo and 
Africa, will rebel against him, it is possible that the story may point 
to some redoubtable leader whose loss left the empire vulnerable in 
many quarters : but we do not learn this fact, if it be a fact, from the 
romance, and the impenetrable disguise which popular fancy has 
thrown over every incident makes the idea of verifying any of them 
an absurdity. Whatever may have been the cause of the war, Roland 
plays in it the part of Achilleus. The quarrel was none of his making, 
but he is ready to fight in his sovereign's cause ; and the sword 
Durandal which he wields is manifestly the sword of Chrysaor. 
When his strength is failing, a Saracen tries to wrest the blade from 
his hand, but with his ivory horn Roland strikes the infidel dead. 
The horn is split with the stroke, and all the crystal and gold fall 
from it. The night is at hand, but Roland raises himself on his feet, 
and strikes the recovered sword against a rock. " Ha ! Durandal," 
he cries, " how bright thou art and white ! how thou shinest and 
(lamest against the sun ! Charles was in the vale of Mauricane when 
God from heaven commanded him by his angel that he should give 
thee to a captain ; wherefore the gentle king, the great, did gird thee 
Dn me." * This is the pedigree of no earthly weapon, and to the list 

1 The address of Roland to his sword 
is more magniloquently given in the 

"Chronicle of Turpin," Ludlow, Ibid. 
i. 425- 


of conquests wrought by it in the hands of Roland we may add the CHAP. 

exploits of the good brands Excalibur, and Gram, and Balmung, and ■ '—' 

in short, the swords of all the Hellenic and Teutonic heroes. We 

are thus prepared for the issue when Alda (Hilda), to whom he has 

been betrothed, falls dead when she hears that Roland is slain. 

Kleopatra and Brynhild cannot survive Meleagros and Sigurd. 1 

As useless for all historical purposes, and as valuable to the com- The ro- 
, . . , .. . T _. , , mance of 

parative mythologist, is the magnificent romance of King Arthur. Arthur. 

Probably in no other series of legends is there a more manifest recur- 
rence of the same myth under different forms. The structure of the 
tale is simple enough. Arthur himself is simply a reproduction of 
Sigurd or Perseus. Round him are other brave knights, and these, 
not less than himself, must have their adventures; and thus Arthur 
and Balin answer respectively to Achilleus and Odysseus in the 
Achaian hosts. A new element is brought into the story with the 
Round Table, which forms part of the dowry of Guinevere ; and the 
institution of the Knights furnishes the starting-point for a series of 
exploits on the part of each knight, which are little more than a clog 
to the narrative, and may easily be detached from the main thread of 
it They answer in fact to those books in our Iliad which relate the 
fortunes of the Achaian chieftains during the inaction of Achilleus. 
A third series of narratives, rising gradually to a strain of surpassing 
beauty and grandeur, begins with the manifestation of the Round 
Table in the form of the holy Grail ; and the legend of the quest for 
the sacred vessel, while it is really an independent story, is in its 
essential features a mere repetition of some which have preceded it. 
In short, the original meaning of these myths had been completely 
forgotten by the mediaeval romancers ; but, like the Homeric poets, 
they have felt the irresistible spell, and have adhered to the traditional 
types with marvellous fidelity. 

Stripped thus of its adventitious matter, the poem assumes a form The birth 
common to the traditions and folk-lore of all the Teutonic or even all of Arthur, 
the Aryan nations. Not only is the wonderful sword of Roland seen 
again in the first blade granted to King Arthur, but the story of the 
mode in which Arthur becomes master of it is precisely the story of 
the Teutonic Sigurd and the Greek Theseus. We might almost say 
with truth that there is not a single incident with which we are not 
familiar in the earlier legends. The fortunes of Igraine, Arthur's 
mother, are precisely those of Alkmene, Uther playing the part of 
Zeus, while Gorlois takes the place of Amphitryon. 2 As soon as he 

1 This is the story of Lord Nann and - The scene in which Sigurd person- 

theKorrigan. — Keightley , Fairy Myllio- ates Gunnar in order to win Brynhild 
b>£y> 433- lor tlle latter is k ut slightly different 


BOOK is born, Arthur is wrapped in a cloth of gold, the same glittering 
■raiment which in the Homeric hymn the nymphs wrap round the 
new-born Phoibos, and like the infant Cyrus, who is arrayed in the 
same splendid garb, is placed in the hands of a poor man whom the 
persons charged with him, like Harpagos, meet at the postern-gate of 
the castle. In his house the child grows like Cyrus and Romulus 
and others, a model of human beauty, and like them he cannot long 
abide in his lowly station. Some one must be chosen king, and the 
trial is to be that which Odin appointed for the recovery of the sword 
Gram, which he had thrust up to the hilt in the great roof-tree of 
Volsung's hall. " There was seen in the churchyard, at the east end 
by the high altar, a great stone formed square, and in the midst 
thereof was like an anvil of steel a foot high, and therein stuck a fair 
sword naked by the point, and letters of gold were written about the 
sword that said thus, " Whoso pulleth out this sword out of this stone 
and anvil is rightwise born king of England.' " The incident by 
which Arthur's title is made known answers to the similar attempts 
made in Teutonic folk-lore to cheat Boots, the younger son, of his 
lawful inheritance. Sir Kay, leaving his sword at home, sends 
Arthur for it, and Arthur not being able to find it, draws the weapon 
imbedded in the stone as easily as Theseus performed the same 
exploit. Sir Kay, receiving it, forthwith claims the kingdom. Sir 
Ector, much doubting his tale, drives him to confess that it was 
Arthur who gave him the sword, and then bids Arthur replace it in 
the solid block. None now can draw it forth but Arthur, to whose 
touch it yields without force or pressure. Sir Ector then kneels to 
Arthur, who, supposing him to be his father, shrinks from the honour ; 
but Ector, like the shepherds in the myths of Oidipous, Romulus, or 
Cyrus, replies, " I was never your father nor of your blood, but I wote 
well ye are of an higher blood than I weened ye were." But although 
like the playmates of Cyrus, the knights scorn to be governed by a 
boy whom they hold to be baseborn, yet they are compelled to yield 
to the ordeal of the stone, and Arthur, being made king, forgives them- 
all. The sword thus gained is in Arthur's first war so bright in his 
enemies' eyes that it gives light like thirty torches, as the glorious 
radiance flashes up to heaven when Achilleus dons his armour. But 
this weapon is not to be the blade with which Arthur is to perform 
his greatest exploits. Like the sword of Odin in the Volsung story, 

from the story of Uther as told by gods of the heaven and the light, and 

Jeffrey of Monmouth or in the more as such is exercised by Phoibos the fish 

detailed romance. This power of trans- god, and Dionysos the lion and bear, 
formation is a special attribute of the 


it is snapped in twain in the conflict with Pellinore ; but it is of CHAP, 
course brought back to him in the form of Excalibur, bv a maiden ■ 
who answers to Thetis or to Hjordis. 1 Arthur, riding with Merlin 
along a lake, becomes " ware of an arm clothed in white samite that 
held a fair sword in the hand." This is the fatal weapon, whose 
scabbard answers precisely to the panoply of Achilleus, for while he 
wears it Arthur cannot shed blood, even though he be wounded. 
Like all the other sons of Helios, Arthur has his enemies, and King 
Rience demands as a sign of homage the beard of Arthur, which 
gleams with the splendour of the golden locks or rays of Phoibos 
Akersekomes. The demand is refused, but in the mediaeval romance 
there is room for others who reflect the glory of Arthur, while his own 
splendour is for the time obscured. At Camelot they see a maiden 
with a sword attached to her body, which Arthur himself cannot 
draw. In the knight Balin, who draws it, and who " because he was 
poorly arrayed put him not far in the press," we see not merely the 
humble Arthur who gives his sword to Sir Kay, but Odysseus, who in 
his beggar's dress shrinks from the brilliant throng which crowds his 
ancestral hall. 3 

On the significance of the Round Table we must speak elsewhere. The Round 
It is enough for the present to note that it comes to Arthur with the t h e San 
bride whose dowry is to be to him as fatal as the treasures of the Greal - 
Argive Helen to Menelaos. In the warning of Merlin that Guinevere 
"is not wholesome for him " we see that earlier conception of Helen 
in which the Attic tragedians differ so pointedly from the poets of 
the Iliad and the Odyssey. As Helen is to be the ruin of cities, of 
men, and of ships, so is Guinevere to bring misery on herself and on 
all around her, as of Brynhild it is said, " Luckless thou earnest to 
thy mother's lap, born for the sorrow of all folk.'' Dangers thicken 
round Arthur, and he is assailed by enemies as dangerous as Kirke 
and Kalypso to Odysseus. The Fay Morgan seeks to steal Excalibur, 
and succeeds in getting the scabbard, which she throws into a lake, 
and Arthur now may both- bleed and die. 8 At the hands of another 
maiden he narrowly escapes the doom which Medeia and Deianeira 

1 "The Manks hero, Olave of Nor- s The invisible knight who at this 
way, had a sword with a Celtic name, stage of the narrative smites Sir Her- 
Macabuin." — Campbell, Tales of the leus wears the helmet of Hades, and 
West Highlands, i. lxxii. It reappears his action is that of the Erinys who 
as the sword Tirfing in the fairy tale. wanders in the air. 
Keightley, Fairy Mythology, 73. In 3 Morgan has the power of trans- 
some versions, as in " Arthur and formation possessed by all the fish and 
Merlin," Excalibur is the sword fastened water-gods, Proteus, Onnes, Thetis, 
in the stone, the sword obtained from &c. 
the fairy being Mirandoisa. 


brought upon Glaukg and on Heraklgs. The Lady of the Lake 
1 warns him not to put on this vesture until he has first seen the 
bringer wear it This accordingly he makes the maiden do, "and 
forthwith she fell down, and was brent to coals." * . 
Arthur's The story now ceases practically to be the romance of Arthur, 

n ' s ** until it once more exhibits him in all the majesty of Christian long- 
suffering and holiness ; but, as we might expect, those portions of the 
romance which less immediately relate to Arthur are founded on old 
Teutonic or Hellenic myths. In the three sisters which meet Sir 
Marhaus, Sir Gawain, and Sir Ewain by the fountain, we can scarcely 
fail to recognise the three weird sisters, whose office, as belonging to 
the past, the present, and the future, seems to be betokened by their 
age and the garb which distinguishes them from each other. The 
eldest has a garland of gold about her hair, which is white with the 
snows of threescore winters ; the second, thirty years of age, with 
more brilliant ornaments, marks the middle stage in which the main 
action of life lies ; while in the younger sister of fifteen summers, 
crowned with luxuriant flowers, we have the Norn whose business is 
only with the time to come. 2 In the good knight Tristram we have 
another of those fatal children whose mother's eyes may not be long 
gladdened with the sight of their babes. Like Asklepios and Diony- 
sos, like Macduff and Sigurd, Tristram is the son of sorrow ; 8 nor did 
he fail to justify the popular conviction that all such children are 
born to do great things. 4 In the madness which comes upon Lance- 
lot when Guinevere rebukes him for the love of Elaine we see the 
frenzy of Herakles and other heroes, a frenzy which is naturally 
healed by the San Greal. 6 In the story of the Perilous Seat we have 
simply another form of a myth already twice given in this romance. 
" Then the king went forth and all the knights unto the river, and 
there they found a stone floating, as if it had been of red marble, and 
therein stuck a fair and a rich sword, and in the pommel thereof were 
precious stones wrought with subtle letters of gold, which said, 
' Never shall man take me hence but he by whom I ought to hang ; 
and he shall be the best knight of the world ' " — bravery and good- 
ness being thus made the prize instead of an earthly kingdom as in 
the case of Arthur. The king tells Lancelot that this sword ought to 

' La Merit cTArthure, ed. Coney- the differences between the two, see 

beare, book ,11 ch. v. ___ Appendix III. to the Introduction to 

Joid book iv. ch. m. Comparative Mythology. 

"In the Arthur cycle there are two * See p. 103. 

forms of the Tristram story, the one s Coneybeare, La Morte d'Arthure 

occurring in the body of the Arthur book x. ' 

legend, the other gvven separately. For 


be his, but it is the prize which, like the princess for whom the un- CHAP. 

successful suitors venture their bodies, brings ruin on those who fail : — 

to seize it. The hero who is to take it is revealed, when an old 
man coming in lifts up the cover that is on the Siege Perilous, and 
discloses the words, "This is the siege of Sir Galahad the good 
knight" The story of this peerless hero is introduced with an 
incident which is manifestly suggested by the narrative of Pentecost. 
As the Knights of the Round Table sat at supper in Camelot, " they 
heard cracking and crying of thunder, that they thought the place 
should all-to rive. And in the midst of the blast entered a sunbeam 
more clear by seven times than ever they saw day, and all they were 
alighted by the grace of the Holy Ghost Then began every knight 
to behold other; and each saw other by their seeming fairer than 
ever they saw afore. Then there entered into the hall the holy 
Grail covered with white samite, and there was none that might see 
it nor who bear it And then was all the hall full filled with great 
odours, and every knight had such meat and drink as he best loved 
in the world." The wonderful vessel is suddenly borne away, and 
the knights depart on a search which answers precisely to the quest 
of the Golden Fleece or the treasures of Helen the fair. The myth 
of the sword, already thrice given, is presented to us once more on 
board the ship Faith, on which there was " a fair bed, and at the foot 
was a sword, fair and rich ; and it was drawn out of the scabbard half 
a foot or more." " Wot ye well," says a maiden to Sir Galahad, " that 
the drawing of this sword is warned unto all men save unto you." 
This ship is the same vessel which carries Helios round the stream of 
Ocean during the hours of darkness. In other words, it becomes the 
ship of the dead, the bark which carries the souls to the land of light 
which lies beyond the grave. This ship carries to the Spiritual Place 
the body of Sir Percival's sister, who dies to save the lady of the 
castle by giving her a dish full of her own blood — a myth which 
reflects the story of Iphigeneia who dies that Helen, the lady of the 
castle of Menelaos, may be rescued, and of Polyxena, whose blood 
is shed that Achi'.leus may repose in the unseen land. From the 
quest of the Grail Lancelot comes back ennobled and exalted. 
Arthur longs for the return of the good knight Galahad, of Percival, 
and Bors ; but the face of the purest of all men he may never see 
again. When at length the eyes of Galahad rest on the mystic vessel, 
he utters the Nunc Dimittis, and Joseph of Arimathsea says to him, 
" Thou hast resembled me in two things ; one is, that thou hast seen 
the San Greal, and the other is that thou art a clean maiden as I am." 
Then follows the farewell of Galahad to his comrades, as he charges 


BOOK Sir Bors to salute his father Sir Lancelot and bid him remember this 
« unstable world " And therewith he kneeled down before the table 

and Gui- 

and made his prayers, and then suddenly his soul departed unto Jesus 
Christ. And a great multitude of angels bare his soul up to heaven 
that his two fellows might behold it ; also they saw come down from 
heaven a hand, but they saw not the body, and then it came right to 
the vessel and took it and the spear, 1 and so bare it up into heaven. 
Sithence was there never a man so hardy as to say that he had seen 
the San Greal." 

Lancelot The sequel which tells the story of the final fortunes of Lancelot 

and Guinevere presents perhaps the most wonderful instance of the 
degree to which a myth may be modified, and in this case the 
modifying influence is strictly and purely Christian. It is true that 
he estranges the love of Guinevere from her lord Arthur, and that 
even the sanctifying influence of the holy Grail, which makes him 
proof against the heart-rending sorrow of Elaine, cannot avail to 
repress his unconquerable affection for the brightest and the fairest of 
women. But although the romance throughout speaks of it as his 
great sin, the love is one which asks only for her heart as its recom- 
pence, and enables him to say even at the last, that Guinevere is 
worthy of the love of Arthur. But the same Christian influence 
which makes Arthur slow to believe any evil of his dear friend 
Lancelot, could not allow Guinevere to end her days in peace with 
Arthur, as Helen returns to live and die in the house of Menelaos. 
Like Paris, whom Menelaos admitted to an equally trustful friend- 
ship, Lancelot had done a great wrong ; and even when Arthur has 
closed his brief but splendid career, Guinevere tells Lancelot that all 
love on earth is over between them. Their lips may not meet even 
in the last kiss which should seal the death-warrant of their old 
affection. Arthur is gone. When he will come back again, no man 
may tell ; but Guinevere is more faithful now to the word which she 
had pledged to him than she had been while his glorious form rose 
pre-eminent among the bravest knights of Christendom. Yet in 
spite of all that Christian influence has done to modify and ennoble 
the story, the myth required that Guinevere should be separated from 
Lancelot, as Helen is torn away from Paris ; and the narrative pre- 
sents us from time to time with touches which vividly recall the old 
Greek and Teutonic myths. Thus Sir Urre of Hungary has wounds 
which only Lancelot can heal, as Oinong alone can heal Paris ; and 
the last battle with Modred is begun when a knight draws his sword 
on an adder that has stung him in the foot, like the snake which bit 
1 See book ii. chap. ii. sect. 12. 


Eurydike. So again, Excalibur is, by the hands of the reluctant Sir chap. 

Bedivere, thrown into the lake from which it had been drawn, as the '-—' 

light of Helios is quenched in the waters from which he sprung in the 
morning j and the barge, which had borne away the fair maid of 
Astolat and the sister of Sir Percival, brings the three queens (seem- 
ingly the weird sisters who have already been seen in another form) 
to carry off the wounded Arthur. 

But even at the last the story exhibits the influence of the old The death 
myth. Neither Arthur himself thinks, nor do any others think, that 
he is really dying. His own words are, " I will unto the vale of 
Avilion, to heal me of my grievous wound." There, in the shadowy 
valley in which Endymion sinks to sleep, the thought of the renewed 
life in store for Baldur or Dionyos, Memnon or Sarpedon, or Adonis, 
showed itself in the epitaph 

" Hie jacet Arthurus, rex quondam rexque futurus." 

Of the story of Arthur and Guinevere, Mr. Campbell says that, Guinevere 
" when stripped to the bones," it " is almost identical with the love ^ aid lar " 
story of the history of the Feinne," the tradition embodied in the 
poems which bear the name of Ossian, with not less justice perhaps 
than the Iliad and Odyssey bear the name of Homer, and the 
Finnish epic Kalewala that of Wainamoinen. 1 To Grainne, the wife 
of Fionn, Diarmaid stands in the relation of Lancelot to Guinevere, 
or of Paris to Helen. Guinevere loves Lancelot at first sight : Diar- 
maid, when first he meets Grainne, " shows a spot on his forehead, 
which no woman can see without loving him." But if Lancelot 
follows Guinevere willingly, Grainne compels Diarmaid to run away 
with her. In the sequel the conduct of Fionn precisely matches 
that of Arthur, and Diarmaid is as fearless a knight as Lancelot — 
the conclusion being that " here are the same traditions worked up 
into wholly different stories, and differently put upon the stage, 
according to the manners of the age in which romances are written, 
but the people go on telling their own story in their own way." 2 

1 For the supposed historical resi- words, the framework of the myth : and 
duum in the story of Arthur, see with this only we are here concerned. 
Appendix V. to the Introduction to The story of Sir Bevis of Hampton, Mr. 
Comparative Mythology. Campbell remarks, reflects the same 

2 Into the question of the authenti- mythology, iv. 267. I must content 
city of Macpherson's Ossian it 'is alto- myself with calling attention to Mr. 
gether unnecessary to enter. The Campbell's very valuable section on the 
matter has been admirably and con- Welsh stories, iv. 270-299. Taken as 
clusively treated by Mr. Campbell in a whole, they run precisely parallel to 
the fourth volume of his Tales of the the streams of German, Scandinavian, 
West Highlands, and no one probably and Hindu folk-lore, and bring Mr. 
would for an instant suppose that Mac- Campbell to the conclusion that they 
pherson invented the tradition — in other are " all founded upon incidents which 



It is unnecessary to examine the poems or romances which some 
writers are fond of arranging under sub-cycles of the main cycle 
of the Carolingian epics. These epics Mr. Ludlow 1 pronounces 
"historical" The sort of history contained in them we may 
take at his own estimate of it. " The history of them is popular 
history, utterly unchronological, attributing to one age or hero the 
events and deeds of quite another." In other words, it is a history 
from which, if we had no other sources of evidence, we could not 
by any possibility learn anything. Possessing the genuine contem- 
porary history of the time, the critic has a clue which may here and 
there furnish some guidance through the labyrinth; but it is the 
genuine history which enables him in whatever measure to account 
for the perversions of the poems, not the perversions which add a 
jot to our knowledge of the facts. But it is more important to 
remember that these poems are of a quite different class from the 
general epics of the Aryan nations. They are the result of book- 
work — in other words, they are not organic ; and to the stories spun 
by men sitting down at their desks, and mingling mythical or historical 
traditions at their will, there is literally no end. Yet even in these 
poems it is remarkable that some of the most prominent or momentous 
incidents belong to the common inheritance of the Aryan nations. 
The story of Garin the Lorrainer repeats in great part the story of 
Odysseus. Thierry's daughter, the White Flower (Blanche Flor), is 
the Argive Helen. " That maiden," says the poet, " in an evil hour 
was born, for many a worthy man shall yet die through her." The 
death of Bego, after the slaying of the boar, is the death of Achilleus 
after the fall of Hektor. But whatever travesty of real history there 
may be in parts of this poem, or in the epics of William of Orange 
and Ogier the Dane, there is next to none in the story of Bertha 
Largefoot, which simply reflects the myth of Cinderella, Penelope, 
Punchkin, and perhaps one or two more. 2 In short, it is mere 
patchwork. As in the case of Cinderella and Rhodopis, the true 
queen is made known by her feet ; s the only difference being that 

have been woven into popular tales 
almost ever since men began to speak ; 
that they are Celtic only because Celts 
are men, and only peculiarly Celtic be- 
cause Celts are admitted by all to be a 
very ancient offshoot from the common 
root." For the epical cycles in the 
Arthur myth, see lntrodtution to Com- 
parative Mythology, 310-339; and for 
the story of Bevis of Hampton, see ibid. 
340. For Guy of Warwick, ibid. 

1 Popular Epics of the Middle Ages, 
vol. ii. p. 13. 

2 Bertha is in name the Teutonic 
goddess, who in another form -appears 
as FrauHolle or Holda, the benignant 
earth, and who, like Penelope, has mar- 
vellous skill in spinning. 

8 This myth occurs again in the 
Gaelic story of " The King who wished 
to marry his Daughter." Mr. Campbell 
{Tales of the West Highlands, i. 227) 
mentions other instances, and remarks 


with Bertha it is the great size of her feet which determines the issue, CHAP, 
not their smallness. To coin a word, she is Eurypous, instead of ■— — -- — 
Europe ; and there was a version which spoke of her as Queen 
Goosefoot, a personage over whom it might seem impossible that 
a poet could become sentimental. Yet the goose-footed queen is 
simply a swan-maiden, one of the most beautiful creatures of Aryan 

The same materials will probably be found to have furnished the Saga Lite- 
framework of at least the greater part of the Saga literature of Europe. 
Northern Europe. If here and there a name or an incident belonging 
to real history be introduced into them, this cannot of itself raise the 
story above the level of plausible fiction. Far too much, probably, 
has been said of these Sagas as a true picture of society and manners. 
That the writers would throw over their narrative a colouring borrowed 
from the ways and customs of their own time is certain ; but the acts 
which they record are not proved to be deeds which were constantly 
or even rarely occurring, if they involve either a direct contradiction 
or a physical impossibility. To say that all incidents involving such 
difficulties are to be at once rejected, while we are yet to give faith to 
the residue, is to lay ourselves as bondmen at the feet of Euemeros 
and his followers, and to bid farewell to truth and honesty. Even in 
pictures of life and manners there is a certain limit beyond which we 
refuse to credit tales of cruelty, villainy, and treachery, when they 
are related of whole tribes who are not represented as mere savages 
and ruffians ; and unless we are prepared to disregard these limits, 
the history of many of these Sagas becomes at once, as a whole, 
incredible, although some of the incidents recorded in them may have 

This is especially the case with the Grettir Saga, for which a high The 
historical character has been claimed by the translators. 1 Yet the ^£^ 
tale from beginning to end is full of impossibilities. In his early 
youth Grettir, being set by his father to watch his horses, gets on the 
back of one named Keingala, and drawing a sharp knife across her 
shoulders and then all along both sides of.the back, flays off the whole 
strip from the flank to the loins. When Asmund next strokes the 
horse, the hide to his surprise comes off in his hands, the animal 
being seemingly very little the worse for the loss. After this impos- 

that " those who hold that popular tales common stock from which all these 

are preserved in all countries and in all races sprang." See also the story of 

languages alike, will hold that the the "Sharp Grey Sheep," Campbell, 

Italian, German, French, Norse, Eng- ii. 289. 

lish, and Gaelic are all versions of the * Eirikr Magmisson and William 

same story, and that it is as old as the Morris. 




The cha- 
racter of 

sible result of his exploit, Grettir, having lost a mealbag, finds Skeggf 
in the same predicament, and joins him in a common search. Skeggi 
comes across Grettir's bag and tries to hide it. When Grettir com- 
plains, Skeggi throws his axe at him and is slain in requital. It can 
scarcely be pretended that we are reading the true story of "an 
interesting race of men near akin to ourselves," when instead of a 
fair field and no favour we find that six men do not hesitate to fall 
upon one. 1 Thorfin, walking away from his boat with a leather 
bottle full of drink on his back, is assaulted from behind by Thorgeir, 
who thinks that he has slain him when he has only cut the bottle. 
He is jeered at next day for his blunder; but the act is no more 
blamed for its treachery than is the same base deed when Odysseus 
boastingly relates it of himself. Thorgeir Bottle-jack is slain soon 
afterwards in a bloody fight over the carcass of a whale, in which 
half the population of the village seems to be slaughtered Thorbiorn 
Oxmain thinks it a goodly exploit to knock at a man's door and then 
to thrust him through with a spear when he comes to open it The 
same honourable champion, wishing to slay Grettir, discourses thus 
to his comrades : — 

" I will go against him in front, and take thou heed how matters 
go betwixt us, for I will trust myself against any man, if I have one 
alone to meet ; but do thou go behind him, and drive the axe into 
him with both hands atwixt his shoulders ; thou needest not fear 
that he will do thee hurt, as his back will be turned to thee." 2 

When at a later time Grettir had slain Thorir Redbeard, Thorir 
of Garth assails the solitary outlaw with eighty men. Grettir slays 
eighteen and wounds many more, and the rest take to flight. 8 

This last incident brings us to the main question. It is, of course, 
a sheer impossibility : 4 and if, as such, it is to be regarded as lying 
beyond the pale of human history, we are at once driven to ask 
wherein lies the real value of a narrative in which* such incidents 
form the staple of the story. The translators tell us that throughout 
the tale " the Sagaman never relaxes his grasp of Grettir's character, 
that he is the same man fjom beginning to end, thrust this way and 
that by circumstances, but little altered by them ; unlucky in all 
things, yet made strong to bear all ill-luck ; scornful of the world, yet 

1 Preface, pp. i. and 94. 

2 P. 141. 3 P. 169. 

4 In Scott's Old Mortality, ch. xi., 
old Major Bellenden takes his niece to 
task for believing that the heroes of 
romance fought single-handed with 
whole battalions. " One to three," he 

says, "is as great odds as ever fought 
and won ; and I never knew anybody 
who cared to take that except old 
Corporal Raddlebanes. ... I dare say 
you would think very little of Raddle- 
banes if he were alongside of Arta- 


capable of enjoyment and determined to make the most of it ; not chap. 

deceived by men's specious ways, but disdaining to cry out because '—— - 

he must needs bear with them ; scorning men, yet helping them 
when called on, and desirous of fame ; prudent in theory, and wise 
in foreseeing the inevitable sequence of events, but reckless even 
beyond the recklessness of that time and people, and finally capable 
of inspiring in others strong affection and devotion to him in spite of 
his rugged self-sufficing temper." 1 It is one thing if this is to be 
regarded as the portrait of a man who really lived and died on this 
earth, or as the picture of some inhabitant of the Phaiakian cloud- 
land The translators raise a vital issue when they say that " to us 
moderns the real interest in these records of a past state of life lies 
principally in seeing events true in the main treated vividly and 
dramatically by people who completely understood the manners, life, 
and above all the turn of mind of the actors in them." 2 If we have 
any honest anxiety to ascertain facts, and if we are prepared to give 
credit to a narrative only when the facts have been so ascertained, 
then everything is involved in the question whether the events here 
related are true in the main or not The genealogies given in the 
earlier part of the Saga agree, we are told, with those of the Land- 
nama-bok and of the other most trustworthy Sagas ; yet such names 
tell us as much and as little as the names in the genealogy of the 
tale-maker Hekataios. A catalogue of names belonging to real 
persons cannot impart authority to a narrative of fictitious events, if 
they are fictitious; and when we have put aside these genealogies 
and the names of one or two kings, as of Olaf, Hacon, and Harold 
Fairhair, we have numbered all the historical elements in the book : 
nor is it necessary to say that some safeguard is wanted when we 
remember that the Carolingian romances take the great Karl to 

If then we have before us a story, some of the incidents of which Materials 
are manifestly impossible or absurd, we are scarcely justified in g^* e 
accepting, on the mere authority of the Saga, other portions which 
involve no such difficulties. We have the alternative of rejecting 
the whole story without troubling ourselves to examine it further, or 
we may take it to pieces, reducing it to its constituent elements, and 
then seeing whether these elements are to be found in any other 
narratives. If this should be the case, the character of the narratives 
in which these common elements are seen will go far towards deter- 
mining the credibility of the story. Clearly the latter course is the 
more philosophical and the more honest That the translators had 
1 P. xiv. 2 P. xiii. 




and Boots, 

isms be- 
tween the 
Saga and 

the clue in their own hands, is clear from the sentence in which, 
speaking of the events which followed Grettir's death, they tell us 
that " the Sagaman here has taken an incident, with little or no 
change, from the romance of Tristram and Iseult." 1 If, as they 
think, the chapters in which this incident is related were added to 
the tale, and if this part of the story be substantially the same as that 
of a romance which is known to be mythical ; if further, as they say, 
the whole Saga " has no doubt gone through the stages which mark 
the growth of the Sagas in general, that is, it was for long handed 
about from mouth to mouth until it took a definite shape in men's 
minds," 2 a presumption, to say the least, is furnished that other 
incidents in the Saga may be found to be of a like nature. 

If we take the sentences which tell us of Grettir's childhood, how 
he had scant love from his father who set him to watch his home- 
geese, how he was fair to look on, red-haired and much freckled, how 
he would do no work or spoilt all that he did ; how, when placed on 
board a boat, he " would move for nought, neither for baling, nor to 
do aught for the sail, nor to work at what he was bound to work at 
in the ship in even share with the other men, neither would he buy 
himself off from the work," 3 how, when he does some great thing, 
the remark is " we wotted not that thou wert a man of such powers 
as we have now proved thee," 1 how he goes disguised to the 
wrestling match, and when Thorbiorn Angle pushes and tugs hard 
at him, moves not a whit but sits quiet, yet wins the victory, — we 
have before us the Goose-girl and the Boots of Teutonic story, the 
Boots who sits among the ashes in the " irony of greatness," biding 
his time, — the disguised Odysseus, patiently enduring the gibes of 
the suitors and the beggar Arnaios. 

When the Saga tells us that on coming back from a Thing, 
" Grettir lifted a stone which now lies there in the grass and is called 
Grettir's heave," and how " many men came up to see the stone and 
found it a great wonder that so young a man should heave aloft such 
a huge rock," it relates a well-known legend in the myths of Theseus 
and of Sigurd in the Volsung tale. When Grettir is driven forth 
from his home without arms and his mother draws forth from her 
cloak the fair sword which has gained many a day, we see before us 
Thetis and Hjordis bestowing on their children the magic weapons 
which reappear in the hands of Arthur and of Roland. In the 

1 For the romance of Tristram, see * P. xv. 

Popular Romances of the Middle Ages, * P. 41. 

and Introduction to Comparative Mytho- * P. 58. 

logy, 326-33°- 


horrible smiting of the bearsarks, who are shut up in a barn, we have CHAP. 

the awful hall of slaughter in the Odyssey and the Nibelung Lay. '■ — • 

In the marvellous story of the demon who is vainly assailed first by 
Glam who becomes a demon himself, then by Thorgaut, but is finally 
slain by Grettir, we see the common type of the popular story in 
which the youngest son, or Boots, wins the day, when his two brothers 
or comrades fail. In the beaks of the ship which is so full of 
weather-wisdom that the one whistles before a south wind and the 
other before a north wind, we have a reminiscence of the divine 
Argo. 1 In the errand on which, when his companions have no fire, 
Grettir is sent to bring fire from a distant cliff, although " his mind 
bids him hope to get nought of good thereby," we see the myth of 
Prometheus and his recompense. The conflict of Grettir and Snse- 
koll is related in words so nearly resembling those of the narrative of 
David's fight with Goliath, that it is hard to resist the suspicion that 
we may have here an instance of mere copying, 2 or that we have a 
travesty of the story of Samson, as we read that " on a day as Grettir 
lay sleeping, the bonders came upon him, and when they saw him 
they took counsel how they should take him at the least cost of life, 
and settled so that ten men should leap on him while some laid 
bonds on his feet ; and thus they did, and threw themselves on him ; 
but Grettir broke forth so mightily that they fell from off him." 3 In his 
enormous strength, in his fitftil action, which is as often mischievous 
as it is beneficent, in the lot which makes him a servant of beings 
meaner than himself, which stirs up enemies against him in men 
whom he has never injured, in the doom which he foresees and which 
he has not the power, and indeed takes no pains, to avert, he is the 
very counterpart of Heraklgs and Achilleus. When he slays afresh 
Glam who has been long dead, the demon tells him " Hitherto thou 
hast earned fame by thy deeds, but henceforth will wrongs and 
inanslayings fall upon thee, and the most part of thy doings will turn 
to thy woe and illhap ; an outlaw shalt thou be made, and ever shall 
it be thy lot to dwell alone abroad." Henceforth he is " the traveller,'* 
who can know no rest, who seeks shelter of many great men ; " but 
something ever came to pass whereby none of them would harbour 
him." This, however, is the doom of Indra and Savitar in many 
Vedic hymns, of Wuotan Wegtam in Teutonic mythology, of Sigurd, 
Perseus, Bellerophon, Oidipous, Odysseus, Phoibos, and Dionysos. 
These are all wanderers and outlaws like Grettir, and there is scarcely 
an incident in the life of Grettir which is not found in the legends 
of one or more of the mythical beings just named. The overthrow 
1 Grettir Saga, 115. 2 lb. 123. » lb. 153. 







of Grettir. 

of the eighty assassins led on by Thorir of Garth is the defeat ol 
-- the Lykian ambuscade by Bellerophontes. After this the wounded 
hero goes to a cave under Balljdkul, where the daughter of Hallmund 
heals his wound, and treats him well. " Grettir dwelt long there 
that summer," like Odysseus in the cave of Kalypso, or Tanhaiiser 
in the Venusberg, or True Thomas in the coverts of Ercildoune; 
but we look to find him chafing, as these did, at the enforced rest. 
We turn over the page and we read, " Now as the summer wore, 
Grettir yearned for the peopled country, to see his friends and kin." 1 
It is Odysseus longing to see Penelope once more. But he is under 
a doom. As Olaf says, " If ever a man has been cursed, of all men 
must thou have been." 2 It is the curse which is laid on Ixion and 
Sisyphos, and singularly enough his father Asmund says of his son, 
" Methinks over much on a whirling wheel his life turns." s Hence 
also he dreads the darkness like a child, for Herakles, Helios, and 
Achilleus can do nothing when the sun has gone down. Hence 
too, the old mother of Thorbiorn lays on him the fate " that thou 
be left of all health, wealth, and good hap, all good heed and 
wisdom," the very fate of which Achilleus complains again and again 
to Thetis in the very bitterness of his heart If again Grettir has 
his brother Illugi in whom he has garnered up his soul, this is the 
story of Achilleus and Patroklos, of Peirithoos and Theseus, of 
the Dioskouroi, and a host of others- Nineteen years he is an 
outlaw. "Then said the lawman that no one should be longer in 
outlawing than twenty winters in all," and so Grettir was set free, 
as Odysseus returns home in the twentieth year. The incident which 
led to the death of Grettir is simply the myth of PhiloktetSs and of 
Rustem. The cutting off of Grettir's hand is an incident in the 
myth of Indra Savitar, of Tyr, and of Walthar of Aquitaine. When 
again it is said of him that " he is right-well ribbed about the chest, 
but few might think he would be so small of growth below," 4 we 
cannot avoid a comparison with the story of Shortshanks in Grimm's 
collection, or of Odysseus who, when he sits, is far more majestic 
than Menelaos, although the latter, when standing, towers above him 
by head and shoulders. 

In short, the Saga, as a whole, ceases practically to have any dis- 
tinctive features, and even in the sequel which relates the story of 
Thorstein, Dromund, and Spes, the incident which the translators 
compare with the romance of Tristram is not the only point of like- 
ness with other legends. The closing scenes in the lives of the two 
1 Grettir Saga, 171. * lb. 121. » lb. 126. > lb. 232. 


lovers precisely reproduce the last incidents in the myth of Lancelot chap. 
and Guinevere. Of the avenging of Grettir by Thorstein we need ■ 
only say that the same issue belongs to the stories of Sigurd and the 
Three Helgis, and that all these have their type and find their 
explanation in the avenging of Baldur. 





Section I.— DYAUS. 

The ancient Vedic mythology exhibits in a state of fusion the ele- 
ments which the Hellenic legends present to us in forms more or 
less crystallised; and precisely on this account it has for us an 
inestimable value as throwing light on the process by which the 
treasure-house of Aryan mythology was filled. The myths of Achil- 
leus and Sigurd point clearly enough to the idea of the sun as 
doomed to an early death : but the Vedic hymns bring before us 
a people to whom the death of the sun is a present reality, for whom 
no analogy has suggested the idea of a continuous alternation of day 
and night, and who know not, as the fiery chariot of the sun sinks 
down in the west, .whether they shall ever see again the bright face of 
him who was their friend. 1 All their utterances were thus the utter- 
ances of children who knew little of themselves and nothing of the 
world without them, and thus also they could not fail to apply to the 
same objects names denoting very different relations or characteris- 
tics. The heaven might be the father of the dawn, or he might be 
the child of the earth. The morning might be the parent of the sun r 
or she might be his sister, or his bride ; and we should expect (as we 
find), that, if the names denoting these ideas came to be employed 
as names of deities, the characters and powers of these gods would 
show a constant tendency to run into each other. 
The But the attribution to all sensible objects of a life as personal 

Ether nmg an( ^ consc ' ous as ^eii own would lead to the thought of one common 
source or origin of the life of all ; and this source could be found 
only in the broad bright heaven which brooded over the wide earth 
1 See p. 21, et seq. 



and across which the sun made his daily journey to cheer the 
children of men. Thus Dyaus, the glistening ether, 1 became to the • 
Hindu, as Zeus was to the Greek, a name for the supreme pod ; but 
although some mythical features entered gradually into the conception 
of this deity, the name retained its original significance too clearly to 
hold its ground in Hindu theology. Dyaus, like the Hellenic Oura- 
nos, must be displaced by his child, who at the first had brought 
out more prominently the supremacy of his father ; and thus Indra 
became to the Hindu what Zeus was to the Hellenic tribes, while 
the. Vedic Varuna retained in the east a spiritual character which 
Ouranos never acquired in the west." 



1 Dyaus, Zeus, Divus, Theos, Deus, 
Juno, Diana, Dianus or Janus, with 
many others, are outgrowths from the 
same root, dyu to shine. But in his 
Introduction to Greek and Latin Ety- 
mology, Mr. Peile, while fully allowing 
that the Sanskrit name Dyaus is repre- 
sented by the Greek Zeus and by the 
Latin divus and deus, yet denies that 
there is any relation between the Latin 
deus and the Greek Beds. By the laws 
of phonetic change, he insists, the Latin 
d must answer to a Greek 5, as in Sd/j.os, 
domus : hence some other root must be 
sought for Beds, perhaps OE2, a second- 
ary form of 0E, the root of rifljjjui, 
though this is rejected by Professor 
Curtius, Gr. Et. pp. 230, 404, in favour 
of a distinct root thes or fes (meaning 
to pray), which he traces in festus and 
in BzaawaBtu.. (Pind. N. v. 18.) I 
venture to think that too great a stress 
is here laid on laws which undoubtedly 
apply generally to the Aryan languages, 
but to which there are yet some instances 
of apparent and some even of real ex- 
ception. The Greek Sditpv is rightly 
represented by the English tear, while 
SdKos, the biting beast, reappears in its 
legitimate dress in the German Toggen- 
burg ; but in English we have not t as 
in tear, but dog, while in Latin it is 
seen in "tigris," tiger, which approaches 
nearly to the English ' ' tyke " as a name 
for the dog. In the same way ir in the 
Greek iraros ought to be represented by 
/in English ; but it appears as "path." 
The connection of the two words can 
scarcely be doubted, for if Professor 
Curtius may give the equation itcStos : 
ir6vros = Tri9os: irfvBos = 0d8os : j8eV8os, 
we may also add iraVoi : ir<Sj'Tos=pafh : 
pond. Hence the fact that the Greek 
form of Dyaus is Be is, not tieis, scarcely 
warrants our severing the two words. 

If the Vedic adeva is the Greek &8eos, 
the relationship of Bebs with the Latin 
"deus " is established. In this conclu- 
sion I am following Professor Max 
Muller, Lectures on Languagt , second 
series, 425-455. Professor Max Muller 
has gone into this matter afresh {Selected 
Essays, vol. i. p. 215, note B), reaching 
the same conclusion. There are ex- 
ceptions, he adds, to phonetic laws ; 
and although the. greatest caution is 
needed in dealing with them, it is of no 
use to shut our eyes to them or refuse 
to consider them. I pointed out one 
in my History of Greece, vol. i. p. 577, 
n. 1038. If to this we add Thrinakia, 
it seems scarcely to follow that we have 
before us any phonetic anomaly. It 
would be unsafe to say that kindred 
tribes, long passed' away, had not said 
three for 3, and called a tree a tree, and 
not Spvs. If we cannot venture to 
identify God and good in English or its 
kindred dialects, still less can we venture 
to deny their affinity — in other words, 
their growth from a common root. 

2 Heaven and earth, it would seem, 
are in the earliest hymns alike self- 
existent; but Dr. Muir ("Principal 
Deities of the Rig Veda," Transactions 
of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, vol. 
xxiii. part iii.) remarks that we are 
not told, as in the Hesiodic Theogony, 
which of the two is the older. "On the 
contrary, one of the ancient poets seems 
to have been perplexed by the difficulty 
of this question, as at the beginning of 
one of the hymns (i. 185) he exclaims, 
' Which of you twain was the first, and 
which the last ? How were they pro. 
duced? Sages, who knows?' His 
power and wisdom are shown most of 
all in the creation or evocation of his 
son Indra. Thus of Indra it is said, 
' Thy father was the parent of a most 


BOOK Dyu, then, in the land of the five streams was at once a name 

• : ■ for the sky and a name for God, Dyaus pitar, Dyaus the Father, 

Pnthfvi and answering to the Zeus Pater of the Greeks and the Jupiter and Janus 
Pater of the Latins. As such, he was Visvakarman, the great archi- 
tect of the universe, who knows all spheres and worlds, 1 janita 
(yeverrjp), the parent of all things, Prithivi, the broad earth, being the 
mother of his children. 2 As, again, with the Greeks Zeus is both the 
god of rain and the being to whom all who are in pain and sorrow 
address their prayer, so the Maruts or storms go about in dyu, the 
sky, while their worshippers on earth invoke the mercy of Dyaus, 
Prithivi, and Agni. But the Indian land under its scorching sun 
depends wholly on the bounty of the benignant rain god ; and hence 
Indra, who is the child of Dyu, and who from Dyu receives his 
might, becomes more immediately the fertiliser of the earth and is 
regarded as more powerful than his father. But Dyu, although his 
greatness is obscured by that of his son, still wields the thunderbolt ; 
and the original meaning of the name reappears in the myth which 
represents him as the father of the dawn who is invincible by all but 
ideas Thus Dyaus is to Prithivi what Ouranos is to Gaia 8 in the 

the name y Hesiodic theogony, the Greek myth differing from the former only 
D y u - in deciding that Gaia herself produced Ouranos to be coextensive 

with herself. The Hindu had not so far solved the difficulty; and 
the doubt expressed on this subject shows the peculiar attitude of the 
Indian mind to the problems of the sensible universe. The Greek 
was at once contented with answers suggested by the old mythical 
phrases, or by the phenomena which he might be describing. The 
Hindu, ever dwelling on the thought of an unseen world, strove to 
gain some insight into the nature of things, and to unlock secrets for 
which the material world could never furnish a key. Hence Dyu 
was for him sometimes the supreme God, sometimes the heaven 
which with the earth had been fashioned by the gods and strengthened 

heroic son : the maker of Indra, he who 2 This name is not found in any 

produced the celestial and invincible Greek myth as the designation of a 

thunderer, was a most skilful work- person ; but it is represented by ir\a.Te?a, 

man.'" — R. V. iv. 17, 4. But it was the feminine of irXa-rm, broad, 
obvious that the abstract conception of ' This name clearly contains the root 

Dyu as the father of Indra could not of a vast number of words denoting the 

stand against the overwhelming weight power of production, this root being 

of the myths which were continually perhaps ge or gen ; nor can we doubt 

springing up from phrases not originally that the reference to this family of words 

antagonistic with the monotheistic belief explains the Latin phrase in the form 

or conviction. of marriage known as Coemptio, in 

1 Muir, Principal Deities of R. V., which the wife says to her husband, 

553- Ubi tu Caius, ego Caia. 


with undecaying supports, and which trembled and bowed down in chap. 

the presence of the deities. Sometimes he was the aiypervading : ■ 

spirit, sometimes a material and tangible firmament ; and thus again 
the question arose of the origin of matter. Of his own ignorance the 
Hindu was perfectly conscious, and he had already begun to think 
that this ignorance extended even to the gods themselves. " Who 
can tell whence this creation arose ? The gods are subsequent to its 
production. Who then knows whence it sprung? He who in the 
highest heaven is its ruler, he knows, or perhaps not even he." x So 
far as this question was answered at all, it was answered by Greek 
and Hindu in the same way. In the Hesiodic theogony, Chaos, 
Gaia, and Tartaros are beings apparently self-existent ; or at the least 
the scheme begins with Chaos, and no parents are assigned to Gaia 
and Tartaros, or to Eros, who immediately follows, and precedes the 
birth of Erebos z and Nyx, of Aither and Hemera.- The Hellenic 
poet had brought with him from his primeval home the tradition 
which he shared with the Hindu : but having given utterance to it, 
he bestowed no further thought upon it. With the latter the position 
of Kama, the representative of the Hesiodic Eros, determines the 
character of his philosophy. The desire (ope£is), which in the Ari- 
stotelian Ethics must precede all moral action, is as essential to the 
divine as to the human mind, and thus Kama is the being through 
whom the world is fashioned, when as yet there existed only the one. 8 
The Wish of Teutonic mythology answers more closely to the 
Hesiodic Eros than to the Vedic Kama The Homeric poet knew 
that men always have a need of the gods ; 4 but he was not, like the 
Hindu, always conscious of the need, always striving to know more 
of that mysterious power, always yearning for the time when he 
should no more see through the glass darkly. 

Section II.— VARUNA and MITRA. 

As Dyaus is the god of heaven in its dazzling purity and bright- The solid 
ness, so is Varuna also the heaven as serving, like the Hellenic Heaven - 
Ouranos, to veil or cover the earth. It is true that in the Hesiodic 
theogony Ouranos is united with Gaia, whereas it is not Varuna but 

1 Jt. V. x. 129; Muir, ibid. 553. events, the Arabs are the people in the 

* Ereboswas the name used todenote West of Asia; and Algarve is the 

the dark western land through which Estremadura, the westernmost region, 

the shades of the departed pass on their of the Iberian peninsula. 

way to Hades. There can be little ' Muir, ibid. Max Miiller, Sanskrit 

doubt that the word is not Aryan ; and Literature, 559, et seq. 

it may be traced not improbably to the * irdmcs flewv x<w<(ou<r' ivtpaitoi- 

Assyrian eribu, to descend. At all Od. iii. 48. 




aspects of 

Dyaus who in the Vedic hymns is mentioned as having Prithivt for 
the mother of his children. The difference is, perhaps, only in 
appearance. Gaia is really wedded to Zeus not less than to Ouranos, 
if Demeter be but Gaia viewed as the mother of all living things. 
Varuna, then, as the solid heaven, which is spread over the earth, is 
strictly a creation of mythical speech and is embodied in a visible 
form. He sits on his throne, clothed in golden armour, and along 
with Mitra dwells in a palace which, like that of Helios, is supported 
by a thousand columns, while his messengers stand around to do his 
bidding. But his mythical characteristics are in the Rig Veda per- 
petually suggesting the idea of an unseen and almighty Being who 
has made all things and upholds them by his will. In many of the 
Vedic hymns we are carried altogether out of the region of mythology, 
and we see only the man communing directly with his Maker. In 
these hymns Varuna " dwells in all worlds as sovereign ; indeed, the 
three worlds are embraced within him. The wind which resounds 
through the firmament is his breath. He has placed the sun in the 
heaven, and opened up a boundless path for it to traverse. He has 
hollowed out the channels of the rivers. It is by his wise contrivance 
that, though all the rivers pour out their waters into the sea, the sea 
is never filled. By his ordinance the moon shines in the sky, and 
the stars which are visible by night disappear on the approach of day- 
light. Neither the birds flying in the air, nor the rivers in their 
sleepless flow, can attain a knowledge of his power or his wrath. His 
spies (or angels) behold both worlds. He himself has a thousand 
eyes. He knows the flight of birds in the sky, the path of ships on 
the sea, the course of the far-sweeping wind, and perceives all the 
hidden things that have been or shall be done." * 

All these are phrases which may be suggested directly by the 
phenomena of the heaven ; but the chariot in which Varuna is borne 
over the earth, 2 is, like the eye of Zeus, lost in the purely spiritual 
thought of One who has no body and no passions, who, as seeing all 
things, sees also that which is evil, and who, as having nothing that 
is evil in himself, must punish and finally destroy it in the sinner. In 

1 Muir,, Principal Deities of R. V., 
558. In a passage from the Alharva 
Veda, quoted by Dr. Muir, ibid., and 
Professor Max Miiller, Chips, i. 42, the 
same thought is worked out in language 
which is piecisely reproduced in the 
139th Psalm, and which also carries 
us to expressions and sentences in the 
Sermon on the Mount, and in other 
parts of the New Testament. The 

parallelism between the expressions of 
Aryan and Semitic monotheism is further 
traced out by M. Maury, Croyances ct 
Ligendcs de V Afitiquite" : — ' ' La Religion 
des Aryas." 

2 This chariot " shines with a golden 
radiance at the break of day, and at 
sunset assumes the colour of iron." — 
Muir, ibid. 557. 


some hymns, however, the two lines of thought seem to be blended chap. 

strangely together; in other words, we see in them the prpcess by — — ^ 

which men rose from the lower conception to the higher. That 
sense of sin, which, as distinguished from the transgression of a posi- 
tive law, can scarcely be said to have been present to the Greek 
mind, weighs heavy on the spirit of the Hindu, even while his con- 
ception of the Deity whom he addresses may be almost coarse in its 
familiarity. Varuna has received in the sacrifice the choice portions 
which please him most, and the worshipper may fairly demand that 
the question between them may be discussed reasonably as between 
friends. 1 But whatever may be said of the theory of the nature of 
sin, a pure monotheistic conviction is pre-eminently seen in the 
following prayer. 

" Let me not yet, O Varuna, enter into the house of clay ; have 
mercy, almighty, have mercy. 

" If I go along trembling like a cloud driven by the wind, have 
mercy, almighty, have mercy. 

" Through want of strength, thou strong and bright god, have I 
gone to the wrong shore : have mercy, almighty, have mercy. 

"Thirst came upon the worshipper, though he stood in the 
midst of the waters : have mercy, almighty, have mercy. 

" Whenever we men, O Varuna, commit an offence before the 
heavenly host, whenever we break thy law through thoughtlessness, 
have mercy, almighty, have mercy." 2 

If the singular purity and unselfishness of the Hesiodic morality, Aryan mo- 
as compared with that of the poems to which we give the name of 
Homer, suffice of themselves to prove the essential distinction be- 
tween mythology and religion, these simple utterances of the Vedic 
poets show even more forcibly that the genuine belief in one almighty 
Being who is at once our Father, our Teacher, and our Judge, had 
its home first in the ancient Aryan land. It was a conviction to 
which they were guided by all that they saw or could apprehend of 
outward phenomena as well as by the irrepressible yearnings which 
stirred their hearts. For such yearnings and for such a conscious- 
ness in the Hebrew tribes we look in vain, before the Babylonish 
captivity. Among them we have at best only the warnings of a few 
isolated teachers, who saw things hidden from other eyes, and whose 
words, although they sounded in the ears of their countrymen like 

1 Max Muller, History of Sanskrit which runs through many of the Hebrew 

Literature, 537. It is scarcely necessary Psalms. 

to compare this language with the * Max Muller, History of Sanskrit 

similar tone of familiar expostulation Literature, 540. 




Aditi A and 
the Adi- 

parables; would have conveyed a familiar meaning to the Aryans of 
northern India 1 It matters little then whether Varuna be in these 
hymns mentioned almost invariably in conjunction with Mitra and 
sometimes with other gods. Like these, he is Aditya, Kronion, if 
Aditi be time; but the mythical notion thus introduced sate so 
loosely on those who held it, that their language ceased to show 
any sign of its influence in times of real anguish and sorrow. 2 It 
was enough that they could realise at once the righteousness of God, 
and His readiness to forgive those who disobeyed His laws so soon 
as they repented them of their sin. 8 

The process which converted the physical Varuna into a spiritual 
God is carried to its extreme results in the conception of Aditi, " the 
unbound, the unbounded," or even, as being expressed by the nega- 
tion of diti, a bond, " the Absolute." This indefinite term was 
naturally used to denote the source from which all life, even the life 
of the gods, springs ; and thus Aditi, the Infinite, became the mother 

1 These words were written before 
the appearance of Professor Max 
Miiller's article on Semitic Monotheism 
in his volumes of collected essays. Few 
probably will read that paper without 
feeling that on the main question very 
little room is left for doubt. Polytheism 
is to be found in both the Semitic and 
the Aryan races, but it was more in- 
grained in the former. The very inter- 
changeableness of the attributes of the 
Vedic gods was, to a. certain extent, a 
safeguard against any conscious and 
systematic polytheism. So long as this 
state of thought continued, Dyaus, 
Varuna, Indra, Vishnu, would be but 
many names for one and the same 
Being ; but of course " every new name 
threatened," to use Professor Miiller's 
words, "to obscure more and more the 
primitive intuition of God." — Chips, ii. 
358. With the Jews the names under 
which they worshipped a multitude of 
gods were manifestly mere appellatives 
which never underwent any phonetic 
corruption, and thus the tendency to 
polytheism became the more inveterate. 
It is, however, scarcely necessary to say 
more than that "if there had been in 
the Semitic race a truly monotheistic 
instinct, the history of those nations 
would become perfectly unintelligible." 
— Ibid. 365. See further, the Hibbert 
Lectures, 1878, Lecture vi. 

2 "Every god is conceived as supreme, 
or at least as inferior to no other god, 
at the time that he is praised or invoked 
i)y the Vedic poets ; and the feeling 

that the various deities are but different 
names, different conceptions of that in- 
comprehensible Being which no thought 
can reach and no language express, is 
not yet quite extinct in the minds of 
some of the more thoughtful Rishis." — 
Max Muller, Lectures on Language, 
second series, 412. It might be added 
that the interpretations of later theolo- 
gians cannot be accounted for except by 
the fact that this conviction never be- 
came totally extinct. Even when the 
whole Hindu Pantheon has attained its 
final dimensions, the myths are so 
treated as to leave little doubt of the 
real meaning in the writer's mind. The 
outward respect paid to the popular 
legends thinly disguises that monothe- 
istic (or henotheistic) conviction, which 
accounts for much that would otherwise 
be perplexing in the writings of Roman 
Catholic and other theologians. 

3 The distinction between the old 
Vedic theory of sin and the forms of 
belief still prevalent on the subject can- 
not always be very broadly drawn. 

" I ask, O Varuna, wishing to know 
this my sin. I go to ask the wise. The 
Sages all tell me the same. Varuna it 
is who is angry with me. 

' ' Was it an old sin, O Varuna, that 
thou wishest to destroy thy friend, who 
always praises thee? Tell me, thou 
unconquerable lord, and I will quickly 
turn to thee with praise freed from sin. 

"Absolve us from the sins of our 
fathers and from those which we com- 
mitted with our own bodies." 


of all the gods. The fact is startling; but, in Professor Miiller's CHAP. 

words, "the thoughts of primitive humanity were not onlj» different 
from our thoughts, but different also from what we think their 
thoughts ought to have been. The poets of the Veda indulged freely 
in theogonic speculations without being frightened by any contradic- 
tions. They knew of Indra as the greatest of gods, they knew of 
Agni as the god of gods, they knew of Varuna as the ruler of all ; 
but they were by no means startled at the idea, that their Indra had 
a mother, or that their Agni was born like a babe from the friction of 
two fire-sticks, or that Varuna and his brother Mitra were nursed in 
the lap of Aditi." Hence Aditi was contrasted with Diti, the un- 
bounded with the definite, while it became more and more a name 
for the distant east from which all the bright gods seem to come, and 
for the boundless space beyond the east, drawing a sharp distinction 
between " what is yonder, and what is here." x But the process could 
not be stopped at this point. The gods had been called dakshapitar, 
the fathers of strength, the mighty ; and the same equivocation which 
made Odysseus spring from Autolykos converted the epithet Daksha 
into the father of the gods. It followed that Aditi was sprung from 
Daksha, or Daksha from Aditi, who also owed his existence to Bhu, 
being, and the conclusion was reached that " Not-being and Being 
are in the higher heaven, in the birth-place of Daksha, in the lap of 
Aditi." But more especially Aditi became the mother of the bright 
gods, of Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman, and, in fact, of the seven Adityas, 
although their names are not definitely given in the hymns of the Rig 
Veda. 2 On the one side, then, Diti was growing into " a definite 

1 In his lectures on the Origin and of the lunar month as a possible proto- 
Growth of Religion, Professor Max type of the Adityas," adding that " this 
Miiller contends that the name Aditi might even A explain the destruction of 
belongs to the oldest age of Vedic the eighth Aditya, considering that the 
thought, being found in invocations eighth day of each parvan, owing to its 
together with Dyaus, Prithivl, Sindhu, uncertainty, might be represented as 
and other really primitive deities, all of exposed to decay and destruction." — 
whom, and not the Adityas only, are Rig Veda Sanhita, i. 241. The eighth 
said to be her children, pp. 227-229. Aditya is named Martanda, a being 
He regards jt therefore as one of the destitute of any modifications of shape, 
oldest names of the dawn, "or, more i.e. without hands or legs — in short, a 
correctly, of that portion of the sky mere lump. The name means probably 
from whence every morning the light the egg of death (mritya). Martanda 
and life of the world flashed forth." differs from his brothers, the seven 

2 Why the Adityas should be seven Adityas, in his form, or lack of form, 
or eight in number, is a question of and in his mortality. He is, there- 
which Professor Max Miiller, whom fore, a mere circle, the golden egg of 
here I have simply to follow, admits the the heaven, the sun which sets (dies) 
difficulty. The number seven, though daily; and is therefore said to be 
a sacred number, is not more sacred than "thrown out by Aditi from the corn- 
other numbers in the Rig Veda, and he pany of the gods and the splendours 
contents himself with suggesting "the of the invisible world into the inferior, 
seven days or tithis of the four parvanas visible, and material world, to live and 

1 5 6 



The phy- 
sical and 

person, one of the daughters of Daksha, the wife of Kasyapa, the 
mother of the enemies of the gods, the Daityas" (such, Professor 
Miiller remarks, being "the growth of legend, mythology, and reli- 
gion "), while on the other, Aditi herself was fast becoming " one of 
those deities, who would best remove the bonds of sin or misery.'' 
Thus the poet prays to Agni, — 

" Whatever, O youthful god, we have committed against thee, 
men as we are, whatever sin through thoughtlessness, make us guilt- 
less of Aditi, loosen the sins on all sides." 

All this, however, simply reproduces the Hesiodic theogony, in 
which Eros precedes Ouranos, to be represented again in Himeros. 

Some light is thrown on the relations of Varuna with Mitra by 
the Hesiodic description of Ouranos as the lover of the earth over 
which he broods each night ; * and thus Varuna, like Ouranos, is 
specially the veiling heaven whose presence is most felt at nightfall, 
when the sky seems to descend nearest to the earth, while Mitra, like 
Dyu and Zeus, represents the firmament glistening with the splendour 
of noon-day. But although the same root which furnished the 
names of Varuna and Ouranos yielded a name also for the evil 
power, first of physical, and afterwards of moral darkness, still the 
idea of Varuna has nothing in common with that of Vritra. His 
destructive nooses are prepared for the wicked only. They ensnare 
the man who speaks lies and pass by the man who speaks truth. 2 
Like the Greek Poseidon Pylaochos, he holds the unrighteous fast in 
prison : but it is as the punisher of iniquity which cannot be hidden 
from his piercing eye, 8 and not as the gloomy and inflexible Hades of 
the nether world. He is the omniscient Asura or spirit who props 
up the sky, 4 and this epithet may almost suffice to identify him with 
the Zendic Ahura who appears commonly in conjunction with 
Mithras, as Varuna is linked with Mitra. 6 From the simple germ 

die daily in the sight of men.'' Mar- 
tanda thus answers to the Egyptian 
golden ape, which has neither hands 
nor feet. — Brown, Religion of Zoroaster, 

1 Theog. 176. 

2 Atharva Veda, iv. 16, 6. Muir, 
Principal Deities of R. V., 558. 

3 ' ' King Varuna perceives all that 
is within and all that is beyond heaven 
and earth. The winkings of men's eyes 
are numbered by him." Cf. "the very 
hairs of your head are all numbered : " 

irdvra. iSitv Atbs otptiaAuhs Kal Ttavra. 
voricas' — Hes. Op. et Dies, 265. 
"The eyes of the Lord are in every 
place, beholding the evil and the good. 

4 R. V. viii. 42, 1. Muir, Sanskrit 
Texts, part iv. chap. ii. sect. 2. The 
name Asura belongs to the same root 
with that of the Teutonic M&ir. , 

6 The reasons urged in support of 
this conclusion are given by Dr. Muir, 
Principal Deities of R. V., 556, as fol- 
lows : ( 1 ) the name Asura, etymologi- 
cally identical with Ahura, is a common 
epithet of Varuna; a (2) the class of 
Indian gods called Adityas, of whom 
Varuna is the highest, bears a certain 
analogy to the Zendic Amshaspands, of 
whom Ahura-Mazdao is the highest ; 
(3) a close connexion exists between 
Varuna and Mitra, just as Ahura and 
Mithra are frequently associated in the 


thus afforded by mythical phrases which described the various CHAP. 

changes of the heaven, sprung the metaphysical refinements of later — —- ^ > 

Hindu philosophers, and the wild and cumbrous developements of 
later Hindu mythology. The true greatness of Varuna belongs to 
the earliest phase of Hindu thought. He is eclipsed first by Indra, 
and at length is overthrown by Krishna beneath the waters of the 

Section III.— INDRA. 

If Dyaus and Varuna were alike doomed to lose their ancient The pri- 
ma] esty, a brighter lot was in store for Indra; and the picture which ^p^onof 
the oldest Vedic hymns present to us of this god has a special value Indr * 
as enabling us to determine the measure in which religion and mytho- physical, 
logy affected each other. That a moral or spiritual element may be 
discerned in some of the characteristics of this deity, is beyond ques- 
tion : that the whole idea of the god can be traced to the religious 
instinct of mankind, the boldest champions of the theory which 
ascribes the growth of all mythology to the direct action of religious 
impulse or revelation will scarcely venture to affirm. The true 
religious instinct must point to the absolute rule of one righteous 
God, and cannot itself originate the idea of many independent 
centres of action. If this instinct furnished the true germ of all 
mythology, then the mythology of the Iliad and Odyssey is far older 
than that of the Veda; in other words, the crystallised granite 
is older than the ingredients of which it is composed In our 
Homeric poems, in the midst of abundant signs indicating the later 
growth of the notion, we have an acknowledged King of heaven, 
from whom all the Olympian gods derive their power, or whose will 
they are at least bound to perform, and who alone retains unimpaired 
his full characteristics as lord of the bright heaven. Although Phoibos 

Zendavesta, though the position of the six with Ormuzd himself make up 

two has otherwise become altered, and the mystic number of seven spirits of 

Mithra, who is not even reckoned holiness and purity. It has been well 

among the Amshaspands, is placed said that we have here "a striking 

between the two powers of good and instance of the intense monotheism of 

evil. "Zwischen Ormuzd (Licht) und the system of Zarathustra, for they are 

Ariman (Finsterniss) steht Mithras not distinct divinities in origin, but, 

mitten inne, heisst darum Mittler, as their names show, merely phases of 

u€<riT7)r, Plut. de Is."— Nork, Real the beneficent action and perfect cha- 

Worterbuch, s. v. Mithrascult. The racter of the Supreme." Mr. Brown, 

Amshaspands, or Immortal Benefactors, Religion of Zoroaster, § 14, adds that a. 

are the six spirits created by Ahura- like number of counsellors were in later 

Mazdao, the spirit known as the Good times invented for the evil Ahriman. 

Mind (Vohumano, Bahman) ; the spirit But these beings belong only to the 

of Truth ; of Good Government ; of domain of artificial mythology. 
Wisdom ;' of Wealth ; of Health ; of * Muir, Sanskrit Texts, part iv. ch.. 

Immortal Happiness, Ameretad. These ii. sect. 5. 




Action of 
the Vedic 


still bears his unerring weapons, yet his arrows lie within the quiver 
■ until some wickedness of man compels him to draw them forth. 
The superhuman action of the Iliad and Odyssey, in short, has 
reference strictly to the deeds and fortunes of men ; the age of con- 
flicts between the gods has almost passed away. The conspiracy 
of Here, Poseidon, and Athene to bind Zeus, is amongst the latest of 
those struggles which had culminated in the wars of the Titans, for 
when in the last great battle of Achilleus the gods turn against each 
other in the fray, there is still no thought of assailing the great King 
who sits in his serene ether far above the turmoil raging beneath 
him. 1 

The true mythical action of the Achaian deities is thus intermit- 
tent. In the hymns of the Rig Veda it is continuous, and their action 
is but remotely concerned with human interests. Like the Hesiodic 
Zeus, they love the savour of burnt-offerings, and hasten to receive 
their share of the sacrifice : but as soon as the rites are over, they 
return to their own proper work as wielding the forces which are 
manifested in the changing heavens. The Vedic gods are thus, pre- 
eminently, transparent Instead of one acknowledged king, each is 
lord in his own domain; each is addressed as the maker of all 
visible things, while their features and characteristics are in almost all 
cases interchangeable. Dyaus and Indra, Varuna and Agni are each 
in his turn spoken of as knowing no superior, and the objects of their 
chief care are not the children of men, but the winds, the storms, the 
clouds, and the thunder, which are constantly rising in rebellion 
against them. No sooner is one conflict ended than another is 
begun, or rather the same conflict is repeated as the days and seasons 
come round. Whenever the rain is shut up in the clouds, the dark 
power is in reyolt against Dyaus and lndra. In the rumblings of the 
thunder, while the drought still sucks out the life of the earth, are 
heard the mutterings of their hateful enemy. In the lightning flashes 
which precede the outburst of the pent-up waters are seen the irre- 
sistible spears of the god, who is attacking the throttling serpent in his 
•den ; and in the serene heaven which shone out when the deluging 

1 " L'Olympe, dans Homere, ressem- 
ble a une monarchie etablie de longue 
date, oil chaque personnage a, par droit 
de naissance, son emploi, ses titles in- 
variables, et son rang dont il ne songe 
pas a se departir. Dans cette sorte de 
cour que les dieux tiennent autour de 
Jupiter, ils se sont depouilles de leur 
caractere propre et de leur originality 
native . . . Comme ces dignitaires des 
anciennes monarchies qui continuent a 

porter des titres depuis longtemps vides 
de sens, ils ont des surnoms dont ils 
semblent ignorer la valeur." — Breal, 
Hercule et Cams, 81. The very fact 
that the mythical attributes of these 
gods become less and less denned, 
while their subordination to Zeus be- 
comes more and more marked, is the 
strongest evidence of the mythological 
origin of the whole. 


clouds had passed away, men beheld the face of the mighty deity CHAP. 

who was their friend. So completely does the older mythology of • : ■ 

the Veda carry us away from the one idea which musf be first 
awakened by the genuine religious instinct of mankind. 

No stronger evidence than that which is furnished by this con- The Greek 
trast could be adduced to show that in no single feature is the ™ y t b ° r ° gy 
mythology of our Homeric poems borrowed from the people who rowed 
betook themselves to the banks of the Indus and the Ganges. The Vedic. 
Vedic Dyaus may in all essential features be reproduced in the 
Hellenic Zeus. Like Phoibos Chrysaor, Indra may bear a lance or 
an arrow, which can never miss its mark : but in the one case we 
have a mere sketch, in the other a finished picture ; and the differ- 
ences in the character of the detail preclude all idea that for either 
Zeus or Hermes, Helen or Paris, Erinys or Achilleus, the Achaian 
poets were indebted to the Vedic Dyaus or Sarameya, to Pani or 
Saram^l, to Saranyu or Aharyu. To one common source they do 
indeed point; and the several stages of developement which mark 
the early mythologies of India and Hellas leave us in no doubt of 
the nature of the germ from which they spring. 

At once, then, we turn away from the cumbrous and complicated Indra, a 
mythology of the later Vedic literature, 1 as from the uncouth out- bright 
growths of the Orphic theogony we turn to the earlier phases in heaven - 
which the Greek epic and lyric poets exhibit their ancestral deities. 
We are not concerned with the later conflicts of Indra, which end in 
his being bound by Indragit, 2 while we have before us a series of 
songs which speak of him simply as the invincible god of the bright 
heaven. Yet, although there still remains a large difference between 
Indra and Apollon, too great stress can scarcely be laid on the fact 
that as we trace the Vedic gods as far back as the Veda itself will 
carry us, the essential likeness between the Hindu and the Hellenic 
deities becomes more and more striking. If further we find that, 
when thus examined, their functions become, if the expression may 
be used, more and more atmospheric, — if they become the powers 
which produce the sights of the changing sky, — if their great wars are 
waged in regions far above the abodes of men, the last blow is given 
to the theory which by the most arbitrary of assumptions finds the 
root of all mythology in the religious instincts of mankind. 

In the Vedic Indra there is this further peculiarity, that, although Meaning 
his name ceased, like that of Dyaus, to be chiefly a name for the sky, ' 

of the 

1 See the remarks quoted by Pro- ! A summary of the story of Indra 

fessor Max MUller from Professor Roth and Indragit is given by Dr. Muir, 
(Sanskrit Literature, 60). Sanskrit Texts, iv. p. 422. 


BOOK and although the struggle in which he is constantly engaged has in- 

■ definitely affected the faith of Christendom, yet the deity himself has 

but little of a purely moral or spiritual element in his character. It 

is true that he is sometimes invoked as witnessing all the deeds of 

men and thus as taking cognisance of their sins ; but the warfare 

which he has to wage is purely a physical conflict, and it is chiefly in 

the phrases by which his adversary is described, that we find the 

germs of the dualistic creed which bears the name of Zoroaster. 

Nowhere then, in the oldest monuments of Hindu thought, is the 

real character of Indra lost sight of. His home is in the bright 

heaven ; but, as his name denotes, 1 he is specially the bringer of the 

most precious of all boons to a thirsty and gaping land. He is the 

giver of the rain which falls on the earth when the tyranny of the 

scorching wind is overpast. 

The might In vain is Indra assailed in his career by the same enemies which 

festyof" see k to destroy tne infant Herakles. The Rakshasa fares no better 

indra. t h an the snakes. 

"Vyansa, exulting and striking hard blows, smote thee, Mag- 
havan, upon the jaw; whereupon, being so smitten, thou provedst the 
stronger and didst crush the head of the slave with the thunderbolt." a 

Like Herakles and Phoibos again, he has to go in search of lost 
or stolen cattle. With the conveying Maruts, " the traversers of 
places difficult of access," he discovers the cows hidden in their 

" Great is thy prowess, Indra, we are thine. Satisfy, Maghavan, 
the desires of thy worshipper. The vast heaven has acknowledged 
thy might ; this earth has been bowed down through thy vigour. 

"Thou, thunderer, hast shattered with thy bolt the broad and 
massive cloud into fragments, and hast sent down the waters that 
were confined in it, to flow at will : verily thou alone possessest all 
power." 8 

So, again, addressing Indra as Parjanya the rain-bringer, the 
poet says, 

" The winds blow strong, the lightnings flash, the plants spring up, 
the firmament dissolves; earth becomes fit for all creatures, when 
Parjanya fertilises the soil with showers." * 

" Master of tawny steeds, the remotest regions are not remote for 
thee." 6 

1 " Indra, a name peculiar to India, Lectures on Language, second series, 430. 
admits of but one etymology, i.e. it 2 Rig Veda Sanhita, H. H. Wilson, 

must be derived from the same root, vol. iii. p. 156. 
whatever that may be, which in Sanskrit ' lb. i. 154, * lb. ii. 373. 

yielded indu, drop, sap."— Max Muller, 5 lb. iii. 37. 


"At the birth of thee who art resplendent, trembled the heaven cn.\r. 

and trembled the earth through fear of thy wrath : the mighty clouds — — : • 

were confined : they destroyed (the distress of drought), spreading 
the waters over the dry places." 1 Lastly, as the solar god, he is the 
Wanderer, like the Teutonic Wegtam, like Odysseus, Sigurd, Diony- 
sos, Phoibos, Theseus, Bellerophon, Oidipous, Herakles, and Savitar. 

" Wonderful Indra, wanderer at times, thou art verily the granter 
of our desires." 2 

Indra then is the lord of the heaven, omnipotent and all-seeing : India the 
but so had been, or rather was, his father Dyu ; and thus some ™inger. 
epithets which in the west are reserved for Zeus are in the east trans- 
ferred to Indra, and the Jupiter Stator of the Latins reappears as the 
Indra sthatar of the Hindu. 8 The rain-bringer must be younger than 
the sky in which the clouds have their birthplace ; but however 
sharply his personality may be defined, the meaning of the name is 
never forgotten. As the Maruts, or winds, are said sometimes to 
course through Dyaus (the heaven), so the clouds sometimes move 
in Indra (the sky). In all the phrases which describe this god, the 
local colouring arising from the climate of northern India may be 
plainly discerned. Although the Delian Phoibos soon belts his 
golden sword to his side, yet for some time after his birth he lies in 
the white and spotless robe in which the nymphs had wrapped him. 
The Vedic Indra awakes sooner to the consciousness of his power, 
and as soon as he is born, the slayer of Vritra asks his mother, " Who 
are they that are renowned as fierce warriors ? " * Like the Hellenic 
Apollon, he has golden locks and a quiver of irresistible arrows ; but 
the arrows have a hundred points and are winged with a thousand 
feathers. In his hand he holds the golden whip which Phoibos gives 
to Hermes as the guardian of his cattle ; and like Helios, he is borne 
across the heavens in a flaming chariot drawn by the tawny or glisten- 
ing steeds called the Harits, whose name and whose brightness alone 
reappear in the Charites of the Hellenic land, but who still retain the 
form most familiar to the Hindu in the Xanthos and Balios who are 
yoked to the car of Achilleus. Like the streaming locks from the 
head of Phoibos, so the beard of Indra flashes like lightning, as he 

1 Cf. Judges v. 4. qui signifie, celui qui se tient debout sur 

2 H. V. Sanhita, H. H. Wilson, son char, sur ses coursiers. Quel est ce 
vol. iii. p. 187. char? On ne peut douter qu'il ne soit 

3 The Latins, it would seem, mis- question du soleil, qui est souvent re- 
understood the name, Livy, i. 12. presente dans les Vedas comme une 
"Le mot sthatar est ordinairement roue d'or roulant dans le firmament." 
complete en Sanscrit par un genitif, tel — Breal, Hercule et Cams, 103. 

que rathasya, hartn&m, ce qui deter- 4 Muir, Principal Deities of R. V., 

mine le veritable sens de cette epithete, 560. 

1 62 



light and 

speeds on his journey through the heaven. As looking down on the 
• wide earth spread beneath, he is possessed, like Apollon, of an 
inscrutable wisdom. Like him also, he chases the Dawn, DahanS. or 
Daphn6, of whom he is said to be sometimes the father, sometimes 
the son, and sometimes the husband ; and as Phoibos causes the 
death of DaphnS, so Indra is said to shatter the chariot of Dahanl 1 

The prayers addressed to this god show that the chief idea 
associated with him was that of an irresistible material power. The 
Hindu, as he comes before the deity to whom he looks for his yearly 
harvest, assumes unconsciously the attitude of the Baal-worshipper of 
Syria. 2 But the real prayer of the heart is addressed to Varuna, as 
the Greek in his hour of need prays always to Zeus. The cry for 
mercy from those who through thoughtlessness have broken the law 
of God is never sent up to Indra, although, like HeraklSs, "he 
engages in many conflicts for the good of man with overwhelming 
power." 8 It was impossible that it should be so, while the great 
work for which Indra might be said to exist was the battle for life 
or death with the hateful monster who imprisons the rain-clouds in 
his dungeons. This battle is brought before us under a thousand 
forms. His great enemy Vritra, the hiding thief, is also Ahi, the 
strangling snake, or Pani the marauder. 

" Ahi has been prostrated beneath the feet of the waters which 
the Vritra by his might had obstructed." i 

He appears again as Atri, a name which may perhaps be the 

1 In this myth Dahana is regarded 
as hostile to Indra and as meditating 
mischief, a thought which might easily 
be suggested by the legends of Are- 
thousa and Daphne. Her shattered car 
reposes, however, on the banks of the 
Vipar (river or water), an incident 
wbich recalls the disappearance of Are- 
thousa or Daphne in the waters from 
which Aphrodite 1 rises. — H. H. Wijson, 
R, V. Sanhita, vol. ii. p. 178.' 

2 The power of Indra is the one 
theme of the praise accorded to him in 
R. V. vii. 32. The worshipper calls on 
him who holds the thunderbolt with 
his arm, whom no one can check if he 
wishes to give, who makes mortal men 
obtain spoil in fighting, who is the 
benefactor of every one, whatever battles 
there be, who is the rich. of old and to 
be called in every battle. — Max Miiller, 
Sanskrit Literature, 543. 

" This contest with the clouds," says 
Professor H. H. Wilson (Introduction 
toR. V. Sanhita, xxx.), " seems to have 
suggested to the authors of the Suktas 

the martial character of Indra on other 
occasions, and he is especially described 
as the god of battles, the giver of victony 
to his worshippers, the destroyer of the 
enemies of religious rites, the subverter 
of the cities of the Asuras." 

The stanza known as the Hansavati 
Rich is noteworthy as exhibiting the 
germs of more than one myth. Indra 
"is Hansa (the sun) dwelling in light: 
Vasu (the wind) dwelling in the firma- 
ment : the invoker of the gods (Agni) 
dwelling on the altar : the guest (of the 
worshipper) dwelling in the house (as 
the culinary fire) : the dweller amongst 
men (as consciousness) : the dweller in 
the most excellent (orb, the sun) : the 
dweller in truth, the dweller in the sky 
(the air), born in the waters, in the 
rays of light, in the verity (of manifes- 
tation), in the (Eastern) mountain, the 
truth (itself)." -H. H. Wilson, R. V. 
Sanhita, iii. 199. 

s H. H. Wilson, R. V. Sanhita, i. 

* lb. i. 87. 


same as the Atli of the Volsung tale and the Etzel of the Nibelung chap. 
song. • -1 . ' 

" Thou, Indra, hast opened the cloud for the Angirasas : thou 
hast shown the way to Atri who vexes his adversaries by a hundred 
doors." 1 

He is also Namuki (the Greek Amykos), and Sambara. 

"Thou, Indra, with thy bolt didst slay afar off the deceiver 
Namuki." a 

" Thou hast slain Sambara by thy resolute self." 8 

"Verily thou hast made me, Indra, thy associate, when grind- 
ing the head of the slave Namuki like a sounding and rolling 
cloud." * 

In the same way Indra is the slayer of Bala, of Chumuri, Dhuni, 
Pipon, Sushna, and many others," and against him the strength of 
the Rakshasas is concentrated in vain, for Indra scatters them "with 
his friend |he thunderbolt." On the issue of this conflict depends, it 
is true, the welfare of all human creatures. The victory of Indra 
brings with it wealth of corn and wine and oil, but the struggle and 
its issue are alike external to the human spirit. In other words, the 
religious instinct found little scope in the phrases which described 
the offices of Indra, and most assuredly had nothing to do with sug- 
gesting them. It was not on the soil of Hindustan that the 
momentous physical struggle between Indra and his enemy was to 
become a spiritual struggle of still more fearful proportions. 

The wife of Indra is Indrani, who alone of the goddesses who The ^^ 
bear the names of the gods is associated with her husband. Like of Indra - 
the rest, she has but a vague and shadowy personality. But although 
the goddesses who are not thus simply developed from the names of 
their consorts are far more prominent, yet even these are spoken of 
in terms little resembling the language addressed to the supreme god 
under his many names. Ahana is a daughter of Dyaus, and her 
might is great, but Indra is mightier still. Ushas is hard to van- 
quish ; but Indra shatters her chariot, while Saranyu, the Harits, and 
the Rohits are rather beings who do his will than deities possessed of 
any independent power. In this respect a vast gulf separates the 
later from the early mythology of the Hindus ; and although Maha.- 
deva retains a nominal supremacy, yet the popular mind dwells less 
on the god than on the awful terrors of his wife, whether known as 
Uma, Durga, or Kali. 6 In an inquiry designed chiefly to bring out 

1 H. H. Wilson, R. V. Sankiia, i. 4 lb. i. 279. s lb. ii. 418, 419. 

j,5 6 Muir, Principal Deities of R. V. t 

i lb. i. 147. 3 lb. i. 148. 577- 




the points of resemblance and difference between cognate mytho- 
■ logical systems, we are not called upon to enter the unwholesome 
labyrinth in which a morbid philosophy has bewildered and oppressed 
a race once more simple and perhaps more truthful in their faith 
than the forefathers of the Hellenic and even of the Teutonic nations. 
The more modern Hindu traditions may have an interest for the 
theologian or the philosopher, while the ingenious symbolical inter- 
pretations which make anything mean anything may be as note- 
worthy in the pages of Brahmanic commentators as in those of 
Chrysostom, Gregory, or Augustine. But they lead us away into a 
world of their own, where it becomes scarcely worth while to trace 
the faint vestiges of early thought which may be here and there dis- 
cerned in the rank crop of cumbrous and repulsive fancies. Nor is 
there much profit in lists even of earlier deities in whom we have 
little more than a name or an epithet If the earth is called Nishtigri, 
we have only another word denoting Prithivi the wife of J)yaus. In 
Sarasvati, the watery, we have, first, a name given to the river which 
with the Indus and the waters of the Penjab made up the seven 
streams of the ancient Hindu home, and then to a goddess who, as 
inspiring the hymns composed in her honour, became identified with 
Vach, 1 Voice, and was invoked as the muse of eloquence. As such, 
she is produced on the mountain-top, as Athene Akria springs from 
the forehead of Zeus. 2 Much in the same way, Nirriti, 8 the western 
land, to which Yama had first crossed the rapid waters, became first 
the land of death, and afterwards a personification of evil. In 
Sraddha we have nothing more than a name for religious faith. 4 

Place of 
in the 

Section IV.— BRAHMA. 

If an examination of the Vedic theology tends to prove that it 
was wholly one of words and names, the impression is not weakened 
as we survey the ponderous fancies of later times. The fabric of 
Brahmanic sacerdotalism may have reached gigantic proportions, and 
may exhibit a wonderful ingenuity in the piecing together of its 
several parts, but it cannot be regarded as the result of a logical 
system. The properties of Vishnu are those of Agni, Vayu, and 
Surya ; and as Agni is all the deities, so also is Vishnu. The cha- 

1 Gr. eiros, cfrreiy, aitoi/ei?, Latin 
vox, vocare. 

* Muir, Sanskrit Texts, part iv. 
p. 360, note. 

* Max Miiller, Lectures on Lan- 
guage, second series, 515. Is the name 
Nirriti connected with that of the 

Ithakan Neritos and the Leukadian 
Nerikos ? 

* "The Latin word credo, 'I be- 
lieve,' is the same as the Sanskrit 
Sraddha." — Max Miiller, Chips, i. 42. 
Sayce, Lntroduction to the Science of 
Language, ii. 28. 


racter of Brahma is not less flexible. At first the word is but a name CHAP. 

for the self-existent principle, and the various mythical acts recorded : ' 

of him are not only susceptible of a spiritual or metaphysical inter- 
pretation, but are actually so interpreted in. all the Hindu comments 
on the sacred literature of the country. As in the Orphic theogony, 
the generation of Brahma begins sometimes with the great mundane 
egg; but it is Brahma who therein produces himself. The self- 
existent lord, "desiring to produce various creatures from his own 
body, first, with a thought, created the waters, and deposited in them 
a seed. This seed became a golden egg, resplendent as the sun, in 
which he himself was born as Brahnid, the progenitor of all worlds." 1 
He is the first god of a later Indian Trimurtti ; but the threefold 
deity of Yaska is Agni, Vayu, and Surya, and thus Dr. Muir con- 
cludes that the conjunction of Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra (? Siva) 
was unknown to that ancient commentator. 2 Even in the Maha- 
bharata, Brahma is both created and uncreated. In that poem Maha- 
deva (piyas 0eos, the great god) is the creator of Brahma, Vishnu, 
and Indra. " From his right side he produced Brahma, the origi- 
nator of the worlds, and from his left side Vishnu, for the preserva- 
tion of the universe, and when the end of the age had arrived, the 
mighty god created Rudra." 3 But Mahadeva is identified by the 
poets of the Mahabharata with Rudra, Siva, Agni, Surya, Varuna, 
the Asvins, and a host of other deities, and, as the originator of all 
life, even assumes the forms and functions of the Hellenic Priapos. 4 
Mahadeva, again, is himself also the destroyer Siva, and like Vishnu 
he wields a dreadful bow made by Visvakarman. These bows are 
used by the two gods in a terrible battle, the result being that the 
bow of Mahadeva is relaxed and Vishnu is esteemed the superior. 

1 Muir, Sanskrit Texts, part iv. 134-6. To the objection that the 
p. 27. Puranic mythology, of which the Tri- 

2 The three names given by Yaska murtti of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva is a 
are with him mere names for one object. part, might have grown up along with 
"These deities," he says, "receive the Vedic, Dr. Muir answers that "if 
many designations in consequence of Yaska had been cognisant of any other 
their greatness, or from the diversity of than the Vedic mythology (at least, if 
their functions, as (the appellations of) he had attached any authority to any 
hotri, adhvaryu, brahman, and udgatri other), he would not have failed to 
are applied to one and the same make some reference to the latter, and 
person." The functions connected with would have endeavoured to blend and 
these names carry us back to the old reconcile it with the former. As we 
mythical phrases. " Indra 's function find no attempt of the kind in his work, 
is to bestow moisture, to slay Vritra ; we must conclude either that the 
and all exertions of force are the A work l'uranic mythology had no existence in 
of Indra." "The function of Aditya his day, or that he regarded it as un- 
(the sun) is to draw up moisture and to deserving of any attention." — lb. 137. 
retain it by his rays : and whatever is * lb. pp. 156, 162. 4 lb. 160. 
mysterious is the work of Aditya."— s lb. 146, 147. 

Muir, Sanskrit Texts, part iv. pp. 

1 66 





Elsewhere it is said that Brahma and Mahadeva are both sprung 
from Krishna, the one from the lotus issuing from his navel, the 
other from his forehead, like Dahana and Athene from the head of 
Dyaus or Zeus. 1 

As Praj&pati, Brahma offers violence to his own daughter ; and 
from this myth of Indra and Ahalya a story is produced much 
resembling that of the Hellenic Erichthonios. s He is also a wor- 
shipper of the Linga, and acts as the charioteer of Mahadeva or of 
Rudra, who springs from his forehead (as he does also from that of 
Krishna), glorious as the noon-day sun. 3 

Like Brahma, Visvakarman, the Creator, is one of the many 
names which may be applied to almost any of the gods at the will of 
the worshipper. Wise and mighty in act, Visvakarman orders all 
things, and men desire the attainment of good in the world where 
"he, the One Being, dwells beyond the seven Rishis." 4 He is the 
maker of the region Sutala, where by his will, as in the Greek Elysion, 
"neither mental nor bodily pains, nor fatigue, nor weariness, nor 
discomfiture, nor diseases afflict the inhabitants." 6 He is also the 
son of Bhuvana, the first of all beings who sprang into existence from 
the earth. 6 

Section V.— ZEUS. 
T he „- . In the conception of the poets known to us by the name of 

dwelling of . 

Zeus in Homer, the earth on which we tread is covered with a gross and 
thick air, through which course the clouds, and in which the winds 
work their will. Above this air rises the serene Aither or Ether, the 
abode of Zeus, never sullied by mists or vexed with storms. Here 
he dwells, surrounded by the gods of Olympos ; but while these can 

1 Muir, Sanskrit Texts, p. 193. 

2 lb. 39. Gubernatis, Zoological 
Mythology, ii. 280. 

3 Muir, Sanskrit Texts, p. 190. 
AthenS in like manner springs fully 
armed from the head of Zeus ; but in 
the story of the Vishnu Purana (Muir, 
id. 331), Rudra is both sun and moon, 
as dividing his body into two parts, 
male and female, like the Greek 
Hermaphroditos. The portions into 
which his male form is further divided 
seem to point to the month of the 
year which is represented by Rudra 
himself, as by Aditi. 

4 lb. 7. 5 lb. 129. 

G The name Bhuvana itself is from 
the same root with the Greek <J>ucris and 
our own words Be and Being. It has 

been urged with at least some plausi- 
bility that the Latin Consus is a name 
of the same kind, and that it is not to 
be referred to the verb Consulere. It 
is by no means likely that even the title 
of the Dii Consentes can be taken as 
indicating a divine council : and there 
may possibly be a connexion between 
the Latin Consus and the Hindu Ganesa. 
Hence perhaps it is that when Romulus 
is in need of women for his new city, 
it is to Consus that he makes his vows 
and prayers. The Consualia would 1 
thus precisely correspond with the Eleu- 
sinian festival of Dimeter. For Ganesa 
see Max Mliller, Selected Essays, i. 129, 
ii. 449. Gubernatis, Zoological Mytho- 
logy, ii. 68. 


visit the earth and take part in the quarrels of mortal men, Zeus CHAP. 

alone may not descend for this purpose from the clear heaven whence • — -^ 

he looks down on all that is being done beneath him. It is true 
that there are on the earth some whom he loves, and others whom he 
hates ; and when his son Sarpedon is smitten by the spear of Patro- 
klos, the tears of Zeus fall in large rain-drops from the sky. But 
that which he wills must be done by others, and in their toils he can 
have no share. So when the hour for the battle between Achilleus 
and Hektor is come, Zeus tells the gods, the streams, and the nymphs, 
who sit around his throne, that they may go down and choose each 
his side, while for himself, though he cares for the mortals whose 
death-struggle is at hand, the sight of all that is done on the plains 
of Ilion will none the less gladden his eyes as he looks down from 
Olympos. When, after the conflict of Achilleus with the burning 
river, the gods turn their weapons on each other, the mind of Zeus 
remains unruffled, and he listens in silence to the charge brought 
against Here by Leto, as she lays before his feet the arrows of her 
child Artemis. 1 

Thus for the poets of the Iliad and the Odyssey, Zeus, though The un- 
he might be called the gatherer of the dark clouds, 3 was pre-eminently ught. 
the lord of the bright heaven, and the thought most closely asso- 
ciated with the name was that of a serene and unchangeable splen- 
dour. As the heavy masses of vapour were cloven by the rays of 
the sun, the blue heaven was seen smiling on the havoc wrought by 
storms and tempest, itself undimmed by the years which devoured 
the generations of men. From the face of this heaven the morning 
sprang to scatter the shades of night. Beneath it the lightning 
flashed, the rain fell, the winds blew ; but above them all shone still 
the light which can know no change. 

Without referring, therefore, to the legends of other nations, we The idea 
are brought at once by the language even of our Homeric poets to suggested 
that earliest form of thought in which words now used to denote b .y P nv - 
spiritual conceptions conveyed only the impression left on the human nomena. 
mind by the phenomena of the outward world. As man awoke 

1 II. xxi. 388. alyioxo* efalit le dieu qui envoie la tem- 

2 Zeis Aiyioxos- "Le verbe grec p£te (il faut entendre ex» dans son sens 
aiaau, qui signifie s'elancer, a fait d'une primitif who) -. plus tard, on traduisit le 
part le substantif aJ£, chevre (a cause de dieu qui forte I'egide. Homere semble 
la nature bondissante de l'animal), et de se souvenir de la premiere signification, 
l'autre les mots KaT&it,, Karaiyts, tem- quand il nous montre, au seul mouve- 
pete. De la une nouvelle serie d'images ment du bouclier, le tonnerre qui eclate, 
et de fables ou la chevre joue le role l'lda qui se couvre de nuages, et les 
principal. L'egide, avant d'etre un hommes frappes de terreur." — Breal, 
bouclier fait en peau de chevre, etait Hercule et Cacus, 116. 

le ciel au moment de l'orage; Jupiter 


BOOK gradually to a conscious perception of the things around him, the 

■ ^i — • sensation most comforting in the alternations of a day and night 

alike uncomprehended would be that of the pure and bright heaven 
which broods over the earth as the sun speeds on his journey across 
the sky. If, then, in the names which were afterwards used to denote 
the supreme God we have words which in all Aryan dialects convey 
this primary idea of brightness, a clear light is at once shed on the 
first stages in the mental and moral education of mankind. The 
profound splendour of the unclouded heaven must mark the abode 
of the Being who made and sustains all things ; and thus names 
denoting at first only the sky became in the West as in the East 
names of God, the Zeus Pater (the Father) of the Greeks correspond- 
ing to the Dyauspitar of the Hindu. If even in the Vedic hymns 
the most prominent deity is Indra, still Indra was himself worshipped 
as the god of the bright sky, and as the son of the brilliant Dyu. 
As in the Hellenic land Kronos was displaced by Zeus, so in the 
country of the seven rivers Dyu gave way to the lord of the wealth- 
bringing rain-clouds. The process (even if we assign a very late 
origin to the mythical Kronos) was in both cases the same. The 
epithet could not become or be long retained as a personal name 
until its original meaning had been obscured or forgotten. The 
Greek had his A£r, his AitMr, and his Ouranos to express the visible 
heavens, and Zeus became to him more and more the personal God 
whose hand is seen in his works. In India the name Dyaus retained, 
as we have seen, its appellative force, and as a designation for the 
supreme God, was supplanted by the less significant Indra. 
The Latin But in the West, as in the East, the original character of the god 
Jupiter. - g j n c j ose accordance with the etymology of the word. The Athe- 
nians called on Zeus to rain on their land ; the Latin poet spoke of 
the glistening heaven which by all is named Jove, while the phrases 
"sub dio vivere," "sub Jove frigido," and even "malus Jupiter'' 
remained common expressions in every-day speech. 1 But although 
between the Latin Jupiter and the Greek Zeus Pater there is as close 
an affinity of names as between the latter and the Dyaus Pitar of 
the Rig Veda, the mythology of the Latin tribes introduces us prac- 
tically into almost a new world. We are, indeed, apt to confuse 
under the term two wholly distinct things. We read in the yEneid 
of Virgil, for instance, a story which may be regarded as a pendant 

1 laov, S> <pl\e Ztv, Kara ttjs apoipas The word &/Bioj has the same trans- 

ray 'Aflrji/afax. parent meaning. — Max Miiller, Lectures 

Asplce hoc sublime candens "iuem on Language, second series, 434. Ihnc, 

invocant omnes Jovem. History of Home, i. 118. 


to the Iliad. We find Jupiter, Juno, Venus, and other deities de- chap. 

scribed much as Zeus, Here, and AphroditS would be described by • 
Greek poets, and in the Odes of Horace we have expressions of 
thought and feeling such as the idea of these gods would naturally 
evoke in the minds of the Hellenic worshippers. We also come 
across notices of strange beings, as for instance Consus, Anna 
Perenna, Muttunus, Mana, Semo Sancus, which for us at least are 
associated with no very definite images ; and we include these beings 
along with the deities spoken of by Virgil or Horace under the one 
head of Latin gods, and treat what is said about them as Latin 
mythology. No two things could well be more entirely distinct. 
The great poets of the Augustan age simply borrowed at will from 
the vast storehouse of Greek tradition, and set before their country- 
men a mythology towards which they had no natural attraction and 
for which they never acquired any genuine liking. The gods of the 
country population, which had at one time been the only gods wor- 
shipped by the Latin tribes, were practically nothing more than 
natural powers and processes called by the names which naturally 
expressed them. The seed-time, the harvest, the changes of the 
seasons, the periods of human and other life, the garnering and , 
grinding of grain, all these, with other incidents in the history of the 
revolving year, were marked by a particular name; and this name 
passed for that of the god by whom these processes were supposed to 
be wrought. But so thin was the disguise that the growth of a Latin 
mythology, strictly so called, became impossible. We might as well 
imagine the growth of the infinitely complex mythology of the 
Greeks, if their minds had had to work only on such beings as 
Helios, Selene, Astraios, Eos, Herse, and others of a like transparent 
sort. For the Latins their gods, although their name was legion, 
remained mysterious beings without human forms, feelings, or 
passions ; and they influenced human affairs without sharing or 
having any sympathy with human hopes, fears, or joys. Neither had 
they, like the Greek deities, any society among themselves. There 
was for them no Olympos, where they might gather and take 
counsel with the father of gods and men. They had no parentage, 
no marriage, no offspring. They thus became a mere multitude 
of oppressive beings, living beyond the circle of human interests, 
yet constantly interfering within it; and their worship was thus as 
terrible a bondage as any under which the world has yet suffered. 
Not being associated with any definite bodily shapes, they could not, 
like the beautiful creations of the Greek mind, promote the growth 
of the highest art of the sculptor, the painter, and the poet Thus 



Zeus Ou- 

The my- 
thical and 


between them and their worshippers there was no real and direct 
connexion. Of the Eupatrid families among the Greeks the greater 
number, perhaps, traced their descent from Zeus himself or from 
some other god : no Roman patrician ever thought of proclaiming 
himself as the offspring of the cold and colourless beings who in 
solitary state presided over the processes and working of the visible 
world. Nay, even in Rome itself the Greek deities remained only a 
fashion, and were honoured with an exotic worship. The true Roman 
ritual was that which had for its object the worshipping of the 
household gods ; and these were practically the spirits of the founder 
of the house and of those who had followed him in true hereditary 
succession. The religion of Roman life was influenced by the 
worship, not of the bright and joyous Phoibos, or of the virgin 
daughter of Zeus, but of the Lares and the Penates before that altar 
of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth, which was the common heritage 
of the whole Aryan race. But in the literature of Rome the genuine 
deities of the country are so strangely confused or even jumbled 
up with the importations from the East, that it becomes difficult 
sometimes to assign each portion of material to its proper place. 
In some cases the characteristics of a Greek god have been fitted on 
to a Latin god with whose character they are inconsistent ; but 
it is probable that even in the days of Ovid or Horace this con- 
fusion never troubled the country folk of Samnium or Calabria. 

The idea of brightness was, however, not the only one suggested 
by the sight of the clear heaven. If the sky beams with light, it is 
also spread as a covering over the earth which lies beneath it, and 
Zeus was thus Ouranion who spread his veil over his bride; but 
before he came to be spoken of as son of Kronos, the attribute had 
suggested the idea of a person, and the Western Ouranos corre- 
sponded with the Vedic Varuna. In this case the name remained 
more transparent in the West than in the East. The Vedic Varuna 
becomes the moral ruler of the universe, and the Father and friend 
of man ; but in the Hellenic land the starry Ouranos is the son to 
whom Gaia gives birth in order that he may cover everything and be 
a steadfast seat for the blessed gods, 1 and we look in vain for the 
spiritual attributes which belong to Varuna in the hymns of the Rig 

But the developement of a personal Zeus was followed necessarily 

by two results, which long continued astonishingly distinct the one 

from the other. The thought of Zeus as the one God and Father 

gave birth to a religion. The many names employed to denote the 

1 Hcsiod, Theog. 128. 


varying phases of the sky became each the germ of a myth, and chap. 

every one of these myths, when translated into the conditions of : ■ 

human life, tended to degrade the idea of the god as much 'as the 
idea of his changeless perfection, rising more and more in the mind, 
tended to raise it. According to the latter, he would be the righteous 
Judge, seen by none, yet beholding all, looking down from heaven 
on the children of men to see if they will understand and seek after 
God, appointing to them a life of labour for their highest good, and 
finally recompensing to all men after their works. By the other 
process he would become all that names applied to outward pheno- 
mena must denote when used to signify the actions of a personal 
and conscious being. As in every land the dews of heaven fertilise 
the earth, Zeus must be the husband of many brides, the father of 
countless children in every country. As looking down on the havoc 
caused by drought or pestilence, storm or war, he would be a god of 
merciless indifference and disinterested cruelty. He must smile 
alike over the wealth of a teeming harvest or the withered fruits of 
a sun-scorched land. But the blighting of a spring-tide fair in its 
promise is his work, and he would thus become capricious as well 
as treacherous, while the interchangeable characteristics of the earliest 
gods would heighten still more the repulsive features of the anthropo- 
morphised Zeus. If the old hymn had praised Aditi as "mother, 
father, and son," Zeus must become at once the brother and the 
husband, and his own daughters through many generations would 
become the mothers of his children. The transference of these 
phrases to the relations of human life has its necessary result in the 
fearful horrors of the tale of Oidipous and IokastS. 

That the two streams of religion and mythology ran on side by influence 
side, or rather that the same words are used to express two wholly ? f mvtho - 
different lines of thought, is abundantly proved by Greek not less religion:, 
than by Hindu literature. The result was that the same man might 
seem to speak two languages, and perhaps delude himself into the 
notion that under the name of Zeus he spoke of one person, and of 
one person only. This would be the case especially with the classes, 
which, although familiar, or because they were familiar, with the 
complicated mythical lore of their country, might not care to analyse 
their own thoughts, or fairly to face the difficulties involved in many 
or most of these ancient stories. But there would be a lower class 
who, as being perhaps practically ignorant of these narratives, would 
be saved in great measure from this traditional influence. 1 However 

1 "What," asks Professor Max know of the intricate Olympian theo- 
Muller, "did the swineherd Eumaios gony? Had he ever heard the name 


BOOK imperfect his conceptions may have been, it is certain that the swine- 
n ' herd Eumaios did not derive his religious convictions from mythical 
phrases, when he told Odysseus that God gives and withholds ac- 
cording to his pleasure and in the plenitude of his power. Nor can 
too great a stress be laid on the fact that, as the mythology grew 
more complicated and more repulsive, ideas of morality and religion 
became more reasonable and more pure. Nowhere is this conclusion 
so clearly forced upon us as in the Hesiodic Works and Days. In 
this poem the teacher who bids hi" friend to deal with all men after 
the rule of righteousness which comes from Zeus, 1 who tells him 
that justice and truth shall in the end prevail, 2 and that they who do 
•2vil to others inflict evil on themselves, 8 who is sure that the eyes 
of God are in every place, that the way of evil is broad and smooth, 
and the path of good rough and narrow at the first, tells us also 
how Zeus bade the gods to make Pandora fair to look upon but all 
evil within, and laughed at the thought of the miseries which should 
overtake mankind when all the evils should be let loose from her 
box, while, to crush them utterly, hope should remain a prisoner 
within it So conscious apparently is the poet that the Zeus who 
thus cheats mankind is not the Zeus who commands them to do 
justice and mercy, that he can use the same name without a thought 
that he is dishonouring the just and holy God whom he reverences. 
It seems impossible to ignore a distinction without which the 
Hesiodic poem becomes unintelligible. With our Homeric poets 
the contrast is not so marked, simply because their thoughts were 
not so earnest and their hearts were not so wakened by the sterner 
experiences of human life. With these moral indifference would 
naturally find expression in confusion of language, and they might 
lead others to think, as they themselves may have fancied, that the 
Zeus to whom they prayed in moments of real anguish was the Zeus 
who laughed at the wretchedness and the ruin of mankind. 
The Zeus But if it be true generally that the Greek, especially in the 

Tragtc prehistoric ages, " was not aware that there were different tributaries 
poets. which entered from different points into the central idea of Zeus," l it 
was far otherwise with the few to whom a belief in the righteousness 
of God was no empty phrase but a profound and practical conviction. 

of the Charites or the Harpyias ? Could gods, * who hate cruel deeds, but honour 

he have told who was the father of justice and the righteous works of 

Aphrodite, who were her husbands and men.'"— Lectures on Language, second 

her children ? I doubt it ; and when scries, 453. 

Homer introduces him to us, speaking » 35. 2 215. 

of this life and the higher powers that * 263. • 442! 

rule it, Eumaios knows only of just 


The fact that national and political institutions were intertwined CHAP. 

inextricably with the old mythology, if they were not actually based ■ 

upon it, only brought out its repulsive features more prominently 
before all who could not bring themselves to believe that the righteous 
God could issue to men immoral commands or himself do the things 
which he condemned in them. Whether the difficulties thus in- 
volved in the traditional creed should lead them to covert opposition 
or to open antagonism, would depend much on the temper and the 
circumstances of those who felt them. There are some who, like 
Sophokles, are well content if they can express their own convictions 
without assailing popular ideas ; there are others who, like Euripides, 
cannot rest until they bring others to see inconsistencies which to 
themselves are palpable and glaring. Yet it cannot be denied that 
the thoughts of Sophokles are as true and high as those of the 
younger poet There is nothing in the latter more outspoken than 
the words in which Sophokles tells us that the laws of righteousness 
are established in heaven and that in them God is great and cannot 
grow old. But where there is an earnest yearning for truth, this 
happy condition of mind will not probably last long. The thought 
of the mischief which the popular creeds inflict on ordinary minds 
will lead them openly to condemn a system which they might other- 
wise treat with indifference or contempt ; and to this sense we may 
ascribe the protests of Xenophanes and Protagoras, of Anaxagoras 
and Herakleitos, of Pindar and of Plato. The controversy was 
brought to an issue, when Euripides said plainly that if the gods are 
righteous, the stories of the poets are wretched falsehoods, and that 
if they do the things which the poets ascribe to them, then they are 
not gods at all : and this issue was anticipated by the conviction of 
^Eschylos that Zeus was a mere name, one of many names, for the 
One true God, which might serve to convey some faint notion and 
inadequate idea of his goodness and his greatness. 1 

Hindu and Greek, then, alike worshipped the same God, of whom The name 
they also spoke sometimes under other names. But these names Zeus - 
were in no case borrowed the one from the other. The analysis of 
language has proved that in some instances Greeks, Latins, or 
Lithuanians have preserved older forms than any which are exhibited 
in Sanskrit, while the variations in the incidents and local colouring 
of the myths carry us back to one common source for all in the home 
of the yet undivided Aryan tribes. The seed, however, could not 
germinate while as yet there was no failure of memory ; and if, when 
the meaning of words was in part or wholly forgotten, expressions 

' On this subject see further, Muir, Sanskrit Texts, part iv. p. 41. 


book not less graceful once than true became coarse and mischievous, we 

"• — - may learn to curb our indignation when we find that both the process 

and the result were alike inevitable, 
its trans- But the name Zeus is not confined to Greeks and Hindus. The 

formations. Zeus -p^fa f tne former and the Dyaus-pitar of the latter represent 
the Jupiter of the Latins, and the Tuisco, Zio, Tyr and Tiw of the 
German nations. The etymological changes of the word are indeed 
almost numberless. The brightness of the heaven reappears in the 
Latin dies, the Sanskrit dyu, and our day : and from the same root 
spring the Greek Theos, the Latin Deus, and the Lithuanian Diewas. 
These changes have been fully traced by Professor Max Miiller ; * but 
we must here note that the Greek Zen, Zenos answers to the Latin 
Janus, Januspater ; that Janus again, resolved into Dianus and Diana, 
carries us to the Greek digammated forms Aios, At Fa, and appears 
again in the word divine. With these may be taken the forms con- 
nected with Zeus by the transition of dy (Dyaus) into j (Jupiter, 
Janus, Juno), or dj, as in the Djovis of Oscan inscriptions and the 
old Italian deity Vedjovis (Vejovis). Akin to all these is the 
Sanskrit deva, a word which like Dyaus denoted only splendour, but 
was afterwards used as a name for the gods ; but although it had thus 
acquired the general notion of deity, it was never applied to any but 
the bright gods who were the companions of Indra. The evil powers 
of night or darkness are Adeva, atheists, or enemies of the devas ; 
and thus even on Indian soil we find the germ of that moral and 
spiritual meaning which was imported into a myth purely physical in 
its origin. While the adeva grew, like Asmodeus, 3 into malignant 
demons, Vritra the cloud enemy of Indra was gradually passing into 
the evil god of Iranian theology. If the Diabolos of the New 
Testament, a word not found in the Septuagint, is to be referred 
to forms like Dyavan and Diovis, the name deva had lost in the West 
the meaning of brightness which it retained in the East, 3 though the 
evil spirit was still regarded as the prince of the powers of the air. 
The Teutonic devil is thus traced to that Iranian source from which 
the Jews derived their later complicated demonology. That the 
term Diabolos, as applied to Satan, should be regarded as identical 
with the Greek word denoting a slanderer, is a confusion precisely 
similar to that which turned LyMon and his sons into wolves and the 
seven arkshas or shiners into bears. 

1 Lectures on Language, second s Eshem-dev, a&hma-daeva, " le 

series, 453. For Mr. Peile's remarks demon de la concupiscence." — Breal, 

on the connexion of Theos and Deus Hercule et Cacus, 135. 

see note p. 149. s Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, 939. 


If from the Greek conceptions of Zeus we separate all those CHAP. 

which, springing from the idea of his relations to men as a Father, -. ' ■ 

grew up into a moral and religious faith, the rest may all be traced of ]ocal 
to mythical phrases which describe the varying appearances of the traditions. 
heavens and the manifold influence of the atmosphere on the earth 
and its fruits. Of the countless names thus employed the most 
transparent would remain as attributes, while the greater number 
would be localised either as places or as persons. Hence would 
spring up distinctions between the Zeus of Arkadia, Dodona, Olympos 
and Crete, distinctions arising wholly from a forgetfulness of the 
original meaning of words, but fixed irrevocably by the real or 
apparent identity of the mythical epithets with any mythical names 
which had become geographical. 1 The sun as Endymion plunges 
into Latmos, the land of sleep ; but the presence of the Latmian hill 
was a conclusive answer to any who might dare to call in question 
the veracity of the local legend. The old mythical speech had its 
Phaiakian or cloudland geography. It had its Arkadia and Delos, 
the birthplace of the light, its Phoinikia and Ortygia, the purple land 
of the quail and the dawn, its bright Lykian regions with its golden 
stream of Xanthos, its Ida or earth on which rest the rays of the 
newly risen sun, its Graian or Hesperian lands where the light dies 
out in the evening. Carrying with them the treasures of their 
common inheritance, the Aryan tribes could not fail to give to the 
hills and streams of their new homes the names which had once 
described only the morning, the heaven, or the sun. The lord of 
day sinks to sleep in the glowing west : and the tomb of Endymion 
could therefore be only in Elis, on the western, not on the eastern, 
shore of the Peloponnesos. The god of the blue ether is throned 
in light : so also must the seat of the anthropomorphised Zeus be on 
some hill whose name, like the Delos of Apollon and the Athens 
of his virgin sister, expresses the one idea of splendour ; and thus 
he was made to dwell on the summit of the Arkadian Lykaios and 
the Olympian heights of Mysia and Thessaly. As the veil of night 
is slowly withdrawn, the clear heaven is first seen in the east, and 
thus Zeus must be born in Lyktos or in Dikte ; but the Cretan who 
could point to a Diktaian cave in his own land clung tenaciously 
to the notion that the child who was there nourished by Amaltheia 
was not the Zeus of Arkadia and Olympos. 

The story of his birth and exploits is to be gathered not so much The birth 
from the Iliad and Odyssey as from the Hesiodic or Orphic theo- of Zeus ' 
gonies; but unless we find manifest contradictions between the 
1 Sec Book i. ch. x. 




The ini- 
quities of 

accounts which they set before us, it is unsafe to infer that the poets 
* whom we style Homeric were unacquainted with details or incidents 
about which they are silent, even if it be assumed that their poems 
in their present shape are more ancient than those which bear the 
names of Hesiod or Orpheus. That the theogony of the former was 
far less complicated and retrospective than that of the latter, there can 
scarcely be a doubt. The prison to which they assign Kronos is proof 
that they looked on Zeus as one who had not always been supreme 
in power ; but the names with which their theogony begins are not 
those of Chaos and-Gaia, but those of Tethys and Okeanos. 1 The 
struggle between Zeus and the Titans may be inferred from the fact 
that Here" and Hephaistos speak of them as thrust away under 
Tartaros ; a but the Polyphemos of the Odyssey who feeds his flocks 
in broad pastures has nothing but his size and his one eye in 
common with the Hesiodic Kyklopes who forge the thunderbolts 
of Zeus. 3 

The lateness of many at least among the Hesiodic ideas seems 
to be manifested not so much in the allegorical elements introduced,* 
as in the transparent meaning of the names. Zeus and Hades, 
Phoibos and Leto already denoted the conflicting powers of light 
and darkness, of day and night ; but these words had in great part 
lost their original force, and the poet who wished to frame a systematic 
theogony felt constrained to speak of Aither (ether) and He"mera as 
children of Nyx and Erebos. In some important points the story ot 
, Ouranos is told over again in the myths of Kronos and Zeus. From 
Ouranos and Gaia, according to the Hesiodic theogony, spring 
Koios and Krios, Hyperion and Iapetos, the Kyklopes and other 
monstrous beings, together with Rhea the mother of Zeus. All these 

1 //. xiv. 201. " Ibid. 279. 

' In the Gaelic story of Osgar, the 
son of Oisein, the monster appears with 
two eyes ; but he is blinded, as in all 
other forms of the myth, and for the 
same reason. — Campbell, Tales of the 
West Highlands, iii. 297. Still, it is 
significant that "not a bit of him was 
to be seen but his eyes with blue-green 
scales of hardening upon him," the 
livid garment of storm-cloud. But in 
another legend we have the genuine 

"'There was seen nearing us 
A big man upon one foot, 
"With his black, dusky black-skin 

"With his hammering tools and his steel 

"One shaggy eye in his forehead ; . . . 

He set off like the wind of the spring- 

Out to the dark mountains of the high 

He would take but a single leap 

O'er each single cold glen of the 
desert." — Campbell, ib. 392. 

All this explains itself. The hammer- 
ing tools and steel lathe are the thunder 
and lightning; and the thundercloud 
strides across whole valleys at each step, 
and clings to the high grounds and the 
mountain sides. 

4 It is, in Professor Max Midler's 
belief, manifest allegory when the "long 
hills," "the pleasant dwellings of the 
gods," are reckoned among the children 
of Gaia. — Chips, ii. 66. 


Ouranos hid away in the secret places of Gaia who called on Kronos CHAP. 

to avenge her wrongs and his own. From the blood of the mutilated • '■ ' 

Ouranos which fell on the broad sea was born the laughter-loving 
Aphrodite. 1 Thus the goddess of love and beauty is, like the 
Kyklopes, older than the Father of gods and men ; nor can anything 
show more clearly how thoroughly the mythology of the Aryan world 
was in conflict with its religion. Kronos and Rhea, then, became 
the parents of Hestia, Demeter, Here, and Hades ; but these are all 
swallowed by Kronos, who knows that some day he will be dethroned 
by some child of his own. In grief of heart, Rhea, shortly before 
the birth of Zeus, betakes herself to Ouranos and Gaia, who send her 
to the Cretan Lyktos, and there Zeus, like Mithras and Krishna, was 
born in a cave which Apollodoros calls the cave of Dikte. A stone 
wrapped in swaddling-clothes was presented to Kronos, who, taking 
it for the new-born babe, swallowed it as he had swallowed the others. 
Deceived at length by Gaia, Kronos disgorged them all, the stone 
first and the living children afterwards. 2 The stone was set up by 
Zeus for a memorial in Pytho. But Zeus, when he became the husband 
of Metis, felt the same strange desire which had led Ouranos and 
Kronos to consume their children ; and thus, by the advice again of 
Ouranos and Gaia, he swallowed MStis before she became the mother 
of Athene. In these exaggerations of a late age we trace the same 
thought which made the Vedic poet speak of the Dawn as making 
men old, yet as ever young herself. The light of the heaven calls all 
things into life ; but the heaven retains its unchangeable beauty while 
generations spring up on the earth and pass away. The children 
swallowed are thus produced again ; and so the Heaven or the Dawn 

1 This is probably the only meaning the week, and actually swallows six. 

which the word 4>iXow«iSi|s conveyed to The seventh, the youngest, escapes by 

the poets of the Iliad and Odyssey. But hiding herself in the clockcase ; in other 

the whole mythology of Aphrodite' ren- words, the week is not quite run out, 

ders it far more likely that we have and before it comes to an end the mother 

here a confusion similar to that which of the goats unrips the wolfs stomach 

turned Lyka6n into a wolf, and that the and places stones in it in place of the 

epithet was originally <pi\ownHs, not little goats who come trooping out, as 

perhaps, as in the line (200) marked as the days of the week begin again to run 

spurious in the Hesiodic Theogony, Sti their course. I may mention that this 

M7|SeW i(i<padv6-n, but from the attri- explanation, whatever it may be worth, 

butes which made her the vehement was published some time before the 

lover of Adonis. With this epithet we appearance of the first edition of Mr. 

may compare that of Pallas (the Phallic) Tylor's Primitive Culture. Mr. Tylor 

Athene 1 . adopts this explanation (i. 308) without 

1 With this myth Grimm's story of referring to this fact. It is not the only 

the Wolf and the Seven Little Goats instance in which an acknowledgement 

presents a striking parallel. The wolf of priority would have been at least 

is here the night or the darkness which graceful, 
ines to swallow up the seven days of 



BOOK might be spoken of as relentless and cruel, and as rightly punished 
u - - by their injured children. 1 
The war of A har(i fight now awaited Zeus, who, by delivering the children 
ln5 ' of Ouranos, had been armed for the struggle with thunder and 
lightning. 2 On his side against the Titans and the offspring of 
Kronos were ranged Kottos, Gyas, and Briareos, who cast the Titans 
into Tartaros and there left them chained. The struggle itself is 
described in language which shows how little the poet cared about 
the subject. Thunders, lightning, and earthquake attest the majesty 
of Zeus, by whose thunderbolts land and ocean are wrapped in 
seething fire ; the din of the conflict is as though the earth and the 
solid heavens were crashing together; and nine days would pass 
before a brazen anvil (Akmon) let down from the earth could fathom 
the depths of Tartaros. 3 Above this gloomy prison-house are the 
roots of the earth and the barren sea, and there within walls and 
gates built by Poseidon dwell the three sons of Ouranos who be- 
friended Zeus in his hour of need, 
other Yet this struggle which, like that between Zeus and Typhoeus 

forms of t h e latest-born child of Gaia and Tartaros, is related with so much 
struggle, pomp of high-sounding but empty words, is the conflict which runs 
through all mythology and which, in its more human forms, has 
a singular and unfailing interest. It is the battle of Phoibos with 
the Pythian monster, of Indra with the throttling snake Vritra, of 
Sigurd with the dragon of the Glistening Heath, of Oidipous with 

1 The opinion that Kronos himself Wisdom : but as the older myth spoke 
is indeed simply produced from the of the dawn as springing from the fore- 
epithet Kronides as applied to Zeus in a head of the sky, there was no help .for 
sense corresponding to the Hebrew the later mythopceists but to make Zeus 
phrase "Ancient of Days," must, pro- swallow Mgtis. 
bably, be given up. It is, of course, 2 Hesiod, Theog. 504. 
possible that when the word was re- s This is indubitably the hammer of 
garded as meaning " son of Kronos," it Thor, which is sunk eight rasks beneath 
became necessary to assign Kronos a the surface of the earth and which takes 
place in the Theogony and provide him nine months to rise again to Asgard. 
with a wife and children.— Max Miiller, In fact the Greek word translated by 
Chips, ii. 152. In Mr. Brown's eyes " anvil " is etymologically identical with 
Zeus Kronides is the same personage as the Teutonic "hammer." "Professor 
Zeus Meilichios, both names being Curtius," says Mr. Peile, " seems to be 
adaptations of Greek sounds to Semitic right in combining the O. H. G. hamaf, 
names. He therefore regards Kronos our hammer, with the Lithuanian akman 
as the equivajent of Karnos, Karneios, and the Sk. acman, each of which 
the horned god, the fire-breathing, flesh- means ' a stone, and the latter also ' a 
devouring Moloch. — Great Dionysiak thunderbolt;' and with the Greek 
Myth, ii. 128, et seq,\ ii. 127. The &Kp.uv which commonly means an anvil, 
name Metis is closely connected with but which in Hesiod, Theog. 722, where 
Medeia, and denotes the wisdom which he speaks of the x«^k« of &Knay oipdv6div 
stands out with special clearness in the nvrlav, can mean nothing but the thun- 
Latin Minerva. Thus the phrase would derbolt." — Introduction to Creek and 
run that the Dawn was the daughter of Latin Etymology, 37. 


the Sphinx, and in the earlier phase of the legend, of Achilleus chap. 
and Agamemnon with Paris. • ■ : 

Having related the story of Typhoeus, the Hesiodic Theogony The loves 
recounts the loves of Zeus with Metis, Themis, Eurynome, Demeter, ° 
Mnemosyne, Leto, and with Here, who in this scheme is the latest 
of his brides and has fallen far below the majesty with which she 
is invested in the Iliad and the Odyssey. Of these names some are 
the growth of a comparatively late age. The dawn-goddess of the 
far east is described as waking all men and receiving praise from 
every thinker, and the character here faintly attributed to her is 
brought out more clearly in the Hellenic Athene, and finds its utmost 
developement in the Latin Minerva. Athene, then, as the goddess of 
the morning, must have a mother with qualities corresponding to her 
own, and this parent was found in the Wisdom which is wedded 
to Zeus. To this class of invented names belong those of the Horai, 
or Hours, and their mother Themis ; but the name of Eurynomg, the 
mother of the Charites, is more true to the original character of these 
beautiful maidens. The broad spreading light is the parent of the 
glistening beings who in the form of horses draw the chariot of Indra, 
and in the west are the maidens who attend on Aphrodite. But 
as the dawn may be regarded as springing from the face of the sky, 
so in another and an earlier myth Athene springs armed from the 
forehead of Zeus, and the dark powers of night at once retreat before 
her. The same idea rendered it necessary to assign to Here some 
offspring of her own unaided power whether in the person of 
Typhoeus, 1 or, as the Hesiodic theogony relates, of Hephaistos also. 

Thus the number of the kinsfolk and the children of Zeus is The twelve 
already large ; but of the class of deities specially known at Athens de'ities"'" 1 
in the days of Thucydides as the twelve Olympian gods neither our 
Homeric poems nor the Hesiodic theogony know anything. In the 
latter, Zeus and Poseidon are the shakers of the earth and sea, while 
Hades dwells in the regions under the earth; but of a threefold 
partition of the Kosmos between the three Kronid brothers we have 
no formal mention. Of Poseidon the Theogony tells us only that he 
built the walls within which Briareos guards the Titans : nor is there 
any difference of rank between Ares and his sisters H£be and 
Eileithyia, or again between Demeter and Eurynom£. From the 
number of the so-called twelve, Hades is excluded; but in thejliad 

1 " Typhdeus, the whirlwind or Ty- He belches fire, that is, lightnings issue 

phoon, has a hundred dragon or serpent from the clouds, and his roaring is like 

heads, the long writhing striae of vapour the howling of wild dogs." — S. B. 

which run before the hurricane-cloud. Gould, The Were Wolf, p. 174. 




and Cre- 
tan Zeus. 

and Odyssey he appears at will in the Olympian home of Zeus, and 
moves as an equal among the gods who are there assembled. 

The myth as related by Apollodoros has received some ampli- 
fications. The child Zeus in the Diktaian cave is nourished by the 
nymphs Adrasteia and Ida with the milk of Amaltheia, and the 
armed Kouretes clash their shields and spears lest the cry of the babe 
should reach the ear of his father Kronos. In the war with the 
Titans the Kyklopes give to Zeus their thunder and lightning, to 
Hades the helmet which in the Iliad renders the wearer invisible, 
and to Poseidon a trident. The struggle is followed by the casting 
of lots between the three Kronid brothers for the partition of the 
heaven above, of the earth beneath, and of the hidden regions under 
the earth. There was no need of any such method. The old 
mythical phrase rendered it impossible that any but Zeus could be 
the lord of the bright heaven. In other points also the account of 
the mythographer is at variance with that of the Hesiodic poet. 
According to the latter Aphrodite is the offspring of Ouranos ; the 
former represents her as the child of Zeus and Dione, and makes 
the scheme of things begin with Ouranos himself instead of Chaos. 

That Zeus should be nursed by Ida is an incident for which we 
are at once prepared when in the Eastern myth we find that Ida is a 
name of the earth, and that she is assigned as a wife to Dyaus. That 
he should have a sanctuary specially sacred on the Lykaian heights 
in Arkadia was, as we have seen, as indispensable as the birth of 
Phoibos in Delos. But the Arkadian legend is noteworthy as show- 
ing the fantastic forms which spring up in rank luxuriance from 
mythical phrases when either wholly or partially misunderstood. 
The blue heaven is seen first in the morning against the highest 
mountain tops, and on these the rays of the sun rest before they light 
up the regions beneath ; and as it had been said that Zeus dwelt on 
high Olympos and that his palace was the first building which the 
sun ever saw, so in strict fidelity to the old phrases the Arkadians 
insisted that their own Lykosoura was the most ancient of all cities, 
and the first which Helios had ever beheld, and that Zeus had been 
nourished by the nymphs Theisoa, Neda, and Hagno on the Lykaian 
hill hard by the temple of our Lady (Despoina). Nay, as Pausanias 
tells us, 1 the hill was also called Olympos, and in it there was a spot 
named Kretea, and hence, as some would have it, here Zeus was 
born, and not in Crete, the island of the Egean sea. Cretans and 
Arkadians were doubtless alike sincere in their convictions ; but, had 
they remembered the meaning of the words which they used, they 

1 viii. 38, 1. 


would have known that Zeus had his Olympian and Lykaian hills, chap. 

his Crete, his Dikte, his Arkadia, his Phoinikian home wherever the • • 

sun sent forth his long train of light 1 across the sky. But in the 
minds of Achaians and Hellenes the old phrase had associated with 
the abode of Zeus the idea of an ineffable splendour ; and the tena- 
city with which they clung to this idea is singularly exhibited in the 
strange superstition which made the Lykaian sanctuary an object of 
wondering dread. As the Hebrew of old said that none might look 
on the face of God and live, so the Aryan held that the doom of 
death was on the man who dared to look on the unveiled splendour 
of Zeus. The Arkadian localised this faith in his Lykaian Temenos, 
and averred not only that all living things which might enter it would 
die within the year, but that not a single object within it ever cast a 
shadow. The idea, being once suggested, ran out into the wildest 
fancies, and the huntsman, who drew back at the inclosure when a 
hunted beast entered it, failed not to see that its body no longer cast 
a shadow after it had entered the charmed circle. The science of the 
geographer does but heighten his faith in the local tradition. When 
the sun is in the sign of the Crab, he knows that at the Ethiopian 
Syene there are no shadows at midday ; but the marvel was that in 
this Arkadian sanctuary there was never any shadow the whole year 
round. Pausanias admitted the fact as readily as the Royal Society 
set to work, it is said, to explain why a vessel of water with a fish in 
it was no heavier than it would have been without the fish : but he 
could not know that in the real Lykosoura there could be no shade, 
although this Lykosoura was not to be sought in Peloponnesos or in 
any land of human habitation. In the bright heaven, through which 
travels the unclouded sun, there can be no darkness at all. 2 

But the word which supplied the name of the shadowless Lykaian Lykosoura 
sanctuary was confused in their mind with the name of the wolf, so £a6n 
called for the same reason which led the German to speak of the 
bear as Goldfuss : and at once it became necessary to show how the 
idea of wolves was linked with the fortunes of Lykaon. This son of 
Pelasgos was the builder of Lykosoura, and he called Zeus Lykaios; 3 
after his own name, instituting in his honour the Lykaian festival 
which answered to the Dawn festival in the city of the Athenians. 
But his wisdom, as Pausanias testifies, was not equal to that of his 
contemporary Kekrops, who felt that no living thing should be offered 

1 AvieAtrovpa. Emile Buonouf, La of the golden race, he was simply saying 

Legende Athenienne, 116. that it was built, as it must necessarily 

1 When Pausanias, v. 7, 4, says that be, by Lykians or men of light, 
the Olympian temple was built by men 3 Paus. viii. 2, I. 



book up to the Zeus whom he reverenced as the most high. The zeal of 
- n - Lykaon was more vehement, and the blood of an infant, or, as some 
said, of his own child, flowed on the altar of sacrifice. At once the 
human form of Lykaon was changed into that of a wolf. It was the 
just recompense of his iniquity in a time when men were linked in a 
close intercourse with the gods ; but to the grief of Pausanias the 
increasing wickedness of mankind had put an end to the age of 
miracles, and the true story of Lykaon had been overlaid by miser- 
able falsehoods, which affirmed that men turned into wolves at the 
Lykaian sacrifice were restored to their old shape after ten years, if 
they abstained from human flesh, but that, if they tasted it, then 
they remained wolves for ever. 
Lykan- We have here more than the germ of mediaeval Lykanthropy, 

thropy " and little more is needed to bring before us the Were-wolf or Vampire 
superstition in its full deformity. That superstition has been amongst 
the most fearful scourges of mankind ; but here, as elsewhere, it is 
something to learn that a confusion between two words identical in 
sound, and springing from the same root, laid the foundations of this 
frightful delusion. The myth of Lykaon is in this incident nothing 
more than a repetition of the story of Tantalos. His name is but 
one of a thousand epithets for the sun, who in times of drought offers 
up on the altar of Zeus (the heaven) the scorched and withered fruits 
which owed their life to his own vivifying heat ; and for him, as for 
the Phrygian king, the sin and its punishment inevitably followed the 
translation of mythical phrases into the conditions of human life. 
The Dodo- Like the god of Arkadia, the Zeus of Dodona is nourished by 
Olympian nymphs, who in this instance are called Hyades, the bringers of 
Zeus. moisture from the blue heights of heaven. That the Cretan story is 

but another version of the Arkadian, the identity of names alone 
sufficiently proves. The Lykaian hill had its Crete, and the Eleu- 
therai, to which unintentional trespassers into the Temenos of Zeus 
were conveyed, reappears in the mythical geography of the Egean 
island. 1 But although Zeus must be wherever there is an Olympian 
city, yet the greatness of the Eleian Zeus overshadowed the majesty 
of the Zeus who abode in Crete, Lykosoura, or Dodona, when his 
temple at Olympia became the sanctuary of the great Panhellenic 
festival. But here, too, the local legend gives names with which the 
Cretan and Arkadian myths have already made us familiar. Here, 
too, it was said that Rhea entrusted the infant Zeus to the care of 
the Idaian Daktyloi. 2 If the name given to these mysterious beings 
be akin to the Dikte and Lyktos of the Cretan tale, to Artemis Dik- 
1 Hesiod, Thcog. 54. s Paus. v. 7, 4. 


tynna and Diktys of Seriphos, we have in it only a general designa- CHAP, 
tion which applies to each of the Daktyloi, Herakles, Paionios, Iasios, « ... ■ . ' . - 
and Idas. This Idas is but the counterpart of the nymph Ida, the 
companion of Adrasteia ; and Ida, as we have seen, is but the earth, 
which may be regarded as either the nurse, or, as in the Vedic 
hymns, the bride of Zeus. The name of Herakles, like that of Here, 
indicates simply the splendour of the risen sun, and in Iasios, as in 
Iasion, Iamos, IolS and others, we have the violet tint with which the 
heaven is flushed in early morning. The olive branch, which Hera- 
kles made the prize of victory, itself came from the Hyperboreans, 
whence Achaia, the mother of the Zeus-born Achaians, journeyed to 

That the relations of Zeus to other mythical beings were very Limits to- 
variously described, a comparison of our Hesiodic and Homeric nar- o/zeus. r 
ratives has already shown us. In the latter, he is the father not only 
of Aphrodite, who in the former is his sister, but of Ares and He- 
phaistos, who, according to another legend, were like Typhoeus the 
children of Here only. In one story he is the father also of Phoibos, 
who in another is the son of Athene. The power with which he is 
invested varies in like manner according to the point of view from 
which he is regarded. The Zeus who is the father of all living things,. 
knows neither weakness, change, nor passion ; the Zeus who is the 
growth of mythical phrases, is beneficent or treacherous, just or capri- 
cious, pure or lustful, according to the character of the phenomena 
to be described. By himself he is styled all-powerful : but Here too,, 
as the sovereign queen of heaven, can know no higher authority, and 
thus they are represented as acting sometimes with and sometimes 
against each other. Nay, even Athene, the maiden who stands by 
his side to do his will, is sometimes an accomplice with Here and 
Poseidon in plots to circumscribe his power. But although he can 
do much, he cannot arrest the course of the sun, he cannot lighten 
his toils for beings meaner than himself, he cannot avert the early 
doom which awaits him when his short career across the heaven is 
°nded. Hence he can but bring up to Olympos from the dead the 
beautiful Memnon for whom the tears of Eos fall in dewdrops from 
the sky ; he can but rescue the body of the brave Sarpedon, and give 
it to Phoibos to bathe in Simoeis, and to the powers of sleep and 
death to bear it to the glistening home which they cannot reach until 
the morning. 1 Herakles may toil for Eurystheus and have no profit 

1 In some other respects the Homeric the latter cannot turn aside, and who 
Zeus is greater than the Zeus of his- broods over a house until the penalty 
torical Hellas. The awful Ate 1 whom for the shedding of innocent blood has 

1 84 



The mes- 
sengers of 

at all of his labour ; but Zeus can only look down on his brave son 
• until the flames ascend to heaven from his funeral pile on Oita. 
There is, in short, no one phrase which might be said to describe the 
varying aspects of the sky, which is not petrified into some myth 
characteristic of the Kronid Zeus ; and the smile of the blue heaven, 
when all the brightness of day bursts upon it, becomes the rapture 
of Zeus when Here comes to him armed with the kestos (cestus) of 
AphroditS, and the lulling spells of Hypnos. 1 Thus also the serene 
height in which Zeus dwells, and from which he cannot descend, ex- 
plains his indifference and seeming immorality in the great conflict 
at Ilion. At the prayer of Thetis he may be induced to help the 
Trojans until Agamemnon has repaired the wrong done to Achilleus, 
or his inaction may be secured by the devices of Here ; but with 
Here herself there can be no such uncertainty or vacillation. Her 
name is but one of many names applied to the sun, and she must 
take part steadily with the Argives and Danaans, the children of the 
Dawn. To her Paris, the seducer of the fair Helen, is strictly the evil 
Pani who tempts SaramS. to betray the trust reposed in her by Indra ; 
and hence she may employ without scruple the power of her beauty, 
aided by the magic girdle of Aphrodite, to turn the scale in favour of 
Agamemnon and his Achaian warriors. 

But if Zeus cannot himself descend to the regions of the murky 
air, he has messengers who do his bidding. Foremost among these 
is Hermes, the god who flies on the breezes and the storm ; but Iris 
of the flashing feet is more truly the minister who joins the ether to 
the lower atmosphere of the earth. Whatever be the origin of the 
name Iris, the word was used by the poets of the Iliad to denote not 
only the divine messenger, but the rainbow itself. Thus the dragons 
on the breastplate of Agamemnon are likened to the Irises which Zeus 
has set in the heavens as a marvel to mortal men ; a and more plainly 
Iris is the purple arch or bow which Zeus stretches from one end of 
heaven to the other, to give warning of war or deadly drought. 3 She 
is a daughter of Thaumas and Elektra, the wonderful amber tints, 
and a sister of the Harpyiai, the rent and ragged clouds against which 
those tints are seen ; and she would be the golden-winged messenger, 
not only because the rainbow can come and vanish with the speed 

been fully paid is in the Iliad only the 
spirit of mischievous folly. So too, the 
Moirai, who, like AtS, had been only 
his ministers, become possessed, like the 
Norns, of an irresponsible authority, 
while finally the force of destiny attains 
its most overpowering proportions in the 

Ananke whom, according to the theo- 
gony of Euripides, not even the father of 
gods and men is able to withstand or 

1 11. xiv. 210, &c. 

2 lb. xi. 27. 

8 lb. xviii. 549. 


of lightning, but because its arch seems to join the heaven and the CHAP. 

earth, as a ladder by which the angels may descend and rise jip again : ■ 

into their home above. Hence the phrase was that the rainbow 
spread its glorious path across the sky, whenever the gods wished to 
send their messenger to do their bidding. In this office Iris carries 
out the behests sometimes of Zeus, sometimes of Here or of Phoibos, 
while sometimes she comes of her own free act. She is, in short, the 
counterpart of Hermes, whose staff she bears in her hand. 1 If, again, 
in some myths she may be spoken of as always a maiden, it may not 
less truly be said that the winds love her exquisite tints, while the 
earth lies enraptured at her feet ; and this accordingly is the tale 
which makes her the bride of Zephyros and the mother of Eros, the 
darling of the gods. But the name of this lovely being soon became 
a mere general title of messengers or errand-carriers, and reappears in 
Iros the beggar of the Odyssey, who resembles her in no other way. 

Lastly, as seeing from his throne in heaven all that is done on Zeus the 
earth, Zeus must be the punisher of all iniquity. But the judgments J udge " 
of a god, whose characteristics depend on half-forgotten mythical 
phrases, or on words wholly misunderstood, will not be always 
equitable. The sentences passed will have reference often to his 
mythical rights, while they may be designed generally to redress 
wrongs between man and man. The punishments of Tantalos and 
Ixion, of Lykaon and Sisyphos, are involved in the very idea of these 
beings. The sun, who woos the dawn, yet drives her from him as he 
rises in the sky. He loves the dew which his rays burn up; and 
if he shine on the earth too fiercely, its harvests must be withered. 
If his face approaches the stream too closely, the water-courses will 
soon be beds of gaping slime. The penalty paid by Tantalos is bound 
up with the phrases which described the action of the sun, while 
that of Lykaon sprung, as we have seen, from a confusion between 
two words derived from the same source. If, again, the sun, as 
rising into the dizzy heights of heaven, might be said to gaze too 
boldly on the bride of Zeus, his downward course is not less certain 
than his ascent, and at midday he must revolve like Ixion on his 
blazing wheel; while the stone which Sisyphos has with huge toil 
rolled to the mountain summit (the zenith) must slip from his grasp 
and dash down again into the valley below. Still more must Zeus 
punish the insults done to him as lord of the fire-laden thunder- 
clouds ; and Prometheus, as teaching men how to kindle a flame 
and cheat the gods with offerings of fat and bone, is an offender 
less easily pardoned than chiefs who sacrifice their children on his 

1 " Der weibliche Hermes." — Preller, Griechische Mythologie, i. 390. 


BOOK altars. In this Promethean legend alone we seem to have a glimpse 
• of that future twilight of the gods which is so prominent a charac- 
teristic of Northern mythology. But the fact that Odin and Zeus are 
alike described as sentenced to the same doom, sufficiently proves 
the common origin of Greek and Teutonic mythology. The greater 
prominence of this catastrophe in the northern traditions may be due 
to the deeper gloom of the northern climate ; but the result was 
rendered inevitable by the human character imparted to the gods. 
No one has surveyed the whole field of popular tradition with the 
accuracy of Grimm : and Grimm lays it down that all nations have 
clothed their gods in human shape, and only by way of exception in 
those of animals. On this fact, he asserts, are founded their incar- 
nations, or appearances to men, their twofold sex, their intermarrying 
with mankind, and also the deification of certain men. The gods 
of the whole Aryan world eat, drink, and sleep ; but beings who eat, 
drink, and sleep must die. The northern mythology kept this notion 
before the people with startling clearness ; the southern disguised it 
and practically put it out of sight, but it was there nevertheless. The 
Olympian gods ' feast on ambrosia and are refreshed by nectar, as 
Indra and Agni are invigorated by the Soma juice ; but they can be 
wounded and suffer pain, they may hunger and thirst ; and to the 
Norse mind the inference was oppressively plain. The beautiful 
Baldur has his yearly death and resurrection ; but the time will come 
when the great enemy of the gods will be let loose and Asgard shall 
be desolate. This enemy is Loki, the fire-god, whose release just 
before the coming on of the twilight of the gods is in close agreement 
with the release of the chained Prometheus, by whom the sway 
of Zeus is to be brought to an end. The writhings of the fettered 
Loki make the earth quake just as it is shaken in the case of 
Prometheus; but while the Greek Titan excites our deepest sym- 
pathy, the Edda presents Loki as a hateful monster. For the reason 
of this we need go no further than the use to which fire is put 
in the Greek myth. The northern Odin is the all-father, from 
whom men may expect substantial justice; in the Promethean 
tradition Zeus is an arbitrary tyrant, with a special hatred for man- 
kind The latter are in a state of abject misery until they receive 
the boon of fire. The giver of it thus becomes their friend; and his 
deliverance is associated with the triumph of righteousness over 
wrong. But it would perhaps be difficult to determine how far the 
purely spiritual colouring thrown over the myth is not due to the 
mighty genius of ^Eschylus. Nor is it a hard task to imagine a 
Prometheus in whom we should see simply a counterpart of the 


mischievous and malignant northern god. Nay, even among the chap. 

Teutonic people there linger to this day conceptions which represent : ■ 

Loki by turns as beneficent and hateful, as sun, fire, giant, and devil. 


The Teutonic belief in the twilight or final extinction of the gods character- 
is of itself evidence that the mythology of the German and Scandina- Teutonic 
vian nations belongs to a form of thought differing widely from that mytho- 
of the Hindu or the Greek. Even the myth of Prometheus does but 
say that Zeus should be put down, and a more righteous ruler set up 
in his place. But in the Teutonic legends Odin himself falls and 
Thor dies, and the body of the beautiful Baldur is consumed in the 
flames. In other words, these deities answer less to the Olympian 
gods than to the mortal Herakles or Perseus or Asklepios. But 
the links which connect the belief of the one race with that of the 
others may be traced readily enough. The Vedic gods, like the 
Hellenic, live for ever. Thus the Soma draught becomes in northern 
Europe the cup of honey mingled with the blood of Qvasir, the wisest 
of all beings, who during his life had gone about the world doing the 
work of Prometheus for the wretched children of men. 1 His wisdom, . 
however, could not save him from the dwarfs Fialar and Galar, who, 
mingling his blood with honey, made a costly mead, the taste of 
which imparted the eloquence of the bard and the wisdom of the 
sage. 2 In other respects the Teutonic deities exhibit the closest 
likeness to the Greek. The rapidly acquired strength and might 
of Zeus, Phoibos, and Hermes simply express the brief period needed 
to fill the heaven with light, to give to the sun its scorching heat, 
to the wind its irresistible force; and the same idea is expressed 
by the myth of Vali, the son of Wuotan and Rind, who, when only 
a night old, comes with his hair untouched by a comb, like Phoibos 
Akersekomes, to take vengeance on Hodr for the death of Baldur, 
and again in the story of Magni, the son of Iarnsaxa, who, when three 
days old, rescued his father Thor as he lay crushed beneath the foot 
of the gigantic Hrungnir. 3 There is the same agreement in the size 
of their bodies and in the^power of their voices. The roaring of the 
waves and the crash of the thunder are louder than any din of mortal 
warfare or the cries of any earthly monsters ; and thus at once we 
have the gigantic size of Ares, and the roar of Poseidon louder than 
the noise of a myriad warriors in close conflict. Thus, also, as Here 
lays one hand on the earth and the other on the sea, so Thor drinks 
1 Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, 295. 2 Ibid. 855. 3 Ibid. 298. 






up no small part of the ocean with his horn which reaches from 
- heaven to its surface — a ponderous image for the clouds or the rays 
of the sun as they drink from the sea. But neither the Greek nor 
the Teutonic deities have the monstrous forms of the four-armed 
Vishnu or the four-headed Brahma— these fearful combinations being 
confined to beings like Briareos and Geryon and the giants of 
northern mythology, unless an exception is to be made of the three- 
handed Hekate, who, however, can scarcely be reckoned among the 
Olympian gods, and the four-armed Lakedaimonian Apollon. 1 The 
two-headed Janus is a Latin deity. But if the Teutonic gods are 
never monstrous, they are sometimes maimed ; and in the one-eyed 
Odin we have the idea which called the Hellenic Kyklops into 
existence ; while in the one-handed Tyr 2 we see Indra Savitar ; and in 
the limping Loki, the lame Hephaistos. But whatever may be their 
office, these are all bright and radiant deities ; Hel alone, like the 
rugged king of Hellenic mythology, has a dark and repulsive aspect' 
The very expressions used in speaking of them are transparent. The 
flowing locks of the Wish-god and of Baldur are those of Zeus and 
Phoibos; the fair-haired Demeter of the Greek becomes the fair- 
haired Lif of the Teuton. 4 The power of Zeus is seen again in that 
of Thor, and the golden glory which surrounded the head of Phoibos 
or Asklepios, and became the aureole of Christian saints, is not less 
a mark of the German deities, and appears on the head of Thor as a 
circlet of stars.' 

But when we turn to the theogony set forth in the Voluspa Saga, 
we can as little doubt that it marks a comparatively late stage of 
thought, as we can suppose that the Hesiodic theogony is older than 
the simple and transparent myths which tell us of Prokris or Tithonos 
or Endymion. The myth of Baldur, at least in its cruder forms, 
must be far more ancient than any classification resembling that 

1 Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, 298. 

2 Tyr loses his hand in the mouth 
of the wolf Fenris, who refuses to be 
bound with the cord woven by the 
dwarfs of Schwarz Alfheim unless he 
has the hand in his mouth as a gauge 
of their good faith. See also Tylor, 
Primitive Culture, i. 316. 

3 Hel, the daughter of Loki, and 
sister of the wolf Fenris and the horrible 
worm or serpent, is half black and half 
human in appearance. Her dwelling is 
in Niflheim, far down in the depths of the 
earth, beneath the roots of Yggdrasil. — 
Grimm, D. M. 289. She is the hungry 
and insatiable goddess, the greedy 

Polydektes and Polydegm&n of Greek 
myths (Grimm, ib. 291), the black Kail 
of modern Hindu theogony. 

* Grimm, ib. 534. 

s Ib. 300. We are bound to mark 
the emphasis with which Grimm, writing 
half a century ago, insisted on the close 
affinity between the Teutonic and the 
Greek mythology, ' ' an affinity for which, 
as in the relations of the Greek and the 
Teutonic languages, there is no question 
of borrowing or choice, nothing but un- 
conscious affinity, allowing room (and 
that inevitably) for considerable diver- 
gences. " 


of the Hesiodic ages. Such a classification we find in the re- chap. 
lations of the Jotun or giants, who are conquered by Odm as the • 
Titans are overthrown by Zeus; and this sequence forms part of 
a theogony which, like that of Hesiod, begins with chaos. From 
this chaos the earth emerged, made by the gods out of the blood and 
bones of the giant Ymir, whose name denotes the dead and barren 
sea. This being is sprung from the contact of the frozen with the 
heated waters, the former coming from Niflheim, the region of deadly 
cold at the northern end of the chaotic world, the latter from 
Muspelheim, the domain of the devouring fire. The Kosmos so 
brought into existence is called the "Bearer of God" — a phrase 
which finds its explanation in the world-tree Yggdrasil, on which 
Odin himself hangs, like the Helene Dendritis of the Cretan 
legend : — 

I know that I hung On a wind-rocked tree 

Nine whole nights, With a spear wounded, 

And to Odin offered, Myself to myself, 

On that tree, Of which no one knows 

From what root it springs. 1 

This mighty tree, which in Odin's Rune Song becomes a veritable 
tree of knowledge, and whose roots are undermined by Hel or death 
and by the Hrimthursen or frost-giants, rises into Asgard, the highest 
heavens where the gods dwell, while men have their abode in Mid- 
gard, the middle garden or earth, embraced by its branches. 

The giant Ymir was nourished by the four streams which flowed Genealogy 
from the treasure of moisture, the cow Audhumla, 2 which belongs to ° 
Zoroastrian not less than to Teutonic mythology, and is there found 
with the meaning both of cow and earth. 8 This earth afforded salt, 
without which no life can be vigorous, and from Audhumla, as she 
fed on the salt of the blocks of ice, there came forth a perfect man, 
Buri, the fashioner of the world, whose son, Bor, 4 had as his wife 
Besla, or Bettla, 6 the daughter of the giant Bolthorn, the root or 
kernel of the earth. From Buri 6 proceeded apparently Odin him- 

1 "Odin's Rime Song," Thorpe's the active and passive meanings of the 

Translation of Ssmund's Edda, p. 340. Greek <popos in compound words. 
We may compare with the "Bearer of 4 Bunsen thinks that the original 

God," the names Atlas and Christo- form of this name was Beidsla, a word 

phoros. perhaps denoting desire or longing, and 

1 This is the cow beneath whose thus answering to the Kama of Vedic 

udder the Dawn maiden hides herself and the Eros of the Hesiodic theogony, 

in the Norse story of the Two Step- while it is reflected also in the Teutonic 

Sisters. — Dasent. Gubernatis, Zoolo- Wunsch or Wish. 
gical Mythology, i. 224. " The children of Buri educe order 

3 Bunsen, God in History, ii. 483. out of Chaos, and at the four ends of 

* The two names would answer to the world thus brought into shape they 


BOOK self, and also the race of the gods or JEsh, the self-existent beings, 1 
■ n - . ■ w ho dwell in Asgard or Aith£r, while the middle air, between the 
upper and under worlds, the ar/p of the Greeks on which Zeus looks 
down, is Vanaheim, the home of the Vanir, or spirits of the 
breathing wind. 2 To this race belong Freyr and Freya, the deities 
of beauty and love, "the children of Mordur, the sea-god who 
dwells in the sea-city (Noatun), and whose spouse, Skadi (Elster ?) 
is the daughter of the giant Thiassi, for he is indeed himself the 

shore." 3 
Odin as The idea of the composite nature of man must have preceded 

of\fan at ° r tne rise of the myth which assigns the creation of the soul to Odin, 
of the mind to Hahnir, of the blood and outward complexion to 
Lodur. This Hahnir is probably the same word as hahn, the cock, 
"in its wider import the bird, the animal belonging to the air;" 1 
and thus possibly the framers of this theogony may have intended to 
set forth their belief that a Trinity, consisting of Ether, Air, and Fire, 
was concerned in the creation of man, Lodur being certainly fire, 
and in fact only another form of Loki, the shining god. But we 
approach the regions of pure mythology when we read that when 
Odur sets forth on his wanderings, his bride, the beautiful Freya, 6 
sheds gold-gleaming tears — " an image of the bright gleams shooting 
across the rugged morning sky," 6 From these parents springs 
Hnossa, the jewel, the world under the aspect of beauty, while 
Frigga, as the wife of Odin, doubtless only another form of Odur, is 
the mother of Jord, the earth, in the character of the nourishing 
The end of But all this visible Kosmos is doomed to undergo a catastrophe, 
the vEsir. ^ e results of which will be not its destruction but its renovation. 
The whole world will be consumed by fire, kindled by Lodur {der 
Lodernde, the glowing god), the Loki who brought about the death 

place the four dwarfs — Nordri, Sudri, world of the light elves ; Mannaheim, 

Austri, Vestri. These are probably a name for Midgard, the world of man; 

the growth of an artificial system like and belowthe earth plain, Svartalfaheim, 

that which assigned twelve labours to the land of the dark elves, and Hel- 

Herakl£s. For an excellent summary heim, the abode of Hel. Below all 

of Norse mythology see Brown, Re- lies Niflheim, the dwelling of the 

ligion and Mythology of the Aryans of serpent Nidhogr, who gnaws the world- 

Northem Europt, § II. tree Yggdrasil, Jotunheim lying beyond 

1 From the root as, to be ; the word the ocean-stream which surrounds Mid- 
is thus simply another form of Wesen. gard. 

2 The original form of the word 3 Bunsen, God in History, ii. 487. 
jEsir connects it immediately with 4 Ibid. 

Atman as a name of Brahman, and the s For the several changes through 

Latin animus, &c. — Bunsen, God in which the names Freyr and Freya have 

History, ii. 486. Besides Asgard and passed, see Grimm, D. M. 276, &c. 
Vanaheim, we have Ljosalfaheim, the • Bunsen, God in History, ii. 491. 


of Baldur. The life or the reign of the JEsh themselves will come chap. 
to an end, but a new earth rising from this second chaos will resemble ' 

that of the golden age in the Hesiodic tradition. Of this Teutonic 
theogony we may say without the least misgiving that it exhibits no 
sign of any Christian influence. It would be almost as reasonable 
to trace such an influence in the Hesiodic poems, where, if we could 
get over the insurmountable difficulties of chronology, such an 
attempt might be made with far greater plausibility. Nor can we 
charge Bunsen with speaking too strongly, when he says that we 
must be brought to this negative conclusion, unless " we are to set 
above facts a preconceived opinion, taken up at random on the 
slightest grounds, or indolently to decline scrutiny of those facts, or 
profound reflexions on what they indicate." l 

The idea which the Aryans of India sought to express under the The name 
names Brahman and Atman, the Aryans of Europe strove to signify Wuotan - 
by the name Wuotan. That idea centred in the conception of Will 
as a power which brought all things into being and preserves them 
in it, of a will which followed man wherever he could go and from 
which there was no escape, which was present alike in the heavens 
above and in the depths beneath, an energy incessantly operating 
and making itself felt in the multiplication as well as in the sustain- 
ing of life. Obviously there was no one thing in the physical world 
which more vividly answered to such a conception than the wind, 
as the breath of the great Ether, the moving power which purifies 
the air. Thus the Hindu Brahman denoted originally the active 
and propulsive force in creation, and this conception was still more 
strictly set forth under the name Atman, the breath or spirit which 
becomes the atmosphere of the Greeks and the athem of the Ger- 
mans. Atman is thus the breathing, in other words, the self-existent 
being, — the actual self of the universe ; and the meaning thus as- 
signed to the word was so impressed upon the minds of the Aryans 
of India that no mythology ever grew up round it. In Professor 
Miiller's words " the idea of the Atman or self, like a pure crystal, 
was too transparent for poetry, and therefore was handed down to 
philosophy, which afterwards polished, and turned, and watched it 
as the medium through which all is seen and in which all is reflected 
and known." 2 The conception of the Teutonic Wuotan was at first 
not less exalted. Like Brahman and Atman, it is the moving 
strength and power of creation, and the word in Grimm's belief 
carries us to the Latin vad-ere, to go or move, the Bavarian wueteln, 

1 Cod in History, ii. 409. 

2 Chips, &=c, i. 71. 


BOOK to stir or grow. Thus Grimm remarks that of Wuotan it may be 
■ — ?i ■ said as Lucan says of Jupiter — 

Est quodcunque vides, quocunque moveris, 

the pure spiritual deity. The word itself is therefore a participle of 
the old verb watan, whose cognate forms vata, 6d, account for the 
dialectical variations which converted it into the Saxon Wuodan, 
Wodan, Woden, Odin, the Frisian Weda, the Norse OSinn. But 
the ideas thus expressed by the name were necessarily lost when the 
Christian missionaries taught the people to look on Wuotan or Odin 
as the archfiend ruling over troops of malignant demons ; nor is it 
improbable that the process may have begun at an earlier period. 
The name is connected closely with the German wnth, in which the 
notion of energy has been exaggerated into that of impulse uncon- 
trolled by will. Such a limitation of meaning was quite in harmony 
with the tendency of all the German tribes to identify energy with 
vehement strife, and thus Wuotan became essentially the armed 
deity, the god of war and of battles, the father of victory. 1 As such, 
he looks down on the earth from his heavenly home through a 
window, sitting on his throne with Freya by his side, as Here sits by 
Zeus in Olympos. In the strange story which is to account for the 
change which converted the Winili into the Lombards, this attribute 
of Wuotan is connected with the rising of the sun, the great eye of 
day. As the giver of victory, the greatest of all blessings in Teutonic 
eyes, he was necessarily the giver of all other good things, like the 
Hermes of the Greeks with whose name his own is identical in 
meaning. 2 As such, he is Osci, Oski, the power of Wish or Will, 
so often exhibited in the mythology of northern Europe, the Wunsch 
to whom the poets of the thirteenth century 8 assign hands, eyes, 
knowledge, blood, with all the appetites and passions of humanity. 
This power of Wuotan is seen in the oska-stein, or wishing stone, 4 

1 Sigfadr, Siegfater, Grimm, ib. 122. * The instruments of Wish generally 

Hence the phrases, Zu OSinn fahren, run in triplets, as in the story of King 

Ofcinnsheim suchen, denoted simply Putraka (pp. 89, 93). In that of Cin- 

death. With the conversion to Christi- derella, they are three nuts, containing 

anity these expressions which spoke each a splendid robe. In the story of 

of men as going home to Odin became The Pink, Wish assumes the Protean 

maledictions, consigning them to per- power of transformation ; in that of 

dition. Brother Lustig, it is a bag in which the 

1 This attribute of Wuotan, which possessor may see anything that he 

Grimm discovers in the titles Gibicho, wishes to shut up in it, and by means 

Kipicho, makes him S&rup iduv, i.e. of which he contrives, like the Master 

Hermes, whose name denotes simply the Smith, to find his way into heaven. In 

motion of the air. the tale of the Poor Man and the Rich 

' For a long series of passages in Man, the three wishes which bring 

which Wunsch is clearly both a power happiness here and hereafter to the 

and a person, see Grimm, D.M. 126-8. former, bring only "vexation, troubling, 



which the Irish localise in Blarney and which Grimm connects with CHAP. 

the wishing-rod or staff of Hermes, 1 in the Oskmeyjar* or Wish- • : ■ 

maidens or Valkyries who guide to Valhalla all heroes slain in battle, 
and who are the wish or choice children of Wuotan, and more 
especially in the Oska-byrr, or Wish-wind, in which we recognise 
both in name and in the thing the iKfievos ovpos of our Iliad. 3 It 
is this power doubtless which is denoted by the Sanskrit Kama, as 
the force which first brought the visible Kosmos into being, 8 and 
by the Eros of the Hesiodic theogony. 

The single eye of Odin points beyond all doubt to the sun, the The one- 
one eye which all day long looks down from heaven upon the earth. ^ d Wu0 " 
But when he was figured as an old man with a broad hood and a O d >n. 
wide-flowing robe, the myth necessarily sprung up that he had lost 
an eye, a story which answers precisely to the myth of Indra Savitar, 
while it also throws further light, if any such were needed, on that 
of the KyklSpes. 4 But as the sun is his eye, so his mantle is the 
vapour which like the cloud-gathering Zeus Odin wraps around him- 
self, and thus becomes Hakolberend, the wearer of the veil, or 
Harbard, the bearded god. In his hand he bears the marvellous 
spear Gungnir, in which we see the lance of Phoibos or Artemis. 

scolding, and the loss of a horse " upon 
the latter. In the story of the Faithful 
Beasts, it is a wonderful stone (the orb 
of the sun) which a fat old frog (the 
Frog Prince or Fish Sun) brings up 
from the waters. In the tale of the 
Donkey Cabbages it is a wishing-cloak, 
and thus we are brought back to 
Solomon's carpet, which in the story of 
the Knapsack, the Hat, and the Horn, 
"appears as a cloth, capable, like the 
Sangreal, of providing unlimited supplies 
of food and drink, and as a beautiful 
carpet in the story of the Three Feathers. 
In that of the Drummer, it is a ring in 
the hand of the Dawn Maiden, who 
becomes his bride. The three posses- 
sions of King Putraka are the three 
wishes which assume many forms in 
folk-lore." Compare the story of the 
Best Wish with the wishes of the Master 
Smith in the Norse Tales. Dasent. 
1 Grimm, D. M. 131. 

* There is really nothing to support 
the explanation which refers tn/terns to 
mviojim. The word stands to Oski, or 
wish, precisely in the relation of ix a t0 
f<rx»i or tyvphs to lax"p6s. 

* A translation of the very remark- 
able hymn in which this word occurs 
is given in Professor Max Miiller's 
History of Sanskrit Literature, p. 561. 

The first sentence shows the train of 
thought in the mind of the poet : 

" Darkness there was : and all at first 

was veiled 
In gloom profound, an ocean without 

light : 
The germ that still lay covered in the 

Burst forth, one nature from the fervent 

heart ; 
Then first came love upon it." 

On this passage Professor H. H. 
Wilson remarks, "The term ' love ' here 
appears to us to convey a notion too 
transcendental to have had a place in 
the conception of the original author. 
The word is Kama, which scarcely in- 
dicates love in the sense in which it may 
here be understood, although not abso- 
lutely indefensible : but Kama means 
desire, wish, and it expresses here the 
wish, synonymous with the will, of the 
sole-existing Being to create." — Edin- 
burgh Review, Oct. i860, p. 384. 

* Thus in Saxo he is "grandsevus 
altero orbus oculo," and again " Armi- 
potens uno semper contentus ocello." 
Thetreason assigned by the myth is that 
he was obliged to leave one eye in 
pledge when he wished to drink at the 
well of Mimir. 




Odin the 

Odin the 

Tyr and 

By his side are the two wolves Gari and Freki, with whom he hunts 
- down his victims, wolves like the Myrmidons whom Achilleus lets 
loose upon the Trojans, wolves like those from which Phoibos was 
supposed to derive his name Lykeios. On his shoulders sit the two 
ravens, Huginn and Muninn, who whisper into his ears all that they 
see or hear, as the serpents by their mysterious whisperings impart 
more than human wisdom to the infant Iamos. 1 They are the ravens 
who bring to Apollon the tidings of the faithlessness of Koronis, as 
in the shape of a raven Aristeas tells the Metapontines that he 
followed Phoibos when he came to their country. 2 

As the bearded god, Odin becomes the giver of the rain, the 
Zeus Ombrios of the Greeks, the Jupiter Pluvius or flowing Jupiter 
of the Latins, as well as their Neptunus or cloud-deity. As such, he 
is Hnikar, the Anglo-Saxon Nicor or water-god, whose offspring are 
the Nixies or water-sprites, as the Hellenic Naiads are the children 
of Zeus. 8 In this character he is the Biblindi, or drinker (the Latin 
bib-ere) of the Eddas. Like Phoibos again, or Asklepios, he is the 
healer, who alone can restore strength and vigour to the maimed 
horses of Baldur ; and as the Muses are the daughters of Zeus, so is 
Saga the daughter of Wuotan, the source of all poetry, the inspirer 
of all bards. In his hunts he rides the eight-footed horse Sleipnir, 
the white steed which bears him also through the thick of battle, 
like the rudderless and oarless ships which carry the Phaiakians 
across the blue seas of heaven. 

Wuotan, the AUfather 1 and the Psychompompos, who takes all 
souls to himself when their earthly journey is done, has become for 
the nations of northern Europe a mere name ; but the mark of his 
name he has impressed on many places. If our Wednesdays remind 
us of him, he has also left his relics in Onslew, 6 in the island Odinse, 
in Odinfors, Odenskalla and Wednesbury. 

The close connexion of the name Tyr with the several forms 
developed from the root dyu, to shine, would of itself lead us to 
expect that the word would remain practically a mere appellative for 
gods whose names might again betray a relation to the same root 

1 Grimm, D. M. 134, traces the 
names to hugr, thought, and munr, 
mind, as in Minerva, &c. 

2 Herod, iv. 15. 

* So Poseidon becomes St. Nicholas. 
All these names come from the same 
root with the Sanskrit sna, the Greek 
vhxw, the Latin nare, to float or swim. 
With them we must link the common 
term "Old Nick," as a name for the 


4 Professor Max Miiller seems in- 
clined to trace Christian influence in 
the description of Odin AUfadir as 
given, for instance, in the dialogue 
called Gylfi's Mocking. 

5 Othanslef, Othini reliquise. 
Grimm, D. M, 144, adds many other 


Accordingly we meet with Sigtyr, the victorious god, as a. name for CHAP. 
Wuotan, and Reidartyr or Reidityr, the riding or driving Tyr, as a ■ " ■ ■ ' 

name for Thor. Nor can it be said that any real mythology has 
gathered round this word, for the Stauros which is specially con- 
nected with his name belongs rather to the region of symbolism than 
of mythology, although the conjunction of this emblem with the circle 
(the kestos of AphroditS and the necklace of Harmonia and Eriphyle) 
is in itself a subject of some interest. Hence we should further be 
led to expect that the special emblem under which Tyr would be 
worshipped would be the sword : and to this fact Grimm traces the 
names, not only of the Saxons, but of the Cherusci as pointing to 
the old Cheru, Heru— a sword 


Englishmen may not unnaturally be tempted to think that our The name 
word Thunder is the older and more genuine form of the name given Donar - 
to the god who wields the lightnings, and that this name was chosen 
to express the loud crash which echoes across the heaven. Yet the 
word in its first meaning has no reference to noise and din. The root 
denotes simply extension as applied whether to sound or to any other 
objects, and from it we have the Greek and Latin words tciVcu and tendo, 
to stretch, rovos, tone, i.e. the stretching and vibration of chords, 
tonitru, thunder, as well as tener and tenuis, the Sanskrit tanu, 
answering to our tender and thin. Hence the dental letter which has 
led to the popular misconception of the word is found to be no 
essential part of it ; and the same process which presents the English 
tender and the French tendre as an equivalent for the Latin tener, has 
with us substituted thunder for the Latin tonitru} Thus the several 
forms Donar, Thunor, and perhaps Thor are really earlier than the 
shape which the word has assumed in our English dialect 

As the lord of the lightning, the thunder, and the rain, Donar is Thor the 
as closely allied, and, indeed, as easily identified with Wuotan, as A1Ifather ' 
Vishnu with Indra, or Indra with Agni. But although most of their 
characteristics are as interchangeable as those of the Vedic gods 
generally, each has some features peculiar to himself. Thus, although 
Thor is sometimes said to move in a chariot like other deities, yet he 
is never represented as riding like Odin. He is essentially, like 

1 Professor Miiller, having traced the if the original conception of thunder had 

connexion between these words, adds, been its rumbling noise." — Lectures on 

" The relations betvnxt tender, thin, and Language, first series, 350. 
thunder would be hard to be established, 


BOOK Vishnu, the walking or striding god, who moves amidst the lightnings 
• . ... . '; . .. • like Hephaistos in his workshop of subterraneous fires. But in his 
power of penetrating and piercing the heavens or the earth, and in 
his ceaseless and irresistible energy, he is simply Wuotan in another 
form, and the conception of the deity has varied but little among the 
Aryan nations. The name itself is found in the name of the Gallic 
thunder-god Taranis, preserved to us by Lucan, and more nearly in 
its other form Tanarus, while the idea is expressed in the Jupiter 
Tonans of the Latins, and the Zeus Kerauneios of the Greeks. He is, 
in short, the great lord of heaven in his most awful manifestation, but 
he is, nevertheless, the maker and the father of mankind. Hence, 
like Odin, he is the Allfather, a title which Procopius tells us that the 
Slavonic nations gave only to the creator of the lightnings. 1 The 
deity thus worshipped was named Perkunas or Pehrkons by the 
Lithuanian tribes, and by the Slaves Perun, Piorun, and Peraun, a 
form which Grimm is inclined to connect with the Greek /ccpawos," 
and more confidently with the Sanskrit Parjanya, a name of Indra as 
the bringer of the fertilising rain. 3 If, again, Sophokles speaks of 
G§ or Gaia as the mother of Zeus, 4 so is the earth the parent of 
Donar ; and as Zeus and Wuotan are severally enthroned on Olympos 
and Wuotan sberg, so has Thor or Donar his Donersperch, Thunres- 
berg or Donnersberg, and Donnerskaute, while the oak, the special 
tree of the Thundering Jupiter of the Latins, is not less sacred to the 
Teutonic deity. Like Dyaus or Jupiter, Thor is bearded, but his 
beard is fiery red, like the lightnings which flash across the heaven. 6 
His triple But his appearance varied with his functions, which were con- 

cerned with three things — the lightning flash, the thunderclap, and 
the thunderbolt. As using the first, he always walks or strides ; as 
producing the thunderpeal, he is borne along in his chariot; as 
wielding the bolts, he is, like Wuotan, the armed god who hurls his 
irresistible weapons. These are sometimes called his spears and 
arrows; but more especially the thunderbolt is his hammer, the 

1 Grimm, D. M. 156. English folk-lore. In the Platt-Deutsch 

8 By a change analogous to that of Prussia it appears as Pakkels=Puckle 

which makes the Latin sequor and and Pickle : and thus he appears as a 

equus answer to the Greek firofiat and demon in the phrase "pretty Pickle." 

'l-mros. Russians still say, when the thunder 

* The connexion of the Slavonic rolls, Perkunagromena. — Ralston, Songs 

Perkunas, the thunder-god, with the of the Russian People, 86, &c. j Russian 

Greek <p6pnvs, <p6picvi>os, seems scarcely Folk Tales, 337. 
less obvious, and the Hellenic deity has * Philokt. 389. 

as much to do with water as the Vedic 5 " Rothbiirtig, was auf die feurige 

Parjanya. The name of the god Luftevscheinung des Blitzes bezogen 

Pikollos, who is associated with Per- werden muss."— Grimm, D. M. 161. ] 
kunas, has assumed a strange form in 


thor's hammer. 


mighty club which, when hurled from his hand, comes back to him 
again after doing its deadly errand. As wielding this weapon, he is > 
Miolnir or Tydeus, the pounder and crusher, the father of the Aloadai 
and the Molionids ; * but the word hamar meant not only a mallet, 
but a rock, and thus carries us to the weapons employed by the giants 
and the Titans. 2 When this hammer is stolen, Loki, in the Lay of 
Thrym, asks Freyja if she will lend him her feather-garment, that he 
may go and find it. With this dress Loki, as the god of light, flies to 
the abode of Thrym the giant, who has hidden the weapon in the 
depths of the earth, and will not give it up unless, like Hades, he has 
the maiden as his wife. When Loki returns to Asgard with this 
message, Freyja refuses to go. 



Then said Heimdall 
He well foresaw, 
" Let us clothe Thor 
Let him have the famed 

"Let by his side 
And woman's weeds 
But on his heart 
And a neat coif 

Of .(Esir brightest, 
Like other Vanir, 
With bridal raiment, 
Brisinga necklace. 

Keys jingle, 
Fall down his knees ; 
Place precious stones, 
Set on his head." 

He is now Dionysos, Achilleus, or Theseus in their womanly 
forms ; and like Theseus, he speedily avenges himself on those who 
take liberties with him. Having come to Jotunheim, he astonishes 
Thrym by devouring an ox and eight salmon, but the serving-maid 
lulls his fears. 

Then said Thrym, The Thursar's lord, 

" Bring the hammer in, The Bride to consecrate : 

Lay Miolnir On the maiden's knee, 

Unite us with each other By the hand of Vbr." 

1 This club is found in the hands 
of the Slavonic Perun, or Perkunas. 
"White-Russian traditions, says Afana- 
siaf, describe Perun as tall and well- 
shaped, with black hair and a long 
golden beard. He rides on a flaming 
car, grasping in his left hand a quiver 
full of arrows, and in his right a fiery 
bow. Sometimes he flies abroad on a 
great millstone, which is supported by 
the mountain-spirits, who are in sub- 
jection to him, and who by their flight 
give rise to storms. Perun, in many 
respects, corresponds with Thor, and 
one of the points of similarity is the 
mace which he bears, answering to 
Thor's hammer, Mjblnir, the name of 
which may be compared with the 
Russian words for hammer and for 
lightning, moist and molniye. " — Ralston, 
Songs of the Russian People, 73. 

2 This hammer is said to have been 
stolen by a giant who hid it eight miles 
beneath the surface of the earth. In 
as many years it ascended into heaven 
again, accomplishing one mile in each 
year ; and thus it was restored to Thor 
by Thrym, which however is only an- 
other name for thunder, and answers to 
Thrumketill, the proper name, as Thor- 
ketyll, Thurketil, answers to Thor. It 
is scarcely necessary to say that the 
thunder god has given his name to a 
vast number of places, the forms Don- 
nersberg, Thorrsberg, and Torslunde 
representing the three varieties under 
which they may be classed. Our Thurs- 
day is an abbreviation of Thunresdag ; 
but we have to remember the identity 
of Thunor, Donar, and Thor. A long 
list of such names is given by Grimm. 
D. M. 169. 




Laughed Hlorridi's 
When the fiercehearted 
He first slew Thrym 
And the Jotuns ran 
And so got Odin's son 

Soul in her breast, 

His hammer recognised. 

The Thursar's lord, 

All crushed, 

His hammer back. 1 

of Fro to 


Section VIII. —FRO. 

In the oldest Teutonic mythology we find a god Fro or Friuja, 2 
which is worshipped as the lord of all created things. If we may 
judge from the name, the conception of this deity was probably far 
above the ideas formed of any of the Vedic or Olympian gods. If 
the word is connected with the modern German froh, it expresses an 
idea which is the very opposite of the Hebrew tendency to worship 
mere strength and power. For Fro is no harsh taskmaster, but the 
merciful and eternal God. He is, in short, the beneficence and long- 
suffering of nature. Fro is thus the power which imparts to human 
life all its strength and sweetness, and which consecrates all righteous 
efforts and sanctions all righteous motives. Nor can we doubt that 
Freya stands to Fro in precisely the relation of Liber and Libera in 
the cultus of Ceres, the connexion between these deities being 
precisely that of Fro and Freya with the goddess whom Tacitus call 
Nerthus, the Teutonic Niordr. In this aspect Freya is the bringer 
of rain and sunshine for the fruits of the earth, while the worship of 
Fro runs parallel with that of Priapos. To this deity belongs the 
wonderful ship Skidbladnir, which can be folded up like a cloth, — in 
fact, a vessel much like the magic barks of the Phaiakians. But 
though this ship could carry all the ^Esir, yet these beings do not 
belong to their exalted race. They are Vanir, whose abode is in 
Vanaheim, as the Alfar or Elves live in Alfheim or Elfland and the 
Jotnar in Jotunheim. 

The Lord 
of Himin.- 


The Hellenic Iris is represented by Heimdall in the mythology 
of northern Europe. This deity, who like Baldur is a white or light- 
giving god, is the guardian of the bridge 3 which joins heaven and 

1 Lay of Thrym, 16, 17, 31, 32. 
Thorpe's Translation of StzmumFs 

2 Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, 
Stallybrass, i. 300. The Slavonic 
counterpart of Freya is Lada, the god- 
dess of the spring and of love, Lado 
answering to Fro. — Ralston, Songs of 
the Russian People, 105. 

In the Teutonic mythology no 
moral significance seems to be attached 
to this bridge. In the Zoroastrian 
system it becomes the Bridge of the 
Judge, which the righteous only can 
cross by the aid of a beautiful maiden, 
in whom is embodied the holiness after 
which they had been striving in life, 
and who in answer to their question 


earth (bif-rost, the waving resting-place), 1 and his abode is in Himin- CHAP. 

biorg, the hill of heaven, the Latin Mons Coelius, the first syllable of : • 

his name being, like himin, only another form of himmel. In other 
respects he resembles Argos Panoptes. Like him, he needs less 
sleep than a bird ; by night as by day he can see a hundred miles, 
and so keen are his senses that he can hear the corn growing on the 
earth and the wool lengthening on the sheep's back. 3 As the watcher 
and warder of the gods, he carries a horn, the point of which sticks in 
Niflheim at the root of Yggdrasil ; and it was easy to add that he 
rode a horse with a golden mane and that his own teeth were of gold. 
He speaks of himself as the son of nine mothers, a phrase which in 
Bunsen's opinion has nothing to do with the watches of the night, 
and must be referred to the nine mythological worlds of the Voluspa 
Saga, of which Niflheim is the ninth and the lowest ; and thus the 
myth would mean that "the sun-light is the common divine child 
of all these worlds." 8 

Another god of the gleaming heaven is Bragi, the brilliant, while, Bragi, the 
like Donar or Baldur, he is a son of Odin. As the god of poetry Jjj" 1 of 
and eloquence, he is the guardian and patron of bards and orators, 
.and his name, like that of Vach or Saga, passes from the signification 
of light to that of fluent and honied speech. Thus bragr Karla was 
simply an eloquent man, and a further step degraded the name of 
dsa bragr, the chief among the gods, and left it as an epithet of vain 

The name of the god Oegir, with whom Bragi is sometimes asso- Oegir, the. 
ciated in the Edda, has shared a similar fate. Used first as a name sea -s od - 
for the sea, it has come to denote the Ogres with which nurses 
frighten children. If, as Grimm supposes, the word belongs to the 
same root with the Gothic agas and 6g, the Anglo-Saxon ege, egesa, 
Old High German aki, eki, fear, dread, horror, the later meaning is 
quite in accordance with its original form. But however this may be, 
the word Oegir as a name for the sea carries us to the Greek stream 

asking who she is, says, " I am thy these, one has to keep a bandage over 

good thoughts, good words, good his eyes, for his sight is so keen that 

deeds." — Brown, Religion of Zoroaster, whatever he looks at splits in two ; 

§ 13. another can see all round the world ; 

1 Bebende Ristatte, Bunsen, God in and a third can hear everything, even 

History, ii. 412. In Slavonic mytho- to the growing of the grass. These 

logy this bridge seems to stand at the ministers of the solar hero are again 

end of the Milky Way, where four monks seen in Grimm's story, How Six 

guard the sacred road and cut to pieces travelled through the World, and in 

all who attempt to traverse it.— Ralston, the Gaelic tale of The King of Lochlin's 

Songs of the Russian People, 109. Three Daughters.— Campbell, Tales of 

> These qualities reappear in the the West Highlands, i. 238, 250. 
story of the Six Servants, Grimm. Of * God in History, ii. 412, 490. 


BOOK which surrounds the earth. The phrase Sol gengr 1 oeginn simply 

*— i • spoke of the sun going down into the sea, as Helios sinks into the 

ocean. The other forms Ogen, Ogyges, approach still more closely 
to the Teutonic Oegir. We find the idea of fear as attached to the 
name more fully developed when we come to the Oegishialm, or 
helmet of dread, which the dragon Fafnir wears as he lies on the 
golden treasures, to strike terror into those who may dare to gaze on 
him, and again in the Eckesax or Uokesahs, the fearful sword 
tempered by the dwarfs in the Vilkina Saga, 1 weapons which, although 
there may perhaps be no affinity between the names, must remind 
us of the Aigis of Athene and the helmet of Hades. Oegir's wife 
Ran is the mother of nine children, who become the eponymoi of 
fountains and streams. 

1 In the Dietrich story it is the sword with which the hero slays the gigantic 

( 201 ) 



Section I.— SURYA and SAVITRI. 

Neither Dyaus nor Varuna, Indra nor Agni, occupies that precise chap. 
place which is filled by Helios in Greek mythology as the dweller in H - 
the globe of the sun, or by Nereus as the actual inhabitant of the sea. S g^ a jj the 
This place in the Veda is reserved for Sfirya l or Savitri, the former irresistible 
name being etymologically identical with that of Helios or Here. mar y- 
Like Helios and Heimdall, Surya sees all things and hears all things, 
noting the good and evil deeds of men. Like Indra and Agni, he is 
sometimes independent, sometimes the servant of others ; but he is 
never, like Dyaus, without a parent His light is his own, and yet it 
has been given to him by Indra or by Soma, who is often spoken of 
as his father. He is the husband of the Dawn, but the Dawn is also 
his mother, as Iokaste 1 is both mother and wife of Oidipous. In all 
such phrases it was impossible to lose sight of his real character. He 
is the most active of all the active gods, he is the third in the earlier 
trimurtti in which he is associated with Agni and Vayu, he has 
measured the worlds with their undecaying supports, he is the divine 
leader of all the gods ; but as such, he is still " the pervading irre- 
sistible luminary." a His chariot is drawn by seven mares, and he 
" comes with them self-harnessed." Like Ixion, Tantalos, and Sisy- 
phos, he is the " lord of all treasures." 8 He is the eye of Mitra, 
Varuna, and Agni.* Sometimes again he is " without steeds, without 
stay; borne swift-moving and loud-sounding, he travels ascending 

1 The name remains in the Russian Ouranos. — Songs of the Russian People, 

Swarog, of whom Mr. Ralston speaks 85. 

as having been- originally the supreme 8 Muir, Sanskrit Texts, part iv. 

deity of the Slavonic tribes, and as p. 96. R. V. viii. 90, 12. 
having been displaced by Perun, as 3 R. H. Wilson, R. V, i. 1S9. 

amongst the Greeks Zeus displaced * lb. i. 304. 




The one- 

Tlie power 
of Savitar. 

higher and higher, 1 and when his daily course is run, he sinks, like 
Endymion or Kephalos, into the waters. 

" I have beheld the permanent orb of the sun, your dwelling- 
place, concealed by water where (the hymns of the pious) liberate his 
steeds." 2 

Savitar, the inspirer, from the root su, to drive or stimulate, is 
especially the glistening or golden god. He is golden-eyed, golden- 
tongued, and golden-handed ; and in the later Brahmanic mythology 
such epithets might furnish a groundwork for strange and uncouth 
fancies. Thus the story (which probably started as the myth of 
Midas and ended with the ass which poured out gold from its mouth 
on hearing the word Bricklebrit) went that once when Savitar cut off 
his hand at a sacrifice, the priests gave him instead a hand of gold ; 
and in the same spirit the commentators interpreted the epithet as 
denoting not the splendour of the sun but the gold which he carried 
in his hand to lavish on his worshippers. 8 The Teutonic god Tyr is 
also said to have lost one hand ; but the German story ran that Tyr 
placed his hand as a pledge in the mouth of the wolf and that the 
wolf bit it off. 4 In the latter tale we have an instance of that con- 
fusion of homonyms which converted Lyk&on into a wolf, Kallisto 
into a bear, and the Seven Arkshas into seven sages. 

The power and strength of Savitar are naturally represented as 
irresistible. Not even Indra, or Varuna, or any other being can 
resist his will ; and the verse which is regarded as the holiest in the 
Veda is addressed to Savitar. 6 He is a Tithonos who waxes not old 

" Shining forth, he rises from the lap of the Dawn, praised by 
singers ; he, my god Savitar, stepped forth, who never misses the 
same place. 

"He steps forth, the splendour of the sky, the wide-seeing, the 
far-shining, the shining wanderer; surely, enlivened by the sun, do 
men go to their tasks and do their work." 6 

1 H. H. Wilson, R. V. ii. 91. 

2 Cf. Eurip. AIL 591, a/upl ae\iov 
Ki/eQaiav brn6oT0,triv. 

3 Professor Max Miiller, speaking of 
this myth, compares it with the German 
proverb, " Morgenstunde hat Gold im 
Munde," as enforcing the same moral 
with the prosaic English adage which 
promises health, wealth, and wisdom to 
those who go to sleep early and rise 
early. Lectures, second series, 378. 
There was another version of the myth 
of Savitar, which made him lose both his 
hands. H. H. Wilson, R. V. i. $1. 

4 Compare the story of Nuad of the 
Silver Hand (Fergusson, Irish before the 
Conquest) and Grimm's tale of the 
Handless Maiden, for whom the king, 
when he takes her as his wife, orders 
silver hands to be made. Gubernatis, 
Zoological Mythology, ii. 31. But she is 
taken from him, like Urvasi from Purfl- 
ravas, and when, after grievous suffer- 
ings, she is restored to him, her hands 
have grown again as beautiful as ever. 

8 Muir, Principal Deities of R. V., 
P- 5°7- 

8 R. V. vii. 63. 


May the golden-eyed Savitri come hither. CHAP. 

"May the golden-handed, life-bestowing well-guarding fc exhila 
rating and affluent Savitri be present at the sacrifice." 

These phrases, which seem to have no reference to the later myth, 
carry us to the myth of the one-eyed Odin, who, like Savitar, is also 
Wegtam, or the wanderer, the broad heaven looking down on the 
earth with its one gleaming eye, the sun. 1 Like Indra, Varuna, and 
Vishnu, he is Skambha, the supporter. 

" Savitri has established the earth by supports ; Savitri has fixed 
the sky in unsupported space ; a he has milked the atmosphere, rest- 
less (or noisy) as a horse ; Savitri, the son of the waters, knows the 
place where the ocean, supported, issued forth." " 

Section II.— SOMA. 
The ninth book of the Rig Veda consists wholly of hymns written The phy- 

sical and 

in praise of Soma, who is lauded as the source of life and vigour, of spiritual 
mental power and bodily strength both to gods and men, the gene- Soma - 
rator or parent of Agni, Surya, Indra, and Vishnu. Of the phrases 
employed in describing the nature and functions of Soma, many 
relate exclusively to the juice of the Soma plant, and to the process 
by which that juice is converted into an intoxicating drink. These 
phrases are often curiously blended with expressions which speak of 
a god exalted higher even than Varuna or Indra, while others show 
clearly that, like almost all other names of Hindu mythology, Soma 
was a word which might be applied alike to the gladdening power of 
wine and to the life-giving force from which the sky and sun derive 
their strength and brilliancy. In the latter sense, Soma imparts to 
Indra the power which enables him to overcome Vritra, and, like 

1 H. H.Wilson, R. V. Sanhita, i. 99. power, then why may not the same 
5 Dr. Muir points out the inconsiS- power be supposed to exist in the first 
tency of this phrase with the later my- — that is, in the earth ? " Dr. Muir 
thology, which spoke of the earth as adds that AryyaBhatta, one of the most 
resting on the head of the serpent ancient of Indian scientific astronomers, 
S'esha, or on other supports, and re- even maintained that the alternation of 
marks that the Siddhantas, or scientific day and night is produced by the rota- 
astronomical works of India, maintain tion of the earth on its own axis. Sans- 
that the earth is unsupported. In these krit Texts, part iv. p. 97. It is remark- 
it is said plainly that, " if the earth were able that the Copernican system should 
supported by any material substance or thus have been anticipated in the East, 
living creature, then that would require as by Aristarchos of Samos in the West, 
a second supporter, and for that second without making any impression on the 
a third would be required. Here we thought of the age. 
have the absurdity of an interminable 3 K. V. x. 149, 1 ; Muir, Sanskrit 
series. It" the last of the series be sup- Texts, part iv. p. 97. 
posed to remain from its own inherent 


BOOK Indra, is the conqueror of demons and the destroyer of cities. All 

•— > — ^ things are in his hand, for Soma rules over gods and men, and, like 

the other deities known as Skambha, supports the heaven and earth 
in his hands. In short, there are no powers attributed to Varuna, 
Indra, or Vishnu, which are not, if it be possible, exceeded by those 
which are inherent in Soma The sun, again, is said to have the 
nature of Agni, the moon of Soma, for the simple reason that the 
moon is the queen of night, which is especially the time of moisture. 
Yet Soma is also the drink of the gods, the Olympian nectar, the 
beverage which gives immortality. Soma is Indu, the sap which 
flows from Indra — the stream which is purity itself, and the cleanser 
of all defilement. In the symbolical interpretations of later times 
Soma is a mere name, which may denote physical, moral, or spiritual 
life, a name strictly of the one everlasting God. 

" Soma purifies, [he who is] the generator of hymns, the generator 
of the sky, the generator of the earth, the generator of Agni, the 
generator of Surya, the generator of Indra, and the generator of 
Vishnu." 1 

Soma is the Beatific Vision to which the pilgrims of this earth 

"Where there is eternal light, in the world where the sun is 
placed, in that immortal imperishable world place me, O Soma. . . . 

" Where life is free, in the third heaven of heavens, where the 
worlds are radiant, there make me immortal. . . . 

" Where there is happiness and delight, where joy and pleasure 
reside, where the desires of our desire are attained, there make me 
immortal." 2 

In some hymns of the Rig Veda, all creatures are said to spring 
from the divine seed of Soma. All things are under his control, and 
he is, like Varuna and other deities, the divine sustainer (Skambha) 
of the world. He is an omniscient ocean, and his are the stars and 
the sun. He too, like Indra, is the slayer of Vritra. 

" This divine Soma, with Indra for its ally, crushed, as soon as 

1 The explanation of this verse given those solar rays whose function it is to 

in the Nirukta-parisishta shows that the appropriate ; of Indra, i.e. of those 

commentator was perfectly aware of the solar rays whose function is sovereignty ; 

real nature of the myth. " Soma," he of Vishnu, i.e. of those solar rays whose 

says, "is the generator of hymns (or function is diffusion." — Muir, Sanskrit 

thought), i.e. of those solar rays whose Texts, partiv. p. 81. In these comments 

function it is to reveal ; of the sky, i.e. all the deities disappear together, leaving 

of those solar rays whose function it is Soma as the representative of the one 

to shine ; of the earth, i.e. of those solar great Cause of all things, 

rays whose function it is to spread; of 2 R. V. ix. 113, 7; Max Miiller, 

Agni, i.e. of those solar rays whose Chips, i. 47. 
function it is to move ; of SCirya, i.e. of 


generated, Pani by force : thou, Soma, didst baffle the devices and CHAP, 
weapons of the malignant secreter of the (stolen) wealth (the cattle)." l ■ ^— - 

But at once the poet recurs to metaphors suggested by the process 
of preparing the Soma juice. 

"In the filter, which is the support of the world, thou, pure 
Soma, art purified for the gods. The Usijas first gathered thee. In 
thee all these worlds are contained." a 

" The Soma flowed into the vessel for Indra, for Vishnu ; may it 
be honied for Vayu." 8 

" Pouring forth streams, the Soma hastens to Indra, Vayu, Varuna, 
the Maruts, and to Vishnu." i 

" Indu, do thou flow sweet to Indra, to Vishnu. Preserve from 
sin the men who praise thee." 6 

"Soma, Indu, purified, thou exhilaratest Varuna, thou exhila- 
ratest Mitra, thou exhilaratest Indra, thou exhilaratest Vishnu, thou 
exhilaratest the troop of the Maruts, thou exhilaratest the gods and 
the great Indra that they may be merry." 6 

When in the later mythology, Mahadeva had thrown the older 
deities into the shade, Vishnu, Soma, and Agni became different 
parts of his bow and arrow ; " for all the world," we are told, " is 
formed of Agni and Soma, and is said to be composed of Vishnu, 
and Vishnu is the soul of Mahadeva of boundless power."' So with 
Uma, as divine knowledge, Soma, as the supreme spirit, falls into 
the ranks of correlative deities." 8 

With the change which came over later Hindu thought the Powers of 
popularity of Soma passed away ; but the hymns of the Rig Veda oma ' 
suffice to show how great a charm the Soma drink had possessed for 
the people. It was to them life in health, strength in weakness, 
medicine in sickness, the restoration of youth in old age ; and the 
vigour which it imparted to human beings was imparted with un- 
stinting lavishness to the gods. The exultation of Indra is the 

1 H. H. Wilson, R. V. S. iii. 461. Uma, see Muir, ib. p. 357, et seq. Of 

* R. V. ix. 86 ; Muir, Sanskrit genuine mythology the story of Uma, :f 
Texts, part iv. p. 99. it can be called a story, exhibits very 

3 R. V. ix. 63, 3 j Muir, Sanskrit little. It has been drawn out to suit an 

Texts, part iv. p. 80. idea, but the idea has not been suggested 

* R. V. ix. 65, 20 ; Muir, Sanskrit by the myth. " Uma is divine know- 
Texts, part iv. p. 80. ledge ; thou who existest with her, O 

5 R. V. ix. 56, 4; Muir, Sanskrit Soma, supreme spirit, &c." Hence her 

Texts, part iv. p. 80. attributes are plastic enough, and thus 

* R. V. ix. 90, 5 ; Muir, Sanskrit she becomes identified with Ambika, 
Texts, part iv. p. 80. the sister of Rudra, a being not much 

7 Muir, Sanskrit Texts, part iv. p. more clearly defined than Uma herself. 
189. Uma is also the wife of Mahadeva, * Max Miiller, Lectures on Language, 

ib. 227. For further details respecting second series, 486. 



BOOfC exultation of Polyphemos when he has drunk the wine given to him 
• by Odysseus. 


The dual- 
ism of 

of the 


A very slight acquaintance with the language of the Vedic hymns 
will suffice to show that the idea of any one deity rarely failed to 
suggest to the mind of the worshipper the idea of another god, whose 
attributes answered to, or were contrasted with, his own. The 
thought of Dyaus, the sky, was bound up with that of Prithiv!, the 
earth, who was his bride ; and their very names, blended into one 
word Dyava-prithivi, denoted their inseparable union. The idea 
of Varuna, the veiling heaven, brought up that of Mitra, the light- 
illumined sky. 

The connexion was forced upon them by the phenomena of the 
outward world. We cannot sever in our minds the thought of day 
from that of night, of morning from evening, of light from darkness ; 
and " this palpable dualism of nature " * has left its most marked 
impression on the mythology of the Veda The dawn and the 
gloaming, the summer and the winter may, it is obvious, be described 
as twins or as sisters, standing side by side or dwelling in the same 
house. Thus, not only are Dyava-prithivi, heaven and earth, de- 
scribed as twins, but Indra and Agni are spoken of in the dual as 
the two Indras, Indragni, not only ushasanakta, the dawn and the 
night, but ushasau, the two dawns," and the two Varunas. Like 
Indragni again, the twin Asvins, or horsemen, are called Vritrahana, 
destroyers of Vritra. 3 

These Asvins have been made the subject of a perhaps unneces- 
sarily lengthened controversy. Their features are not very definite, 
but in the oldest hymns they are worshipped with a peculiar rever- 
ence, as able not merely to heal sicknesses but to restore the aged 
to youth. Their relations to each other and to their worshippers 
are placed in a clearer light by a reference to Greek mythical phrase- 
ology. Speaking of these beings, the commentator Yaska says that 
their sphere is the heaven, and remarks that some regard them as 
heaven and earth, as day and night, or as sun and moon, while they 
who anticipated the method of Euemeros affirmed that they were 

1 Max Muller, Lectures on Language, 
second series, 486. 

* 7,5.487,495. 

* This dualism seems to reach its 
acme in the phrase which speaks of 
Osiris as "the Lion of the double lions." 
•" These two lions, two brothers, the 

two lion-gods, are two solar phases, as 
diurnal and nocturnal, Har and Let, 
Shu and Tafnut ; and as there is but one 
solar orb, so he is ' the Lion of the 
double lions.'" — Brown, The Unicotn, 


two deified kings. But when he adds that their time is after mid- CHAP. 

night, whilst the break of day is yet delayed, all room for doubt • '■ — - 

seems taken away. 1 The two Ahans, or Dawns, Day and Night, are 
born, it is said, when the Asvins yoke their horses to their car. The 
twins are born " when the Night leaves her sister, the Dawn, when 
the dark one gives way to the bright" After them comes Ushas, 
the Greek Eos, who is followed first by Surya, a feminine, or sister 
of Surya, the sun, then by Vrishakapayi, then by Saranyu, 2 and lastly by 
Savitar. They are ihehajate, born here and there, either as appearing 
in the East and in the West, or as springing up on the earth and in 
the air ; and this epithet may explain the alternate manifestations of 
the Dioskouroi, who stand to Helen in the same relation which the 
Asvins bear to Sarama or Ushas. 

The Asvins are thus the conquerors of darkness, the lords of Parentage 
light : ever youthful, swift as thought, and possessed, like Indra, ^J^ 
Agni, and Phoibos, of a profound wisdom. If the poet needs to 
give them a father, he must assign them a parent in the clear heaven, 
or say that they are the children of Prajapati, Tvashtar, or Savitar, 
names for the Creator. Their mother must be the East or West, 
from which they spring, regarded not as a place, but as the being who 
imparts to them their mysterious life. 3 As ushering in the healthful 
light of the sun, they are, like Asklepios and his children, healers 
and physicians, and their power of restoring the aged to youth re- 
appears in Medeia, the daughter of the Sun. They are adored at 
morning and evening tide as Rudrau, the terrible lords of wealth, and 
are thus identified or connected with another deity who became of 
supreme importance in the later Hindu mythology. 4 Like the Kou- 
rStes and Telchines, like Proteus, Thetis, and the other fish-gods, 
they have the power of changing their shape at will. 

" The twin pair adopt various forms ; one of them shines brightly, 
the other is black; twin sisters are they, the one black, the other 
white," 6 — phrases which bring before us the rivalry not only of the 
Dioskouroi, but of the Theban Eteokles and Polyneikes, and perhaps 
the black and white eagles in the Agamemnon of ^schylos. 6 Like 
Phoibos the healer, and like Asklepios and his sons Podaleirios and 
MacMon, the Asvins are "physicians conversant with all medica- 
ments." 7 In the Norse tale of Dapplegrim we have the Asvins in 
their original form as horses ; for when the lad, who, having won on 

1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, i. 314. * Muir, Sanskrit Texts, part iv. ch. 

* Max MUller, Lectures on Language, iii. sect. I, p. 265. 

second series, 498. 5 H. H. Wilson, R. V. S. iii. 97. 

* lb. 492. ' ' tt. 103. » lb. 101. 


BOOK his wonderful steed the victories of Indra, Herakles, and Bellerophon, 
- IL ■ i s told that he must produce its match or die, complains to the 
horse that the task is not easy, "for your match is not to be found 
in the wide world," the steed replies that he has a match, although 
it is hard to get at him, for he abides in HelL 
TheTwins. In Indra and in Agni, Mitra and Varuna, and in the Asvins we 
have three sets of twins, Yaman, Gemini, each being spoken of as 
Yama or Yami, the twin brother or the twin sister. These Yaman 
are the children of Vivasvat, who is wedded both to the morning 
and to the evening ; and their sister, the night, prays her brother to 
become her husband. In this Yama we have probably the Hindu 
god of the dead, whose two dogs with four eyes and wide nostrils 
go about among men as his messengers. As both are children of 
Vivasvat, Professor Max Miiller thinks it unnecessary to assume 
that two Vivasvats were each the father of Yama. The twin who 
represented the evening would naturally become the lord or judge 
or guide of the departed. As from the East came all life, so in the 
West lay the land of the dead, the Elysian fields, the region of 
Sutala; and thither the sun hastens as he sinks down from the 
heights of heaven. Thus " Yama is said to have crossed the rapid 
waters,, to have shown the way to many, to have first known the path 
on which our fathers crossed over " ; x and the gulf is not wide which 
separates the functions of the Psychopompos from those of Hades, 
Like Varuna, Yama has his nooses, and he sends a bird as a token 
to those who are about to die. But although a darker side is not 
wanting to his character, Yama remains in the Veda chiefly the god 
of the blessed in the paradise where he dwells with Varuna. This 
Yama reappears in the Yima of the Avesta, his father Vivasvat being 
reproduced as Vivanghvat ; 2 and in Yima we have an embodiment 
of the Hesiodic golden age free from heat and cold, from sickness 
and death, an image of the happy region to which Krishna consigns 
his conquered enemy. In a grotesque myth of the later Yamen, 
the death of men in youth as well as in old age is accounted for by 
a mistake made by the herald of Yamen after the latter had been 
restored to life by Siva who had put him to death. While Yamen 
lay dead, mankind multiplied so that the earth could scarcely contain 
them. Yamen on returning to life sent his herald to summon at 
once all the old men, for none others had ever been called away 
before. The herald, getting drunk, proclaimed instead that hence- 

1 Max Miiller, Lectures, second 2 Max Miiller, Lectures, second 

series, 515 ; Muir, Principal Deities of series, 522. 
K- V- 575- 


forth all leaves, fruits, and flowers, should fall to the ground, and chap. 

thus men of all ages began to yield to the power of death.. ■ — - 

The connexion of Soma with Uma has been already noticed. Soma and 
Another couplet of deities is found in Soma and Surya, the daughter Sflrya " 
of Surya the Sun ; and here the twin Asvins stand by the side of 
Soma as the friends of the bridegroom. A later version, which says 
that, although Savitar had destined his daughter Surya to be the wife 
of Soma, she was nevertheless won by the Asvins, 1 repeats the story 
of Pelops and Hippodameia, which represents the maiden as be- 
coming the prize of the hero who can overtake her in a foot race. So 
again Arjuna, the Argennos of the myth of Agamemnon, stands to 
Krishna, who is represented as declaring him to be his own half, in 
that dual relation which links Phaethon with Helios, Patroklos with 
Achilleus, Theseus with Peirithoos, Telemachos with Odysseus, and 
which is seen again in the stories of Pelias and Neleus, Romulus and 
Remus, Prometheus and Epimetheus, Hengest and Horsa, and in the 
Teutonic tales of the Two Brothers and of the Faithful John who 
guards his prince as carefully as the Luxman of Hindu folk-lore 
guards Rama. This dualism we find again in the Hellenic Eros and 
Anteros, and still more plainly in the myth of Hermaphrodites. 3 The 
tale which describes Arjuna as receiving from Mahadeva the Pasupata 
(or sceptre which guides the cows) under a strict charge not to use it 
rashly as it might destroy the whole world, 8 carries us to the ill-omened 
gifts which brought destruction to Phaethon and Patroklos. In the 
same way Rama is linked with his brother Laxmana, and one myth 
which regards Rama as a mortal hero speaks of both as wounded and 
rendered senseless by a cloud of serpents transformed into arrows. 4 

Section IV.— THE DAWN. 

To the poets of all ages and countries the phenomena of morning The lonely 
and evening are full of pathos and sadness. The course of the day wanderer - 
itself is but brief, and the career of the bright being who bears it 
across the heaven may be little more than a series of struggles with 
the vapours which strive to dim his splendours. All his life long 
he must toil for the benefit of the mean thing called man, and look 

1 Muir, Contributions to a Knowledge rejects her love, until the nymph lays 

of Vedic Theogony, 3. hands on him as Aphrodite does on 

* This story is after all only a coun- Adonis, 
terpart of the legends of Echo and 3 Muir, Sanskrit Texts, iv. 196, 225. 

Selene 1 , whose part is here played by the * lb. 384. The modern version of 

nymph of the well, Salmakis. Like the story has been already given, book i. 

Endymion and Narkissos, the youth ch. viii. 




on clear streams and luscious fruits without daring to quench his 
■thirst or appease his, hunger. He may be armed - with invincible 
weapons ; he may be the conqueror of all his enemies : but the doom 
is upon him ; he must die in the flower of his age. Still there is for 
him a grief yet more bitter than this. Throughout almost the whole of 
his long journey he must go alone. The beautiful being who cheered 
him when his heart beat high and his limbs were fresh was parted 
from him almost as soon as he had found her, and there remains of 
her grace and loveliness only a consoling memory. He has hard toils 
before him, and there are grievous perils to be encountered Still for 
him, as for the sons of men, 

'Tis better to have loved and lost, 
Than never to have loved at all. 

ment of 
the myth. 

But although he cannot go back to the bright land where he saw his 
early love, she may yet be restored to him when the hour of his death 
has come. The sight of that beautiful form, the tender glance of 
that loving countenance, will be more than a compensation for his 
long toil and his early death. He will die looking on her face. But 
in the meanwhile his heart is filled with an irrepressible yearning. He 
must hasten on until his eye has seen its desire, even though the 
shadow of death must immediately fall upon him. He may have 
been early severed from her; but she is his bride, pure and incor- 
ruptible, though the mightiest of the land seek to taint her faith and 
lead her aside into a new love. Her dwelling is his home, and to it 
he must hasten across the blue seas of heaven, although monsters 
may seek to scare him and beautiful beings may beseech him to tarry 
awhile with them in their luxurious chambers. 

Under this thin disguise we see at once the story of Odysseus and 
Penelope 1 ; but this is, after all, one only of almost a thousand forms 
which the legends of Phoibos and Dionysos, of Perseus and Bellero- 
phontes, may assume. The doom of the Dawn is as woful as that 
of the Sun who has loved her. The glance of both is fatal. The Sun 
looks upon the tender dew, and under his rays the sparkling drops 
vanish away. The evening turns to gaze upon the setting sun, and 
the being on whom her life depends is snatched from her sight. 
They can remain together only on the condition that the one shall 
not see the form and face of the other ; and so when, after the rising 
of the sun, the violet hues of morning faded from the sky, the 
phrase would run that Indra, or Phoibos, or Orpheus had fixed their 
eyes on Dahana, or Daphnd, or Eurydike, and their love had passed 
away from them like the fleeting colours of a dream. But the myth 



itself might be developed in many ways. The disappearance or death CHAP. 

of Daphne, or Prokris, or Arethousa would mark the moment of the : — 

great catastrophe; but the disaster was only the interruption of a 
union which had been continued during the long hours of the night, 
and at once we have in this fact the suggestion of disguise. If the 
being whose glance scorched even the object of his love could keep 
her near him without doing her hurt, this could only be because he had 
shrouded his splendour in darkness, or because he had assumed some 
other form. Either he might hide his limbs behind the skin of a lion, 
as in Greek stories, or of a fox or a jackal in Hindu folk-lore, or he 
might himself assume their form. Such an idea would prompt the 
tale that the beautiful Dawn had been given by her father in marriage 
to a hideous monster ; or that she, the youngest and loveliest of his 
daughters, had been frightened by her gloomy sisters, the earlier 
hours of the night, into the belief that she was wedded to a loathsome 
being. The natural growth of the story would frame the more minute 
details, that before this terrible union the mother of the Dawn was 
dead ; that the beautiful maiden was sacrificed by a new bride, who 
took part with her elder sisters ; and that, as she sought to verify their 
words, she discovered the beauty and majesty of her husband only to 
see it vanish from her sight. Then over the heart of the forsaken 
Dawn would come that irrepressible yearning which filled the soul of 
Odysseus. For her life would now have nothing worth living for but. 
the hope that one day she should be reunited to him whom she had. 
lost ; and until she should so recover him, she could know no rest or 
peace. She must follow him through all lands, she must seek him, 
at all costs and at every sacrifice. To the uttermost bounds of 
the earth, and far beyond the clouds which veil the distant moun- 
tains, beyond the mists which brood on the restless sea, she must 
journey on, buoyed up by the ever undying longing to see his face 
once more. There are fearful dangers to be encountered and over- 
coma She is surrounded by awful shapes, who blot out all bright- 
ness from the sky ; but the powers of light are on her side. The 
beautiful clouds which sail on the pure ether will bear her up above 
the murky vapours, and carry her, as on swan's wings, across the 
mysterious vaults of heaven. Her heart is full of sadness ; but the 
tenderness of her beauty is not lessened, and as she moves on her 
weary way, helpless creatures feel her kindness, and declare that their 
gratitude shall not end in words. She may be doomed to scale a 
mountain of ice, or to remove heaps of enormous stones ; but the winds 
are content to be her ministers, and their warm breath melts the ice,, 
and drives away the massy storm-clouds. Still the malignant in- 




The story 
of Urvasi. 

fluence of one powerful enemy rests upon her, the influence of that 
- witching sorceress who seeks to win for herself the love which 
Odysseus bears to Penelope. But the tasks imposed upon her by 
her unpitying rival are at last accomplished ; and as the clouds break 
away from the heaven, the Dawn, or the Eos, who closes the day in 
our Homeric poems, sees before her the form of him whom she has 
sought with undaunted and untiring devotion. 

In these simple phrases relating to a drama acted before us every 
day, we have the framework of a vast number of stories, some of 
which have furnished subjects for epic poems, while others have 
assumed strange and grotesque forms in the homely lore of popular 
tradition. One of the simplest versions of the myth is found in the 
story of Urvasi, 1 although even here the artificial influence of a 
growing ceremonial system is manifest. The personification of Urvasi 
herself is as thin as that of Eos or SelenS. Her name is often found 
in the Veda as a mere name for the morning, and in the plural 
number it is used to denote the dawns which passing over men bring 
them to old age and death. Urvasi is the bright flush of light over- 
spreading the heaven before the sun rises, and is but another form of 
the many mythical beings of Greek mythology whose names take us 
back to the same idea or the same root. As the dawn in the Vedic 
hymns is called Uriiki, the far-going (Telephassa, Telephos), so is she 
also Uruasi, the wide-existing or wide-spreading ; as are Europe, 
Euryanassa, Euryphassa, and many more of the sisters of Athene and 
Aphrodite\ As such she is the mother of Vasishtha, the bright being, 
as Oidipous is the son of Iokaste ; and although Vasishtha, like 
Oidipous, has become a mortal bard or sage, he is still the son of 
Mitra and Varuna, of night and day. Her lover, Pururavas, is the 
counterpart of the Hellenic Polydeukes ; a but the continuance of her 
union with him depends on the condition that she never sees him 
unclothed. But the Gandharvas, impatient of her long sojourn 
among mortal men, resolved to bring her back to their bright home ; 
and Pururavas is thus led unwittingly to disregard her warning. A ewe 
with two lambs was tied to her couch, and the Gandharvas stole one 
of them. " Urvasi said, ' They take away my darling, as if I lived in 
a land where there is no hero and no man.' They stole the second, 
and she upbraided. her husband again. Then Pururavas looked and 

1 Max Miiller, Chips, Gfc, ii. 99, et 

2 " Though rava is generally used 
of sound, yet the root rn, which means 
originally to cry, is also applied to 
colour in the sense of a loud or crying 
colour. Besides, Pururavas calls him- 

self Vasishtha, which, as we know, is 
a name of the sun ; and if he is called 
Aii/a, the son of Ida, the same name is 
elsewhere [X. V. iii. 29, 3) given to 
Agni, the Fire." — Max Miiller, ib. 101. 
This son of Ida reappears perhaps as 
Idas, the father of Kleopatra. 


said, ' How can that be a land without heroes or men where I am ? ' CHAP. 

• n 
And naked he sprang up ; he thought it was too long to put on his ■ '■ — 

dress. Then the Gandharvas sent a flash of lightning, and Urvasi saw 

her husband naked as by daylight. Then she vanished. 1 ' I come 

back,' she said, and went. Then he bewailed his vanished love in bitter 

grief." Her promise to return was fulfilled, but for a moment only, 

at the Lotos-lake, and Pururavas in vain beseeches her to tarry longer. 

" What shall I do with thy speech ? " is the answer of Urvasi. " I am 

gone like the first of the dawns. Pururavas, go home again. I am 

hard to be caught like the winds." Her lover is in utter despair; 

but when he lies down to die, the heart of Urvasi was melted, and she 

bids him come to her on the last night of the year. For that night 

only he might be with her ; but a son should be born to him. 2 On 

that day he went up to the golden seats, and there Urvasi told him 

that the Gandharvas would grant him one wish, and that he must 

make his choice. " Choose thou for me," he said ; and she answered, 

"Say to them, Let me be one of you." So the Gandharvas initiated 

Pururavas into their mysteries, and he became one of the Gandharvas. 

In the story thus related in the Brahmana of the Yagur-Veda we Germs of 

have a maiden wedded to a being on whose form her eyes may not ofVene^ 

rest, although she dwells in his house , and the terms of the compact lo P & 

are broken practically by herself, for although it is Pururavas who 

springs up, still it is Urvasi who provokes him to do so. Finally, 

she is impelled so to tempt him by beings who wish to obtain her 

treasures ; and thus the element of jealousy enters into the legend. 

These leading ideas, of a broken pledge or violated secret, of beings 

jealous of her purity and happiness, and of immediate separation to 

be followed by reunion in the end, furnish the groundwork of a large 

group of stories belonging chiefly to the common lore of the people. 

They resolve themselves into the yet more simple notion of brief 

union broken by an early parting and a long absence, and this notion 

1 Compare the story of Ivan and " Go and be happy with the prince, my 
his frog-bride. — Gubernatis, Zoological friend : 

Mythology, ii. 377. But when he views the son that thou 

2 This child may be the first sun of shalt bear him, 

the new year ; but whether the myth be. Then hitherward direct thy prompt 
taken of that or any other sunrise, it return. 

is equally true that the mother must The fated term expires, and to con- 
vanish soon after her child has been sole 

born. Hence in the play of Kalidasa, His father for my loss, he is restored, 

after Urvas! has been reunited to her I may no longer tarry." 
lover, she tells him, 

When^your love I gladly left the f^^*™***?^ 

Of heaven, the monarch thus declared lo Sy>" C/ ">' "■ ,2(5 - 
his will, 


BOOK is the germ of the Odyssey. In the very spring-time of their joy the 

?i — ■ chieftain of Ithaka is parted from his bride. While he is away, she 

has to undergo hard trial at the hands of men who seek rather her 
riches than herself; and even when the twenty years are over, and 
Odysseus sees Penelope 1 once more, the poet still speaks of a time 
soon coming when they must again be parted. Here also the myth 
of Pururavas is in close agreement with that of Odysseus, for he too 
must be again parted from his love. She who, ever young, yet 
making men old, knows neither age nor change, cannot avert the 
doom which falls alike on Phaethon, Memnon, and Sarpedon, on 
Achilleus, Baldur, and Sigurd. But all have the same work to do; 
and if the dawn cannot save them from death, she can restore them 
to life, and thus through her they become immortal Thus Puru- 
ravas, who was created especially to do battle with and to conquer 
the powers of darkness, addresses Urvasi as the immortal among 
the mortals ; and says of himself that he, as the brightest sun, holds 
her who spreads the sky and fills the air with light. The very rite 
for the sake of which the Brahmans converted the simple myth into 
an institutional legend points to the true nature of Pururavas. He 
can become immortal only by devising the mode of kindling fire 
by friction ; and thus like Bhuranyu and Phoroneus, Hermes and 
Prometheus, he falls into the ranks of those who are the first to 
bestow the boon of fire on man. Nor is it without significance that 
in the play of Kalidasa PurQravas, when first he rescues Urvasi from 
the beings who have carried her away, has already a wife, who, seeing 
her husband wasting away with love for another, makes a vow to 
treat with kindness the object of his love, whoever she may be. 
Pururavas has not indeed for his first wife the love which Kephalos 
is said to bear to Prokris ; but here Urvasi, who hesitates not to take 
her rival's place, is so far the exact counterpart of Eos, while in the 
first wife we have all the self-devotion which marks the beautiful 
daughter of Herse. 
The Dawn In most of these legends the meeting and the severance of these 
Waters. lovers take place by the side of the stream or the water from which 
Aphrodite" rises, and in which the nymphs bathe the newly-born 
Apollon. It is on the river's bank that Eurydike is bitten by the 
fatal snake, and Orpheus is doomed to the same weary search as 
Pururavas, for the love which has been lost On the heights which 
overhang Peneios, Phoibos sees and chases the beautiful Daphng, 
and into the blue stream the maiden plunges when she almost feels 
the breath of her pursuer. So again Arethousa commits herself to 
the waters as she flies from the huntsman Alpheios, who wins her 



love only when they meet again upon the shoie of Ortygia, the dawn- 
land. The Greek river is but the Teutonic Elbe, the runfcing stream, • 
and in the huntsman of Mainalos we see only an image of the sun 
as he rests on the waters in the morning or the evening, in other 
words, the Frog-prince of the German legend. 1 In the Sanskrit story 
Bheki, the frog, is a maiden who consents to marry a king on con- 
dition that he never shows her a drop of water. "One day being 
tired, she asked the king for water ; the king forgot his promise, 
brought water, and Bheki disappeared." a As in the story of Urvasi 
the husband is the actual delinquent, but he is hurried into the fatal 
act by the words of his wife. If instead of the promise not to show 
her water we substitute a pledge that the lover shall not look upon 



1 In the mythology of Assyria, 
BhekS, or the frog-sun, is represented by 
the fish-sun, who, as Berosus says, rose 
up from the sea each morning, and 
plunged into it every evening. Mr. 
Gould remarks {Curious Myths, second 
series, 231) that "his semipiscine form 
was an expression of the idea, that half 
his time was spent above ground, and 
half below the waves. " This fish-god 
is, like the Aryan Proteus, or Helios, 
the possessor of a mysterious wisdom of 
which, under certain conditions, he will 
make human beings partakers. As 
Oannes, or Dag-on, the fish On, he is 
the great teacher of the Babylonians, 
and his name is seen in the Hebrew 
Bethaon (Bethaven), which is translated 
by Bethshemesh, the house of the Sun. 
He is horned, as Mr. Gould remarks, 
like all other sun and moon deities, the 
moon goddess of the Syrians "being 
Derketo, Atergatis, the mother of 
Semiramis, in whose story again we 
have the elements of many Aryan myths. 
Like Cyrus and Romulus, Semiramis 
is brought up by a shepherd, and her 
beauty attracts the attention of a 
general, whose name is, of course, 
Onnes. But she is wooed also by 
Ninos, and thereupon Onnes slays him- 
self. After a life full of marvels she 
wings her way to heaven in the form 
of a dove, as Romulus vanishes in the 
storm-cloud, and Aineias disappears in 
the waters of the Numician stream. 

2 Max Miiller, Chips, ii. 248. This 
is the germ of the beautiful story of 
Undine, as told by Fouque. She, like 
Daphng, is the daughter of the stream ; 
and the condition imposed upon her 
husband is, that he is never to speak 
angrily to her when on or near any 
water. " If you should, my kinsfolk 

would regain their right over me. They 
would tear me from you in their fury, 
because they would conceive that one of 
their race was injured ; and I should be 
compelled, as long as I lived, to dwell 
below in the crystal palaces and never 
dare ascend to you again ; or should 
they send me up to you, that would be 
far worse still. If he is false to her, 
she can reappear only to kiss him to 
death. Selene can look upon Endymi6n 
only when he is just plunging into his 
dreamless sleep. The tale so exquisitely 
told by Fouque was derived by him from 
the Treatise of Elemental Spirits by 
Theophrastus Paracelsus. The leading 
feature of his story is the acquisition of 
a human soul by Undine on her marriage 
with the knight Huldbrand. Mr. Gould 
cites a Canadian story of an Ottawa 
chief, who, whilst sitting by the water- 
side, sees arising from the flood a beauti- 
ful woman, who prays him to suffer her 
to live on earth, as she sought to win a 
human soul, and could do this only by 
marriage with a mortal. ' ' He consented 
and took her to his own house, where 
she was to him as a daughter. Seven 
years after, an Andirondak youth be- 
held and loved her. He took her to 
wife, and she obtained that which she 
had desired, a human soul." — Curious 
Myths, second series, 238. It is possible 
that this story may be an importation 
from Europe ; but we may ask for some 
conclusive evidence of the fact, when we 
find the legend of Pandora's box among 
the Indians of Labrador. Jesuit mis- 
sionaries may have imparted much to 
their converts, but it is not likely that 
they instructed their hearers in the 
mythical fancies of pagan Greeks. — 
Hinds, Explorations in Labrador, i. 61. 




Er6s and 

his bride while she is bathing, the myth remains essentially the same ; 
■ and in this form we see at once the germ of the story of Melusina, 
who is found by Count Raymund, as Daphne is found by Apollon, 
near running water, and who, like Bheki or Urvasi, readily consents 
to marry her human lover on the condition that he shall never 
attempt to see her on one day of each week. When at length the 
promise is broken, Raymund sees his beautiful wife in the water, the 
lower portion of her body being now in the form of a fish. But 
Melusina did not know that her husband had thus seen her, and, as 
in Fouque"'s story of Undine, the catastrophe comes only when 
Raymund calls her a serpent and bids her depart from his house. 1 

The idea, common to all these tales, of beings who though united 
in the closest love may not look upon each other, is but little 
modified in the story of Eros and Psyche. The version given by 
Appuleius is commonly spoken of as an allegory. It deserves the 
name as much and as little as the Odyssey. Here, as in the tales 
already referred to, no liquid must come near the mysterious being 
to whom the love of the mortal husband or wife is given. The old 
phrase that the sun must die at the sight of water, 2 has retained its 
hold on the story-tellers of all the Aryan nations ; but the version of 
Appuleius assigns reasons where the earlier Sanskrit myth is content 
to relate incidents. If like Urvasi Psyche brings about her own 
punishment, she does so because she is under a doom laid on her by 
Venus. But Venus is Aphrodite Anadyomene, the mother, the wife, 
or the child of the sun ; and the notion that the love of the sun for 

1 For other versions and variations 
of this story see Gould, Curious Myths, 
" Melusina." The same myth is intro- 
duced by Sir Walter Scott in his ro- 
mance of Anne of Geierslcin (ch. xi. ), 
whose mother's life depends on a bril- 
liant opal which must not be touched 
with water. This gem, like many 
others, is sympathetic. It is, in short, 
the fatal brand of Meleagros. See also 
Scott, Border Minstrelsy, introduction 
to Ballad of Tamlane. 

The idea of ugliness or unseemliness 
would naturally come to be connected 
with Bheki or the Frog. Hence the 
king's daughter in the German story of 
the Frog Prince shows no special fancy 
for the little creature which brings up 
for her the golden ball (the sun's orb) 
from the bottom of the well. The ugli- 
ness of Bheki serves to give point to the' 
beautiful Gaelic legend of Nighean Righ 
Fo Thuinn, Campbell, Tales of the West 
Highlands, iii. 404. The maiden (Aph- 

rodite) is not, indeed, here described as 
a frog; but she is a "strange-looking 
ugly creature " with her hair down to 
her heels, who in vain entreats Fionn 
and Oisean (Finn and Ossian) to let 
her come to their fire. Diarmaid, who 
scruples not to say how hideous he 
thinks her, is more merciful ; but the 
Loathly Lady (for it is the same myth) 
becomes as exacting as the little Frog 
in Grimm's story. She has not been 
long at the fire when she insists on 
coming under Diarmaid's plaid. He 
turns a fold of it between them ; and 
presently he finds by his side "the most 
beautiful woman that man ever saw." 
She is the Dawn-maiden, and she raises 
for his dwelling that palace of the sun 
which the Arabian story-teller delights 
to describe in the tale of Allah-ud-deen. 
The same being appears as the "foul 
wight " in Chaucer s tale of the Wife of 
Bath, Keightley, Fairy Mythology, 323. 
2 Max Mtiller, Chip, ii. 248. 

er6s and psyche. 217 

another must excite her jealousy and anger was one which must chap. 

sooner or later be imported into the myth. With its introfluction the 
framework of the story was completed; and so the tale ran that 
Venus charged her son to fill Psyche with the madness which made 
Titania fall in love with the enchanted Bottom. But Psyche, the 
dawn with its soft breath, is so beautiful that Eros (Amor, Cupido) 
falls in love with her himself, and taking her to a secret cave (the 
cave of Dikte or of Lyktos), visits her as Pururavas comes to Urvasi. 
Stirred up by Venus, her sisters tell Psyche that she is wedded to a 
hideous monster, and at length her curiosity is so roused that, taking 
a lamp, she gazes upon her lover and beholds before her the per- 
fection of beauty. But a drop of oil falls from her lamp on the 
sleeping god, and the brief happiness" of Psyche is ended. She is 
left desolate like Pururavas, and like him she must go in search of 
her lost love. Eos has looked on Helios, and he has plunged 
beneath the sea. If she seek him, it must be through the weary 
hours of the night, amidst many perils and at the cost of vast labour. 
In every temple Psyche looks for her lover until at last she reaches 
the dwelling of Venus, under whose spell he lies like Odysseus in the 
home of Kirke or Kalypso. At her bidding she accomplishes some 
hard and degrading tasks, under which she must have died but for 
the love of Eros, who, though invisible, still consoled and cheered 
her. By his aid she at last made her peace with Venus, and becom- 
ing immortal, was united with her lover for ever. Of all these 
incidents not one has been invented by Appuleius ; and all that can 
be said is that he has weakened rather than strengthened the beauty 
of the myth by adapting it to the taste of a thoroughly artificial age. 
Having taken up a story which had not yet been brought within the 
charmed circle of epic or lyric poetry, he has received credit for an 
originality to which the familiar tale of Beauty and the Beast, with 
which it is substantially identical, may lay an equal claim. 1 

1 In Hindu folk-lore this is the story The hypothesis is scarcely necessary, 

of Gandharba-sena. Of this being Cap- unless it is to be maintained that the 

tain Burton (Tales of Indian Devilry, whole folk-lore of Greece, Germany, 

preface xiii.) says that he "is a quasi- Scandinavia, and other countries has 

historical personage who lived a century been bodily imported from India. The 

preceding the Christian era." Even story of Gandharba-sena is, however, 

granting the fact, we have here only a the story of Midas, of the Irish Lavra 

name belonging to the same class with Loingsech, and of the Little Ass in 

Roland, Arthur, Dietrich of Bern, or Grimm's collection ; and it may be 

others for whom an historical existence noted that the being transformed into 

has been claimed. The name clearly an ass in the romance of Appuleius is 

suggests a comparison with Gandharva Lucius of Corinth (Phoibos Lykeios). 

Pururavas. The story of Gandharba- The story of Psyche is also told in the 

sena Captain Burton regards as the ori- Gaelic Tale of the Daughter of the 

ginal of the Golden Ass of Appuleius. Skies. 



The idea which underlies these tales runs through a large class of 
legends, which carry us into almost every Aryan land and make the 
hypothesis of conscious borrowing or importation as perilous as we 
have seen it to be in the story of the Master Thief. In almost all 
these legends the youngest and most beautiful of three (sometimes 
of twelve) daughters is married or given up to some unsightly being 
or monster, or to some one whom she is led to suppose hideous or 
repulsive. In some instances, as in the common English nursery 
tale, the enchantment is ended when the maiden confesses her love 
for the disguised being in his unsightly shape : l in the version which 
Appuleius followed, the maiden has a lover who is marvellously 
beautiful, but whose beauty she has never seen. In all cases, how- 
ever, there are jealous sisters or a jealous mother who insist that the 
lover is hideous, and incite her to look upon him while he is asleep. 
Thus goaded on, she disregards the warnings in each case given that 
such curiosity cannot be indulged without causing grievous disaster, 
and in each case the sleeping lover is awakened by a drop of oil or 
tallow from the torch or lamp in the maiden's hand, and instantly 
vanishes or is transformed, generally into a bird which tells her that 
she must wander in search of him through many weary years, and do 
the bidding of some harsh mistress into whose power her fatal curi- 
osity has brought her. In some versions, as in that of Appuleius, 
this mistress is the mother of the lost lover. 2 Then follow the years 
of wandering and toil, which can be brought to an end only by the 
achievement of tasks, generally three in number, each utterly beyond 
human powers. In these tasks the maiden is aided by brute creatures 
whom she has befriended in their moment of need, and who perform 
for her that which she could not possibly accomplish herself. The 
completion of the ordeal is followed by the happy union of the 
maiden with her lover. 
The Search It is scarcely necessary to say that there is perhaps no one feature 
for'the 3 "" m these stories which does not reappear in the tales told of Boots, or 
Dawn. the youngest son, in his search for the enchanted princess who has 

1 The converse of this incident is are seen again in the story of Hansel 
found in the legend of the Loathly Lady. and Grethel. These two come in the 
See also Fouque's Sintram. end to a pond (Hellespontos) ; but the 

2 In Grimm's Story of the Twelve maiden who represents Helle is more 
Brothers she is the mother of the king fortunate than the daughter of Athamas. 
who marries the dawn-maiden, i.e. she In the Gaelic story of The Chest, Camp- 
is Venus. She reappears as his second bell, ii. 4, she disguises herself as a 
wife in the tales of The Little Brother gillie in order to search for her lost 
and Sister, of the Six Swans, who fly lover. This story contains also the 
away like the children of Nephele, and myth of the judgment of Portia in the 
of Little Snow White. The Little Merchant of Venice, ib. 6,13. 
Brother and Sister (Phrixos and Helle) 


been torn away from him, or whom after a long toil he is to win as CHAP, 
his bride. It could not be otherwise, 'when the stories tvfrn in the — — : — • 
one case on the search of the dawn for the sun, in the other on 
the search of the sun for the dawn. As we might expect in popular 
tales, the images drawn from myths of the day and night are mingled 
with notions supplied by myths of summer and winter. The search 
is always in comparative gloom or in darkness. 1 Either it is Odysseus 
journeying homeward among grievous perils, clad in beggar's raiment, 
or it is Orpheus seeking Eurydike in the awful regions of Hades. 
The toil or the battle which precedes the victory is common to all 
the traditions, whether epical or popular ; but in the wildest forms of 
Aryan folk-lore the machinery of the most complicated tales can be 
broken up into its original parts. In northern countries especially, 
the powers of frost, snow, and cold, must be conquered before Phoibos 
can really win Daphne, or Psyche recover Eros. Hence there are 
mountains of glass (glaciers) to be scaled, huge castles of ice to be 
thrown down, or myriads of icebergs or boulders to be removed. In 
these tasks the youth or the maiden is aided by bears, wolves, or 
foxes, by ducks, swans, eagles, or by ants, the Myrmidons of 
Achilleus ; but all these are names under which the old mythical 
language spoke of the clouds or the winds, or of the light which 
conquers the darkness. The bear appears in the myth of the seven 
shiners as well as in that of Arkas and Kallisto, the wolf in the stories 
of Phoibos Lykeios, of Lykaon, and the Myrmidons. The clouds 
assume the forms of eagles and swans alike in Eastern or Western 
traditions. The eagles bear Surya Bai on their wings through the 
heaven, and the swans, or white cirri clouds, are seen in all the 
stories which tell of Swan maidens and the knights who woo and win 
them. These creatures, who are as devoted to the youth or the 
maiden as the Myrmidons are to Achilleus, speedily remove the 
mighty heaps of grain, stones, or ice, and leave the battle-ground 
clear for their joyous meeting. In the German story of the White 
Snake, the flesh of which, like the serpents of Iamos and- the heart 
of Hogni in the Volsung tale, imparts to him who eats it a knowledge 
of the language of birds, the labour falls on the lover, while the 

1 This search is well described in to the maiden whom he rescues in the 

the Caelic story of Nighean Righ Fo Realm Underwaves (where Herakles 

Thuinn, where the hero Diarmaid loses regains Alkestis), and thus he leaves 

his wife, as Raymund of Toulouse is her to go to his own home. After all it 

separated from Melusina, because he is but Orpheus, who here abandons 

breaks the compact made with her. Eurydike 1 , instead of Eurydike fading 

The search goes as in the other stories, from the eyes of Orpheus. The one 

but an odd turn is given to it at the myth is as forcible and true as the other, 

end by making Diarmaid take a dislike — Campbell, iii. 419. 


BOOK maiden plays the part of Aphrodite' in the legend of Psyche; The 

■ ^ — • animals here befriended by the trusty servant, who is Eros, or Boots, 

or Odysseus, or a thousand others, are fishes, ants, and ravens — 
names which carry us to the fish or frog sun, to the Myrmidons and 
the clouds ; and the tasks are the recovery of a ring, 1 the picking-up 
of some bags of millet seed, and the finding of the apple of life (the 
sun's orb). The first is accomplished by the fishes, one of which, as 
in the story of Polykrates, brings the ring in its mouth, the second 
by the ants, and the third by the ravens. 
Origin of That these tales, of which the most familiar type for English chil- 

myths. dren is that of Beauty and the Beast, have been borrowed directly 
from the apologue of Appuleius, no one probably will venture to 
maintain. With as little likelihood can it be said that they were 
suggested by the Vedic myth of Urvasi and Pururavas. Their 
relationship to the latter is precisely that of the Latin and Greek 
dialects to the ancient Sanskrit ; and thus they must be placed in 
the class of organic myths. They spring up on all soils from the seed 
which the Aryan tribes carried away with them when they left their 
common home, and every variation may therefore be noted as ex- 
hibiting the power of growth inherent in the old mythical ideas. In 
few cases is there even a plausible ground for saying that any one 
tale is copied or consciously adopted from another ; in none is there 
any necessity for the assumption. The Teutonic nurse was as little 
conscious that the Frog Prince and Boots were one and the same 
person, as the grandams of the Punjab were that Bheki was but 
another form of Urvasi. As an example of the measure in which the 
myth, retaining still the essential idea, may become modified, we 
may take the tale of the Soaring Lark. 2 . In this story, the maiden 
knows that the being who, like Herakles with the lion's skin on his 
back, is during the day a lion is at night a man, but no ray of light 
must fall upon him while he is in his human shape. At her entreaty, 
however, he goes to the bridal feast of the elder sister, where a 
single ray of light streams in upon him through a chink in a door 
made of unseasoned wood, and the maiden entering the room finds 
a dove, which says that for seven years he must fly about in the 
world, but that at every seventh mile he will let fall a drop of blood 

1 Compare also the Gaelic story of woman at Benares, and published in the 
Mac Iain Direach, Campbell, Tales of Asiatic Journal. See also the tales in 
the West Highlands, ii. 359. the Pentameron of Basil, 15, 19, 44; 

2 Grimm. With these legends may and Hahn's Greek and Albanian Tales. 
be compared the story of Tulisa (a tale A complete analysis of the fable of 
which in Professor Benfey's opinion is Appuleius is given in Friedlaiiter's Sit- 
very ancient), obtained from a washer- tengeschichte Horns. 


and a feather, to guide her in her quest of him. 1 At last this guid- chap. 

ance fails her, and she asks the sun and moon to tell her whither the ■ : 

dove had gone. As in the tale of Demfiter and PersephonS, they 
are unable to say : but they give her a casket and an egg which may 
one day be of use. She then asks aid of the North Wind, who bears 
her over the world until she rescues her lover, who has resumed his 
lion's shape, from a caterpillar who is an enchanted princess. But 
the latter, when disenchanted, seizes on the maiden's lover, and 
bears him away. The maiden follows to the place in which she 
hears that the wedding is to be celebrated, and then opening the 
casket, finds a dress which glistens like the sun and which the 
princess seeks to buy. But it can be given only for flesh and blood, 
and the maiden demands access to the bridegroom's chamber as her 
recompense. During the first night her lover sleeps by force of a 
potion, but her voice sounds in his ears like the murmuring of the 
wind through the fir-trees. On the next day, learning the trick, he 
refuses the draught, and the maiden, availing herself of the gift 
bestowed by the moon, is reunited to him at last. 2 

The Norse tale " East of the Sun and West of the Moon," ap- ■■ East of 
proaches more nearly to the form of Beauty and the Beast. A white *£ West 
bear (we are at once reminded of the process which converted the of the 
seven shiners into seven bears) taps at a poor man's window on a °° n * 
cold winter night, and promises him boundless wealth, on condition 
that he receives his daughter as his wife. The man is willing, but 
the maiden flatly says nay, until, overcome by the thought of her 
father's poverty, she agrees to live with the beast. The bear takes 
her to a palace in which the rooms gleam with silver and gold ; but 
the being who comes to her at night is a beautiful youth who never 
allows her to see him. The woman who acts the part of Venus in 
this tale is the mother, not of the lover, but of the maiden ; and as 
she could scarcely be represented as jealous of her daughter's happi- 
ness, we are told that, while suggesting the same doubts which 
brought Psyche to her trouble, she warned her child not to let a 
drop of oil fall on her husband while she stooped to look upon him. 
The sequel of the story presents no features materially different from 

1 Frere, Deccan Tales, 221. prince is imprisoned. In the tale of 

2 In the German story of the Iron Strong Hans (Grimm), it is Psyche who 
Stove (Grimm), the part of Er6s is is rescued from a tower or well in which 
played by a king's son, who is compelled she is confined like the Argive Danae. 
by a witch to sit in a great iron stove In the legends of the True Bride and of 
which stood in a wood. This is mar.i- the Drummer the maiden recovers her 
festly a reversing of the myth of Bryn- lover as in the story of the Soaring 
hild, in which the flame surrounding Lark. See also ch. viii. sect. 2 of this 
the maiden on the Glistening Heath book. 

-answers to the fiery stove in which the 


BOOK that of the Soaring Lark, except that the oil dropped from the 

• h^ — • maiden's lamp is made to bring about the catastrophe. The prince 

is, of course, under the power of the sorceress, who wishes to marry 
him, like Odysseus in the house of Kirke or the cave of Kalypso ; 
but when on the wedding morning he displays a fine shirt with three 
drops of tallow on it, and declares that he will marry only the woman 
who can wash them out, the Trolls, vainly attempting the task, see 
the prize snatched from their hand by the maiden whom they had 
despised as a stranger and a beggar. 1 
The Wan- The myth passed into other forms. In every case the bonds of 
the' e Forest. true * ove were severe ^ ', but the persons thus separated were some- 
times brothers and sisters, sometimes parents and children. In the 
German story of the Twelve Brothers, the sister goes forth to search 
for the lost children in that great forest which reappears in almost all 
tales of Teutonic folk-lore, the forest of the night or the winter, in 
which the huntsman or the king's daughter, or the two babes, or 
Tanhaiiser or True Thomas, the prince, the tailor, or the soldier, 
lose their way, to fall in every instance into the hands of witches, or 
robbers, or magicians, sometimes malignant, sometimes merciful and 
almost genial. It is perhaps no exaggeration to say that under this 
type of solar legend (for, as turning on the presence or the absence of 
light and warmth, these are all solar legends), four-fifths of the folk- 
lore of northern Europe may be ranged. The inhabitants of this 
dark forest are the Panis, by whom the wanderers are sometimes 
welcomed, sometimes slain. These wanderers, or stolen youths or 
maidens, can be recovered only through much suffering on the part 
of those who seek them. In the tales of the Twelve Brothers and 
the Six Swans, the sister must not utter a word for seven or for six 
years, an incident which, in the story of the Woodcutter's Child, is 
changed into loss of voice, inflicted as a punishment by the angel 
who has charged her not to look into the thirteenth door of the 
palace in the land of Happiness, or in other words, into the treasure- 
house of Ixion or Tantalos. But the appetite for mythical narratives 
was easily gratified. Incidents repeated a thousand times, with 
different names and slight differences in their sequence or arrange- 
ment, never palled upon it. If Psyche has hard tasks to perform 

1 In the German story of Bearskin, to be the victim, saying that a promise 

the soldier is not turned into a beast, which has been made must be kept, 

but is under compact with the evil one The transformation is more complete in 

not to comb his hair or wash his face the story of Hans the Hedgehog, whose 

for seven years, but to wear a bear sark enchantment is brought to an end" by 

or cloak. In this disguise he compels burning his skin, as in the Deccan story 

the king to give him one of his daughters of the enchanted rajah, 
in marriage, and the youngest consents 


before recovering; Eros, the Greek was as well content to listen to the CHAP. 

fM 11 
story of the same tasks as they are performed by Eros before he can ■ ^ — - 

recover Psyche. Thus the part of the latter in the legend of Appu- 
leius is played by the former in the German stories of the White 
Snake and the Golden Bird, the Queen Bee, Strong Hans, the Drum- 
mer, and many others. 1 

The common element of all these stories is the separation of two The spell 
lovers by the intervention of a third person, who is represented some- {jgJJJ. 000 " 
times as the mother, more often as another lover of the youth whose 
heart is given to the maiden from whom he is to be parted. In the 
latter case, her great object is to prolong the separation for her own 
benefit ; and we have at once the framework of the tales which relate 
the sojourn of Odysseus in the abodes of Kirke and Kalypso. Pene- 
lope, like Psyche, is far away, and though Odysseus has not forgotten 
her and longs to be with her, still he cannot escape from his irksome 
bondage. While the time of slumber lasts, he must tarry with the 
beautiful women who seek to wean him from his early love. The 
myth is but the fruit of phrases which spoke of the sun as sojourning 
in the land of sleep, freed from all woes and cares, 2 and but dimly 
remembering the beautiful hues of morning under the magic charm 
of night. Thus in Kirke 1 and Kalypso alike we have the moon- 
goddess beneath whose spell the sun may be said to slumber, and in 
the palace of the one and* the flashing cave of the other we see the 
wonderful home of Tara Bai, the Star-maiden, the Ursula or Selene 
of the modern Indian tale. Girt with her zone of stars, the beautiful 
being who can neither grow old nor die sings the lulling song whose 
witching power no mortal may withstand. If she seeks for sensuous 
enjoyment, still her desire is not for the brutal pleasures which turn 
men into swine ; 3 but to see before her the wise chief whose glory is 
in all lands is a happiness for which she is ready to sacrifice all her 

1 This myth reappears in a very thin voured, and the youngest goat in 

disguise in the ballad of Erlinton, Scott's Grimm's story of the Wolf and the 

Border Minstrelsy. Here we have the Seven Little Goats escapes the fate of 

forest, the maiden and her lover, while the six others. 

the robbers are a troop of knights 2 " Tm>' otitivas aSa^s Siree 8' li\y4u>i/. 

headed by an old and grey-haired Soph. Phil. 827. 

warrior, Winter himself. The knight, 3 The turning of the companions of 

of course, fights with and slays all, ex- Odysseus into swine is only another 

cept the grey-haired chief, who is suf- form of the more common transforma- 

fered to go home to tell the tale ; in tion into birds which, the witches of 

other words, the mortal Medousa is Teutonic and Arabian folk-lore keep 

slain, but the power of cold itself (her hung up in cages round their walls. 

immortal sisters) cannot be destroyed. Compare the story of Jorinde and 

With this we may compare the deaths Joringel (Grimm) with that of Punchkin 

of Helle 1 and Sarpedon, while Phrixos in the Deccan Tales, and of the Two 

and Glaukos live on. So, too, the Sisters in the Arabian Nights. 
youngest child of Kronos is not de- 


BOOK wealth and splendour. Still her abode is full of a strange mystery. 
- Its magnificence is not the magnificence of the open sunshine, its 

pleasures are not the wholesome pleasures of the outer air. If then 
the sun tarries in her chambers, it is because he is under a spell, 
because Selene has cast her deep sleep upon Endymion, and Zeus 
has not yet sent Hermes to bid Kalypso let Odysseus go. Thus in 
these Greek myths we have the germ and the groundwork of all those 
countless stories which speak of mortal men carried away from their 
homes to dwell with unseen beings beneath the earth. These beings 
are in each story headed by a beautiful queen, whose will it is impos- 
sible to resist. This power is prominent in the myth which tells us 
that Thomas the Rimer was carried off in his youth to Fairyland, 
where he became possessed of vast and mysterious knowledge. At 
the end of seven years he was suffered to go back to the upper earth 
on condition of obeying the summons to return to Elfland whenever 
it might be given. The bidding came while Thomas was making 
merry with some friends in the Tower of Ercildoune. A hart and a 
hind, it was said, had come from the neighbouring forest and were 
slowly moving up the street of the village. Thomas immediately 
rose, left the house, and following the animals to the wood was never 
seen again. 1 The story of Thomas is substantially identical with 
Chaucer's Rime of Sir Thopas, in whom the beauty of the Fairy 
Queen excites the same desire which the sight of Helen awakened in 
the Athenian Peirithoos. 2 This fairy queen sometimes assumes the 

1 Scott, Border Minstrelsy, iv. 114. such fictions. "In one of Plutarch's 

Mr. Gould, in his chapter on the Moun- tracts, De Defect. Orac. 21, a certain 

tain of Venus, notices among other Cleombrotus entertains the company 

stories that of the Norse Helgi, Thorir's with an account of an Eastern traveller 

son, who is invited by Ingebjorg the whose character and fortunes are still 

Troll queen to come and live with her. more remarkable than those of the 

His absence, however, is confined to Scottish seer. Of this man we are told 

three days, at the end of which he re- that he only appeared among his fellow 

turns home laden with treasure. His mortals once a year. The rest of his 

second visit was extended over many time was spent in the society of nymphs 

years, and from this he returned blind. and demons who had granted him an 

The story told by Gervase of Tilbury, unusual share of personal beauty, had 

the scene of which is the mountain of rendered him proof against disease, and 

Cavargum in Catalonia, is cited by Sir supplied him with a fruit which was to 

Walter Scott in his introduction to the satisfy his hunger, and of which he 

Ballad of Tamlane, Border Minstrelsy. partook only once a month. He was, 

» Mr. Price (introduction to War- moreover, endowed with a miraculous 

ton s History of English Poetry, 49) gift of tongues ; his conversation resem- 

■compares the journey of Thomas to Elf- bled a continuous flow of verse ; his 

land, in the Scottish ballad, with ^Elian's knowledge was universal, and an un- 

story (Var. Hist. iii. 18) respecting usual visitation of prophetic fervour 

Anostos "the bourne from which no enabled him to unfold the hidden secrets 

traveller returns," and remarks that the of futurity." This is practically the 

prophetic power acquired by the Rimer story of the Thrakian Zalmoxis, which 

during his sojourn with the Fairy Queen Herodotos refuses to believe iv on 
is no novel feature in the history of ' 


form of the Echidna who for a time made Herakles sojourn in her chap. 

dwelling : but the Tailor's son of Basle in the mediaeval story had the ^ — • 

courage neither of Herakles nor of Sir Gawain, and he was so 
terrified by the writhing of her tail that in spite of the beauty of her 
face he fled after giving her only two of the three kisses which she 
had bargained for. 1 Such a myth as this, it is obvious, would, if 
subjected to Christian influence, exhibit the fairy queen as a malig- 
nant demon who takes delight in corrupting the faith of true believers 
by plunging them into a horrible sensuality. Thus modified, the 
myth of Odysseus and Kalypso appears as the story of Tanhaiiser, 
whom Venus entices into her magic cave, within the Horselberg 
(Ercildoune) or mountain of Ursula. After a time the sensuous 
enjoyment of the place palls upon him as upon Odysseus, and he 
makes his escape to the earth with a weary load of sin upon his 
heart, for which he vainly seeks to obtain absolution. 2 At last he 
comes before pope Urban IV., who tells him that his pastoral staff 
will put forth leaves and blossoms sooner than God should pardon 
him. Tanhaiiser has scarcely departed when the staff is seen to 
bloom ; but it is too late. The minnesinger cannot be found, and 
he re-enters the Horselberg in despair, never to leave it again. 
Another modification, not less obvious and more in accordance with 
the spirit of the mediaeval myth, would be that of mere sleep, and 
Endymion would thus become the type of other slumberers to whom 
a century was but as a day. Among such is Epimenides, who while 
tending sheep fell asleep one day in a cave, and did not wake until 
more than fifty years had passed away. But Epimenides was one of 
the Seven Sages, who reappear in the Seven Manes of Leinster, 8 and 
in the Seven Champions of Christendom ; and thus the idea of seven 
sleepers was at once suggested. This idea finds expression in the 
remarkable legend of the seven sleepers of Ephesus ; and the 
number seven may be traced through other mediaeval stories. So 
Barbarossa changes his position every seven years, and at the end of 
every seventh year Charlemagne starts in his chair, and Olger Dansk 

1 Gould, Curious Myths, &*c, Ogier the Dane, who is Tithonos re- 
second series, 223. stored to a youth, which, like that of 

3 The same story is presented in the Meleagros, is to last as long as a brand 

romance of Sir Launfal and the Fay which the fairy gives him remains un- 

Tryamour, who bestows on him the consumed. — Keightley, Fairy Mytho- 

never-failing purse, and in the tale of logy, 34, et seq. For the legend of 

Oberon and Huon of Bordeaux. This Ogier, or Olger the Dane, see Popular 

Oberon is the dwarf king Elberich of Romances' of the Middle Ages, and In- 

the Heldenbuch, who performs to Otnit traduction to Comparative Mythology, 

the service discharged by Oberon to 302. 

Huon. The story of Tanhaiiser, again, 3 Fergusson, The Irish before the 

is only another form of the legend of Conquest. 


book stamps' his iron mace on the floor. To the number of these sleepers 

: — ■ must be added Arthur who slumbers in Avallon, waiting for the time 

when he shall wake up to free Britain once more; Sebastian of 
Portugal ; the three Tells of Riitli ; the priest of the Church of 
Hagia Sophia, who bides the day when the Turk shall be driven 
from Constantinople ; and Boabdil, the last of the Moorish kings of 
Spain, who lies spell-bound within the hill of the Alhambra in a 
slumber broken only on the eve of St. John, 1 who himself slumbers 
at Ephesus. 
The Seven The same mystic number is found in the seven Rishis of ancient 
Rfoins. Hindu tradition. These Rishis are the media or instruments 
through which the divine Veda was imparted to mankind. In its 
widest meaning the word was taken to denote the priestly bards who 
conducted the worship of the gods ; but they are spoken of some- 
times as the poets who compose the songs and present them to the 
deities whom they celebrate, and sometimes as the mere mouthpieces 
of these gods. They are mortal, and yet they are united with immor- 
tals, and are rivals of the gods. But although the idea most pro- 
minently associated with them is that of wisdom, they are sometimes 
mentioned in language which carries us back to the etymological 
meaning of the name. With their true hymns, we are told, they 
caused the dawn to arise and the sun to shine for the afflicted Vayu 
and Manu. a The names of the Rishis are variously given, Manu with 
Bhrigu, Angiras and others, being sometimes reckoned among them : 
but of the whole number seven attained a pre-eminent dignity. With 
Manu, according to one version, they entered into the ark while the 
earth lay beneath the waters of the flood, and therein abode with 
him until the vessel rested on the peak called Naubandhana from 
the binding of the ship. In the account of this flood the Brahmana 
story introduces a fish which guides the ark as the Delphian Apollon 
guides the vessel of the Cretan mariners to Krisa. 3 
The Ark- The main story connected with the Rishis has already been 

noticed as the result of an equivocal word. 4 The notion of making 
bright conveyed also the idea of gladdening and cheering, and hence 
arkshah became a name not only for the sun, but for a hymn or song 
of praise, and the makers or singers of these hymns were naturally 
termed Rishis or gladdeners. It was not less natural that, as the 

1 Washington Irving, Tales of the said that Vishnu thrice measured the 

Alhambra, "Legend of the Two Dis- mundane regions for Manu. R. V. vi. 

creet Statues." 49, 13 ; Muir, ib. part iv. p. 71. 

' P. V. viii. 76, 4, and 91, 1 ; Muir, * Max Miiller, Sanskrit Literature, 

Sanskrit Texts, part iii. p. 119. During 526. 

this time of oppression and sorrow, it is • * Book i. ch. iii 

shas or 


Rishis or sages took a stronger hold on the imagination of the chap. 
people, the seven arkshas or stars should be converted into rishis, -— — ^ — • 
and that the rishis should be said to have their abode in them. 
Among the Western Aryans, as lykos, the glistening, denoted the 
wolf, arktos became a name for the bear, 1 and stood to the Sanskrit 
riksha in the relation of the Greek tcktuv, a carpenter, to takshan, 
' and the Latin pectus, a breast, to vakshas ; 2 and then the seven stars 
were necessarily converted into seven bears, while the sages whom 
the Hindu placed in those shining orbs survived as the seven wise 
men of Hellas, to reappear under different forms, as we have already 
seen, elsewhere. 

In the name of Manu, the friend of the Rishis, we have simply The Rishis 
and strictly man, as the measurer or the thinker. The same root has anu ' 

also yielded names for the moon and the month, 3 while in Europe, as 
in Asia, there arose the idea of a man of whom they spoke as the 
son of heaven and earth. In India he was known as Manu 
Svayambhuva, the child of Svayambhu, the self-existent, or, like the 
Hellenic Minos, the son of Europe, the dawn, as Vaivasti, the wor- 
shipper or child of Vivasvat, the sun, whose wife Saranyu, having 
borne the twin Asvins, the steeds or horsemen, left in her place 
another like herself, Savarna, who became the mother of Manu. 4 
But Manu is also not unfrequently called the son of Dyaus or of 
Brahma, just as the German tribes spoke of their ancestor Mann as 
the son of Tiw or Tuisco. 


The name Ushas reappears in the Greek Eos, and Ushas, like Eos, Ushas and 
is the goddess of the dawn or morning. 6 The language addressed E6s ' 

1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, i. 263. suitors before the great vengeance of 

s Max Miiller, Lectures on Language, Odysseus, is naturally said to assume 

second series, 361. the likeness of Mentor. 

3 Greek, i^v, n^vri : Latin, mensis. 5 The rcot US, to burn, appears as 

4 Professor Max MUUer, Lectures on USH in Sanskrit. From this Ushas is 
Language, second series, 482, 5°9> formed without any vowel modification, 
thinks that Manu may have been called " The Gneco-Italian people raised the 
Savarni, as meaning the Manu of all vowel by regular process to au, and 
colours, i.e. of all tribes or castes, while formed ausos, which received no further 
Savarna, the second wife of the sun, is increase in Greek, but in Latin a 
simply the twilight in which he dies, secondary noun was formed from the 
just as the myth that Saranyu had left primary one, that is ausosa. Now both 
her twin behind, meant only that the • Greeks and Italians, as is well known, 
Dawn had disappeared. The root man disliked the sound s between two vowels! 
is taken also to denote " backward the Greeks generally dropped it, and so 
thought, remembering and admonishing; got ab(<r)6s : the Latins changed it to r, 
whence the proper name Mentor, the and made aurora : the verb appears as 
adviser." With this may be compared uro." — Peile, Introduction to Greek and 
the name Juno Moneta : and thus Latin Etymology, xii. The Lithuanian 
Athene, when she appears among the form of the word is Ausera. 


BOOK to her betokens a more distinct personality than that even of Varuna 

• ^ — ■ and Indra, because the worshipper in addressing her speaks always 

from the heart, and his words are the manifest utterances of love. 
She is the daughter of the heaven, who brings with her light and life 
and joy; she drives away pain and anguish; she is the image of 
undying youth, for day by day she appears in unfading beauty, 
although they who look upon her grow daily older and at last die. 1 

"Ushas, nourishing all, comes daily like a matron, conducting 
all transient (creatures) to decay." 2 

" The divine and ancient Ushas, born again and again and bright 
with unchanging hues, wastes away the life of a mortal, like the wife 
of a hunter cutting up the birds." 3 

" How long is it that the dawns have risen ? How long will 
they rise ? 

"Those mortals who beheld the pristine Ushas dawning have 
passed away : to us she is now visible, and they approach who will 
behold her in after times." * 

Like the Greek Athene, she is pare and unsullied, the image 
of truth and wisdom. 

" Ushas, endowed with truth, who art the sister of Bhava, the 
sister of Varuna, be thou hymned first of the gods." 

"Unimpeding divine rites, although wearing away the ages of 
mankind, the Dawn shines the likeness of the mornings that have 
passed, or that are to be for ever, the first of those that are to 
come." 5 

In all this, although it determines the source of later myths beyond 
all possibility of question, there is little or no mythology ; and we 
have advanced scarcely more than half-way on the road to a full- 
formed myth even when we read that "the night, her sister, prepares 
a birthplace for her elder sister (the day), and having made it known 
to her departs; that the night and dawn "of various complexions, 
repeatedly born but ever youthful, have traversed in their revolutions 
alternately from a remote period earth and heaven — night with her 
dark, dawn with her luminous limbs," 7 or that " of all the sisters who 
have gone before a successor daily follows the one that has pre- 
ceded." 8 It is this very transparency of meaning which imparts 

1 Hence the decrepitude of some of but the Jew must wander on until the 

the mythical beings beloved by the evening of the world is come. 
Dawn. This is the idea of the myth of 2 H. H. Wilson, R. V. Sanhita, i. 

Erts and Tithonos, and it seems to be 129. 

united with that of Odin, Savitri, or * lb. i. 274. * lb. i. 298. 

Odysseus the wanderers, in the story of * /*. ii. 8, 10. ■ lb. ii. 12. 

the Wandering Jew. The myth is here, 7 lb. i. 169. 

•■js we might expect, strangely distorted : 8 lb. ii. 12. The idea of Ushas as 


value to almost every expression of praise in the hymns addressed CHAf. 
to her. • '— ' 

"She shines upon us like a young wife, rousing every living 
being to go to his work. The fire had to be kindled by men : she 
brought light by striking down darkness. 

" She rose up, spreading far and wide, and moving towards every 
one she grew in brightness, wearing her brilliant garment. The 
mother of the cows, the leader of the dogs, she shone gold-coloured, 
lovely to behold. 

"She, the fortunate, who brings the eye of the god, who leads 
the white and lovely steed (of the sun), the Dawn was seen revealed 
by her rays, with brilliant treasures she follows every one. 

"Thou, who art a blessing when thou art near, drive far away 
the unfriendly ; make the pastures wide, give us safety. Remove the 
haters, bring treasures. Raise up wealth to the worshipper, thou 
mighty Dawn. 

"Shine for us with thy best rays, thou bright Dawn, thou who 
lengthenest our life, thou the love of all, who givest us food, who 
givest us wealth in cows, horses, and chariots." 1 

The hymns speak especially of the broad-spreading light of Ushas ; Ushas the 
and this flush of dawn suddenly passing across the heaven takes us spreading, 
at once to the many names of like meaning which belong to the 
Hellenic solar beings. She " shines wide " (Urvasi), like Euryphassa 
and Eurydike, like Euryganeia, Eurynomg, and Europe. As the 
daughter of Dyaus, who chases away the darkness of the night, she 
goes before Indra, Savitar, and Surya. She reveals mysteries and 
opens the ends of heaven, where the Panis had hidden away the 
cows of which she is the mother. She tells the Angiras where they are 
to be found, and as she lightens the sky she is said to drive her own 
herds to their pastures. She is sent especially to awaken men ; but 
she is charged to let the Panis (the dark powers) sleep. She is the 
beloved of all men and the darling of the god of love, Aniruddha, 
the resistless, 2 who thus receives the name Ushapati, lord of the 
dawn ; and finally, we have in Ushas the germ of the idea which 
found its most graceful expression in the Hellenic Athene, and its 
most majestic developement in the Latin Minerva. The Sanskrit 
budh means both to wake and to know, and vayuna has the double 
meaning of light and knowledge, just as the notions of knowledge 

bringing to an end the days which king is accused of being a murderess 

spring from her is closely allied to the who destroys her own children, 
myth of Kronos, and seems to lie at the ' R. V. vii. 77. 

root of the many popular German and * eowr oWkote n&x av - — Soph. Ant. 

Norse stories, in which the bride of the 781. 





and of creative power are both expressed by the root jan and the 
' English can and ken. Hence Ushas is said to enable men to cross 
the frontier of darkness, and, as the seer, to give light far and wide. 
" Waking every mortal to walk about, she receives praise from every 
thinker." Thus, as the Day, she is the mother of the Divine Night, 
who reveals all her splendour after she has driven away her sister 
the Twilight 1 Of the birth of AthenS fully armed from the head 
of Zeus, when cloven by the axe of Hephaistos, the poets of the 
Iliad and Odyssey say nothing ; but the presence of the story in 
the Hesiodic Theogony is a conclusive argument against any infer- 
ence which might be drawn from their silence, even if Ushas were 
not, as she actually is, spoken of in the Veda as sprung from the 
forehead of Dyaus, the sky. 2 

But Ushas is only one of many names for the light of early 
morning. As Ahani, she plays the part as well as bears the name 
of Athene and of Daphne. The word expresses the idea of burning 
light; and although it occurs only once in the Rig Veda, 3 the 
flexibility of the old mythology justifies us in attributing to Ahana all 
that is told us of Ushas or of Sarama. 4 If then we apply to Dahana 
the phrases which spoke of Ushas as pursued by the Sun, who slays 
though he loves her, or as dying in his arms, we see at once an 
offshoot from the parent stem which in the West yielded the myths 
of Daphne and of Prokris. Daphne" too is loved by Phoibos, and, 
like Ahana, she flies from his face until she takes refuge in the 
Peneian stream. But in some passages of the Veda the idea of 
her might remains too prominent to allow much room for that 
of love. 

" This strong and manly deed also thou hast performed, O Indra, 
that thou struckest the daughter of Dyaus, a woman difficult to 

" Yes, even the daughter of Dyaus, the magnified, the Dawn, 
thou, O Indra, a great hero, hast ground to pieces. 

1 The benignant aspect of night must 
be carefully borne in mind, as the germ 
of the myths of Asteria, Asterodia, 
Kalypsd, and other Fairy Queens. 
Under all these forms we have the ki/£ 
(piAiu /xeyd\av K6(rfiuv KTedreipa of 
..Eschylos, Agam. 356. As such, Night 
is invoked in the Veda to " drive away 
the wolf and the thief, and carry her 
worshippers safely across " (to the light). 
— A'. V. x. 127 ; Muir, Sanskrit Texts, 
part iv. p. 123. 

5 Max Miiller, Lectures on Language, 

second series, 503. 

3 ' ' Ahana comes near to every houses 
she who makes every day to be known. 

"Dyotana (the dawn), the active 
maiden, comes back for evermore ; she 
enjoys always the first of all goods." — 
R. V. i. 123, 4- 

* "Athene 1 , as far as letters go, would 
correspond to a Sanskrit AhanS, which 
is but a slightly differing variety of 
Ahana." — Max Miiller, Lectures, second 
series, 503. 


" The Dawn rushed off from her crushed car, fearing that Indra, Chap. 
' the bull, might strike her. « ■ — ■ 

" This her car lay there, well ground to pieces. She went far 
away." 1 

More commonly, however, she is beloved by all the gods, and 
the Asvins bear her away triumphant in her chariot. 

But it is to the phrases which speak of the dawn under the name Sarama. 
of Sarama, that we must look for the germ of the great epics of the 
western Aryans. It is indeed only the germ, and no fancy can be 
more thoroughly groundless than that which would regard the 
Hellenic representative of SaramS. as derived from the dawn-goddess 
of the Hindu. Identity of names and of attributes can prove nothing 
more than the affinity of legends, which, as differing not only in local 
colour but also in the form of thought, must point to some common 
source in a past yet more remote. Whatever may be the precise 
meaning of the name, whether SaramS. or Saranyu be taken to denote 
the storm-cloud or the morning, there is no doubt that the root of 
the word is sar, to creep or go, which we find in serpent as well as 
in the Greek Erinys and Sarpedon. In the Rig Veda, Sarama is 
especially the guardian of the cows of Indra, and as his messenger 
she goes to the Panis, who have stolen them away. She, too, like 
Ushas, is said to be the first to spy out the cleft in the rock where 
the Panis, like Cacus, had hidden the plundered cattle, and, like 
Herakles, she is the first to hear their lowings. Like Ushas also, 
she walks in a straight path : but when she comes to the stronghold 
of the Panis, a conference follows in which we see unmistakably the 
dawn peering about through the sky in search of the bright clouds, 
and restoring them in all their brilliance and beauty to the broad 
pastures of the heaven. 

"The Panis said, 'With what intention did Sarama reach this 
place ? for the way is far, and leads tortuously away. What was your 
wish with us ? How was the night ? How did you cross the waters 
of the Rasa?' 

" The Panis : 'What kind of man is Indra, O Sarama, what is 
his look, he as whose messenger thou comest from afar? Let him 
come hither, and we will make friends with him, and then he may be 
the cowherd of our cows.' 

" Saramd : ' I do not know that he is to be subdued, for it is he 
himself that subdues, he as whose messenger I came hither from afar. 
Deep streams do not overwhelm him ; you, Panis, will lie prostrate, 
killed by Indra/ 

' S. V. iv. 30. 




The cows 
cf Indra. 

" The Panis : ' Those cows, O Sarama, which thou desirest, fly 
- about the ends of the sky, O darling. Who would give them up to 
thee without fighting ? for our weapons too are sharp.' 

" Sarama : ' Though your words, O Panis, be unconquerable, 
though your wretched bodies be arrowproof, though the way to you 
be hard to go, Brihaspati will not bless you for either.' 

" The Panis: 'That store, O Sarama, is fastened to the rock, 
furnished with cows, horses, and treasures. Panis watch it who are 
good watchers ; thou art come in vain to this bright place.' 

" Sarama : ' Let the Rishis come here fired with Soma, Ahasya 
(Indra), and the ninefold Angiras ■ they will divide the stable of 
cows ; then the Panis will vomit out this speech.' 

" The Panis : ' Even thus, O Sarama, thou art come hither 
driven by the violence of the gods; let us make thee our sister, 
do not go away again ; we will give thee part of the cows, O darling.' 

" Sarama : ' I know nothing of brotherhood or sisterhood : 
Indra knows it, and the awful Angiras. They seemed to me anxious 
for their cows when I came : therefore get away from here, O Panis, 
far away. 

" ' Go far away, Panis, far away ; let the cows come out straight, 
the cows which Brihaspati found hid away, Soma, the stones, and the 
wise Rishis.' " 1 

This hymn, seemingly so transparent in its meaning, becomes 
unintelligible if interpreted of any other being than the Dawn in her 
struggle with the powers of darkness : and hence it seems a super- 
fluous task to show that all the essential features of Ushas reappear 
in SaramS. ; that like Ushas Sarama is followed by Indra, and that 
walking first she reveals the treasures which had been hidden away ; 
that both alike go to the uttermost ends of heaven ; that both break 
the strongholds of the Panis ; both are the mothers and deliverers of 
the cows ; both drive forth their cattle to the pastures ; both walk in 
the right path and bestow wealth and blessings upon men. Every 
phrase tells us of some change in the heaven from the time when 
the sun sinks to sleep in the west to the moment when his face is 
first seen again in the east. As the light of evening dies away, the 
power of the darkness is restored, and the Panis extinguish the 
bright-coloured clouds which have looked down on the death of the 
Sun, or in other words they steal the cows of Indra, the cattle which 
Phaethousa and Lampetie feed in the rich pastures of Helios. 
During the weary hours of night they are shut up in the demon's 
prison-house; but at length the messenger of the day comes to 

1 Max Miiller, Lectures on Language, second series, 465. 


reclaim her children. With a faint flush she starts slowly from the chap. 

doors of the east. Her light, creeping along the dark fkce of the : — ■ 

sky, seems to ebb and flow like the sea-tide ; and so might Sarama 
be said to hold parley with the Panis who refuse to yield up their 
plunder. But the Dawn is only the messenger of one far mightier 
than herself, and if they will not yield to her, they shall feel the 
force of the arm of Indra ; and the conference with the Panis, which 
answers to the spreading of the Dawn, ends in their overthrow, as 
soon as Indra appears in his chariot — in other words, when the Sun 
is risen. 

In the Rig Veda, Sarama steadily refuses the bribes offered to The 
her by the Panis. Another turn was given to the tale when the S aram(L 
faithfulness of Sarama was represented as not invincible. Sarama, 
we are told in the Anukramanika, was sent as the dog of the gods to 
seek for the strayed or stolen herds, and when she espied them in 
the town of Vala, the Panis strove to make her an accomplice in 
their theft. But although she refused to divide the booty, she yet 
drank a cup of milk which they gave her, and returning to Indra 
denied that she had seen the cows. On this Indra kicked her, and 
the milk which she vomited up gave the lie to her words. Here, 
then, we have in its germ the faithlessness of the Spartan Helen, 
who in name as in her act is Sarama, and who was supposed to 
speak of herself as the dog-eyed or dog-faced, although by none else 
was the name applied to her. 1 Thus the Greek carried away with 
him the root of the great Trojan epic from the time when he parted 
from his ancient kinsfolk, he to find his way to his bright Hellenic 
home, they to take up their abode in the land of the seven streams. 
For him, Helen and Paris, Briseis and Achilleus, were already in 
existence. For him Phoibos already dwelt in Delos, and Sarpedon 
ruled in the land of the golden river. So, again, it makes but little 
difference whether the Sarameya, sometimes but rarely mentioned in 
the Rig Veda, be definitely the son of Sarama, or whether the word 
remained a mere epithet for any one of the gods who might denote 
the morning. The name itself is etymologically identical with that 
of Hermes ; and the fact that he is addressed as the watchdog of the 
house a may have led to the notion which made him in later times 

1 The first word in the compound house, a kind of Lar, is called Sarameya, 
Kvvawis is the same as in Kynosarges, and is certainly addressed as the watch- 
Kynossema, Kynosoura, none of these dog of the house ; and he adds that this 
having any reference to dogs. — Bour- deity would thus denote the "peep of 
nouf, La Legende Athenienne. day conceived as a person, watching 

2 Professor Miiller notices that in a unseen at the doors of heaven during 
hymn of the seventh book of the Rig the night and giving his first bark in 
Veda, Vastoshpati, the lord of the the morning." The features of the deity ' 






the hound which served as the messenger of the gods, and which in 
the story Of Prokris reappears at the feet of Artemis. 1 

Another name from the same root which has furnished those of 
Sarama, Helen, Hermes, and Sarpedon, is found in Saranyu (a femi- 
nine of Saranyu), in whom some discern the dark and impetuous 
storm-cloud. 2 The phrases employed when the poet addresses her 
all seem to point in another direction. Like Ushas, she is spoken of 
as the mare, and as the mother of a twin. The male Saranyu is in 
like manner called a horse, and the goddess herself is the mother of 
the twins Yama and Yami, and again of Nasatya and Dasra, the twin 
Asvins or steeds, 8 who represent the Dioskouroi? The persons with 
whom this dualism connects her indicate at once her real nature, 
and with Saranyu she takes her place by the side of the two Ahans or 
Dawns, of Indra, the two Indras, of Dyava, the double Dyaus, of 
Ushasau, the two mornings, of Agnl, the two Agnis, of VarunS, the 
two Varunas. 

But as Sarama is Helen, so Saranyu is Erinys ; and here too the 
seed, which in the East sprang up only to wither away, shot up in the 
West to a portentous growth. It was certainly no euphemism which 
spoke of the Erinyes as the gentle beings or Eumenides, and there 
was no incongruity in giving the name to the Dawn-mother Demeter. 1 
Hence in spite of all the failure of memory, and of the fearful 

thus conceived are brought out with 
sufficient clearness in the following 
verses : 

" When thou, bright Sarameya, openest 
thy teeth, O red one, spears seem 
to glisten on thy jaws as thou 
swallowest. Sleep, sleep. 

*' Bark at the thief, Sarameya, or at the 
robber, O restless one. Now thou 
barkest at the worshippers of Indra. 
Why dost thou distress us ? Sleep, 
sleep." — Lectures on Language, 
second series, 473. 

1 This dog of the morning is promi- 
nent in the Norse tale of Bushy Bride. 
While the hero lies in a pit full of 
snakes (Helios in the land of the 
throttling serpent), a lovely lady (Ushas 
or Sarama) comes into the palace 
kitchen — the connexion, as with Boots 
or Cinderella among the ashes, lying in 
the fire of the earth or oven — and asks 
the kitchen-maid for a brush. "Then 
she brushed her hair, and as she brushed 
down dropped gold. A little dog was at 
her heel, and to him she said, ' Run out, 
little Flo, and see if it will soon be day.' 
This she said three times, and the third 

time that she sent the dog it was just 
about the time the dawn begins to peep. " 
The old myth could not be retained with 
greater fidelity. 

2 Roth, quoted by Professor Max 
Muller, ib. 404. The name itself, as in 
Hermes, Sarama, and 6pfi.ii, may express 
any motion, slow or rapid. 

3 TheVedic hymn-makers tell us dis- 
tinctly that the horses of these Asvins 
are the rays of the sun. When they do 
this, it seems as difficult to deny that 
they made this comparison as to call 
in question the interpretation which the 
witch herself gives in one of the Russian 
stories of Afanasieff. The girl in this 
tale sees, as night comes on, a black 
horseman who disappears underground, 
at dawn a white horseman on a white 
horse, and, as the sun rises, a red horse- 
man on a red horse. She is told by no 
less an authority than the witch that the 
black horseman is the dark night, the 
white horseman the clear dawn-light, 
and the red horseman the young red sun. 

4 Professor Max Miiller seems to 
see in Demeter, not the earth, but the 
dawn-mother, Dyava Malar, correspond- 
ing to Dyauspitar. — Ib. 517. 


character which Erinys had assumed, the poet who tells the terrible chap. 

tale ,pf Oidipous could not but make him die in the sacred, grove of : — - 

beings who, however awful to others, were always benignant to him — 
in groves which to the storm-tossed wanderer were the Hyperborean 
gardens into which grief, and fear, and anguish could never enter. 
The change which converted the beautiful Saranyu into the avenging 
furies of ./Eschylos has excited the wonder of some who hesitate on 
this account to believe that Erinys and Saranyu can come to us from 
a common source. It is more than probable that their scepticism 
arises from the notion that comparative mythologists derive the 
Greek from the Sanskrit deity. It is enough to say that they 
do not. 

The change itself is one which could scarcely fail to be brought The 
about. The Harpies, who in our Homeric poems are the beautiful 
daughters of Thaumas and Elektra, appear in the ^Eneid of Virgil as 
foul monsters, who do the work of vultures. The Ara, or prayer of 
the longing heart, 1 became more and more the curse which the weak 
uttered against their tyrants. Indra and Phoibos, who, as the sun- 
gods, see and hear all things, become almost more dreaded for their 
destructive power, than loved for their beneficence. As representing 
the day with its searching light, Varuna and Indra are the avengers 
of all iniquity ; and in this sense it could not fail to be said of evil- 
doers that Saranyu would find them out. The old phrase survives 
with its clearness scarcely dimmed in the Hesiodic Theogony. 
Night there is the mother of Strife (Eris), and of all the evils that 
come of Strife ; a but she is also the mother of righteous recompense 
(Nemesis), In other words, the evil deeds done in the night will 
receive their reward when brought to light in the day; and thus, 
according to ^Eschylos, the Erinyes also are daughters of the Night, 
who, like the Drukhs, the Vedic Ate, track out the sins of men. It 
was in truth impossible that, the germ once given, its developements 
should fail tp be modified by time and place, by power of imagination 
and failure of memory. The AtS of the Iliad is the spirit merely of 
mischievous folly, and as such, she is hurled by Zeus from Olympos, 
for postponing the birth of Herakles to that of Eurystheus ; the Ate 
of ^Eschylos is the sleepless doom which broods over a house until 
the vengeance for the shedding of innocent blood has been exacted 
to the uttermost farthing. There is nothing wonderful therefore in the 
process which changed the lovely Saranyu of the Veda into the awful 
goddesses s of Athens ; and if the Erinys of the Iliad is called hateful, 

1 opV liroifoav irafia yevetrBat. — * Hes. Theog. 226. 

Herod, vi. 63. * aenvaL flcaf. 


BOOK yet she wanders in the air and hears the summons addressed to her 
• — Ji — ■ from the land of darkness. 1 In the fact that at Athens there were 
statues only of two Erinyes, we have perhaps a memory of that 
early dualism which is so marked a feature in the mythology of 
the Veda. 
Arjuni. But if Eos and Zeus remained to the Greeks what Ushas and 

Dyaus were to the Hindu, there were other names which seem to 
have been transplanted to Hellenic soil only to die. Among these 
is Argennos in whose honour Agamemnon is said to have built 
a temple to Aphrodite' Argynnis on the banks of Kephisos. The 
name in the West had no meaning : but in the Vedic Arjuni we 
have simply an epithet denoting the brilliance of the dawn, while in 
the later Hindu mythology, Arjuna comes before us as standing to 
Krishna in the relation of Luxman to Rama, of Phaethon to Helios, 
or of Patroklos to Achilleus. 
The cows The analysis of all these myths proves convincingly that for 

of the°Smi- human thought in its earliest stages the danger lay not in the poverty 
gods. f language, but in its superabundant wealth. The heaven, the sun, 

the dawn, the clouds, might be described by a thousand names, all 
truthfully and vividly denoting the thing spoken of in one of its 
countless aspects. But the characteristic features so marked were 
found in more than one object If the sun shone brightly or moved 
rapidly, so did the horse. If the clouds gave nourishment to the 
thirsty earth, so did the cows bestow a gift scarcely less necessary for 
man. The words which told of the one would serve also to designate 
the other ; and so in fact we find that they did. The cow received 
its name as the moving animal ; the horse was named from its speed, 
asvan, or from its colour, harit, the glistening — rohit, the brown : and 
all these names were of necessity applied to the sun, the dawn, and 
the sky, first in their strictly etymological sense, but insensibly, 
and by an inevitable result, in the meaning to which usage gradually 
confined each word. Thus, when the name asvan was reserved 
especially for the horse, the sun, who had been hitherto called asvan 
simply as speeding through the sky, now himself became the steed 
who hurries across the broad heaven. 2 The impulse once given 
issued in an almost incredible wealth of metaphor. The horse as 
the bearer of burdens was called vahni ; s but the flames also bore 
their burdens into the air, and the rays of the sun brought his light 

* //. x. 571. a The root is found in the Latin 

2 The process is completely analysed vehere, the Greek ?x e! ", and in com- 

by Professor Max Miiller, "Comparative pound words as cervix, the neck as 

Mythology," Chips, &>c, ii. 132, &c. carrying the head. 


to man. Thus the flame of fire and the solar rays, being* both alike chap. 

vahni, became vehement and fiery horses. So, too, the morning and ■ : — ■ 

the evening, the gloaming and the dawn, became, as we have seen, 
twin steeds — the Asvins — joined together in a mysterious bond which 
made it impossible to draw a line between the approach of the one 
and the vanishing of the other. But this step taken rendered 
another step necessary. The glorious being whose light wakes a 
sleeping world to life must be enthroned in a burning chariot, of 
which the rays that stream across the heaven must be the gleaming 
steeds ; and thus the sun who had himself been Hari, the flashing, 
now became Indra, or Surya, or Savitar, whose car was drawn by the 
glistening Harits. Where we say that " the sun is rising," or that 
" he is high in the heaven," they said, " the sun has yoked his steeds 
for his journey," or that "his horses have borne his chariot to the 
house of Dyaus.'' But how little the name Harit had lost its 
original meaning, is clear from the many terms which are used in 
describing them. The Vedic poet knew well the differences of mean- 
ing in the words which he uttered when he spoke of them as Harits, 
or Rohits, or Arushis ; yet under each of these names was growing 
up a distinct personality, and thus the Harits, whose number is given 
sometimes as seven, sometimes as ten, become sisters who fly on 
beautiful wings. 1 But while even in India the idea of loveliness 
was beginning to predominate over that of mere animal strength, 
among the Western Aryans the glistening Harits became the lovely 
Charites whom the Latins called the Gratis and we the Graces. Yet 
by the side of these fair creations of human thought, the root which 
yielded these names was discharging a more homely function : and 
the grease with which our wheels are rubbed is but another form of 
the names of Charis in the Iliad, and the Graces of Canova. 

Arush!, however, is only the feminine form of arvan, a horse ; Arushi 
and the masculine arusha is a common Vedic epithet for the sun. 
But this name is applied to him only at his rising. He is arusha, 
when " Night goes away from her sister the dawn, and the dark one 
opens the path for the bright god." But arusha is also a child. 
"The seven sisters have nursed him, the joyful, the white one, as he 
was born, the Arusha with great might ; as horses go to the foal that 
is born, so did the gods bring up his son when he was born." 2 He 
has the eyes of a man, and he is also Saparnas, with beautiful wings. 
More evidence can scarcely be needed to show that in this picture 
we have the Hellenic god of love, the bright and winged Er6s. But 

1 Max Miiller, Chips, &>c, ii. 131. Muses nursing the infant Phoibos in the 
' This is precisely the picture of the Homeric hymn. Max Miiller, ib. 136. 








further, as Professor Max Muller has noted in his exhaustive analysis 
• of this myth, Arusha is called the young child of Dyaus, the child of 
heaven, the sun of strength. He is the first of the gods, as coming 
at the point of the days ; and of his two daughters (the Snow-White 
and Rose-Red of German folk-lore), the one is clad in stars, the 
other is the wife of Svar, the sun. He moves swift as thought, long- 
ing for victory : he is the love or desire, Kama, of all men ; and as 
irresistible in his strength, he is Ushapati, lord of the dawn. With 
all these phrases the mythology of the Greeks is in thorough har- 
mony. Although, according to later poets, Eros is a son of Zeus and 
of Gaia, or Aphrodite, or Artemis, we may fairly assert that in the 
Hesiodic theogony, as in the Veda, he is " the first of the gods," for 
with Chaos, Gaia, and Tartaros, he makes up the number of self- 
existent deities. Still, although appearing thus in the awful silence 
of a formless universe, he is the most beautiful of all the gods, and 
he conquers the mind and will both of gods and of men. The 
transition was easy to the thought of Eros, ever bright and fair as 
(like Yavishtha or Hephaistos) the youngest of the gods, as the 
companion of the Charites, as the child of the Charis Aphrodite 1 : 
and this association of Eros and Charis brings us back to Arusha and 
the glistening Harits, who bear him across the wide seas of heaven. 1 
The brilliant steeds reappear in the myth of Medeia as the 
dragons who bear her mysterious chariot through the air. The name 
dragon, indeed, denotes simply any keen-sighted thing, and in its 
other form, Dorkas, is applied to a gazelle. We shall presently see 
that a sharp distinction is drawn between the serpent as an object of 
love and affection, and the snake which is regarded (whether as Ahi, 
Vritra, or Ahriman) with profound hatred. But the serpent-worship 
of the East and West is founded on the emblem of the Linga, 2 and 
belongs to a class of ideas altogether different from those which were 
awakened by the struggle of darkness against the light and the sun. 
This darkness is everywhere described as a snake or serpent : but 
the names applied to Ahi and Vritra do not imply keenness of sight, 
and the enemy of Indra and Phoibos becomes on Hellenic soil a 
dragon, only because the beast had there received this as its special 
name. The tradition, however, survived that the steeds of the sun 
were also Drakontes or keen-eyed things, and thus they not only 

1 In his notes on the Rig Veda San- 
hita, vol. i. p. 1 1, Professor Max Muller, 
noting the objections made to some of 
his interpretations of passages in which 
the word Arusha occurs, on the ground 
that in them the word is an epithet of 
Agni, Indra, or SCirya, remarks that this 

objection would apply "to many other 
names originally intended for these con- 
ceptions, but which, nevertheless, in the 
course of . time, become independent 
names of independent deities." 

* See Section XII. of this chapter. 


draw the chariot of Medeia, but reveal to Iamos the kaowledge of chap. 

things to come. These snakes who nurse the infant prophet on the • : 

violet beds are the flashing-eyed messengers of morning, not the 
devouring serpents of darkness who seek to slay the new-born 
Herakles in his cradle. 

As possessing this gift of the dragon-chariot bestowed on her by sorcery 
Helios, Medeia is emphatically the wise woman ; and in this myth c"^' 10 ' 1 " 
we have probably the groundwork of those notions which were finally 
developed into the system of sorcery and witchcraft. The know- 
ledge of Medeia came to her from the same superhuman source with 
the inspiration of the Pythian priestess of Delphoi ; the Latin witch 
derived her power from a secret compact with Hekate. Christianity 
converted Phoibos and his sister into demons, and at once the 
Canidias of the empire were regarded as trafficking with devils for 
the acquisition of unlawful powers. In the transition from the idea 
of a wisdom which, although not naturally attainable, might be con- 
ferred on some by the bright being whose eye pierces all space, to 
the notion of compacts made between witches and the devil we have 
a developement or corruption in close analogy with that confusion 
between Leukos, bright, as a general epithet, and the same word 
Lukos, as a special name for the wolf, from which sprung first the 
myth of the transformation of Lykaon, and then probably the wide- 
spread superstition of Lykanthropy. 

As the wise woman, Mede;a is the child of the ocean nymph The story 
Idyia, or, in another version, of Hekate" (the female correlative of of Medeia - 
Hekatos or Phoibos), who is herself the daughter of Asteria, the star- 
lit night. Her father is Aietes, the Kolchian king, but he is a son of 
Helios who leaves to him and his descendants the magic wreath and 
robe by which Medeia revenges herself on Glauke. 1 This robe is, 
indeed, only another form of the golden fleece, the mantle of 
burnished cloud seen at sunrise and sunset As such, it eats into 
the flesh not only of Glauke, the fair daughter of the Corinthian 
Kreon, but of Herakles himself, when his toils come to an end on 
mount Oita. Of her share in the victory of Iason at Aia, it is enough 
here to say that in the taming of the fire-breathing bulls, and in the 
discomfiture of the men sprung from the dragon's teeth, she plays 
the part of Ariadne and receives Ariadne's reward Whether faith- 
ful or treacherous, the sun can never remain with his first love, and 
even- Odysseus, whose one longing is to return to his home^ is parted 
from Penelope, during the weary hours which pass between sunset 
and sunset But before the time of her great sorrow comes, Medeia 

1 Emip. Med. 957. 




The myth 
of Prokris. 

avenges the wrongs done to Iason long ago at Iolkos. During her 
- sojourn there in the house of Pelias, she persuaded his daughters to 
cut up his body and boil his limbs in a cauldron, in the belief that 
he would thus be restored to youth. 1 Medeia purposely failed to 
pronounce the spell at the right time, and the limbs of Pelias were 
consumed by the fire. Then follows her escape with Iason in her 
dragon chariot to Corinth, where his love is transferred to Glaiike, 
after whose death Medeia, like Gudrun in the Volsung story, slays 
her own children — a crime closely resembling the slaughter of Pelops 
by Tantalos. Such are the chief features of the myth of Medeia, to 
which some added that she became the wife of Aigeus, the Athenian 
king, or of the Corinthian Sisyphos. Some, again, made her return 
with Iason to Kolchis, while others took her to Italy, and described her 
as acquiring the name Anguitia from her power of fascinating serpents. 
Finally, she is said to have been wedded to Achilleus in Elysion. 

The involuntary departure of the sun from the dawn or his 
capricious desertion of her is exhibited in the myths of a long series 
of maidens wooed and forsaken, whether by Phoibos himself or by 
heroes on whose head rests his light and majesty. With the story of 
Koronis the mother of Asklepios the myth of Prokris is in close 
accordance. Her birthplace is Athens, the city of the Dawn, and 
her mother is Herse, the Dew, while her own name denotes also 
simply the sparkling drops. 2 We are thus prepared for the myth 
which tells us that Kephalos, a Phokian chief, coming to Athens, won 
her love and plighted his faith to her. But Kephalos was loved also 
by Eos, who sought to weaken his love for Prokris with a purpose so 
persistent that at last she induced him to make trial of her affection. 
He therefore deserts Prokris, to whom after a time he returns in dis- 
guise. When in this shape he has won her love, he reveals himself, 
and Prokris in an agony of grief and shame flies to Crete, where she 
obtains from Artemis the gift of a spear which shall never miss its 
mark and of a hound which can never fail to seize its prey. 3 With 

1 With this may be compared the 
Norse story of the Master Smith, in 
whom we see another form of Hephais- 
tos or Wayland. The incident of the 
cutting up of the body of Pelias occurs 
also in the German story of Brother 
Lustig. Medeia herself appears in 
benignant guise in the legend of the 
Goose-girl at the Well (the Dawn- 
maiden with her snow-white clouds). 

* Professor Max Miiller refers Pro- 
kris to the Sanskrit prush and prish, 
to sprinkle, used chiefly of raindrops. 
The same root in the Teutonic 

languages has taken the sense of 
' frost,' and Bopp identifies prush with 
the O. H. G. frus, frigere. In Greek 
we must refer to the same root irp<L(, 
■xpaKis, a dewdrop, and also Prokris, 
the dew. Thus the wife of Kephalos is 
only a repetition of Herse', her mother — 
Herse, dew, being derived from Sanskrit 
prish, to sprinkle." — "Comparative 
Mythology,'*' Chips, eVf., ii. 87. 

_ 3 In the myth of Ikaros, or Ikarios, 
this dog appears under the name Maira 
(the glistening), who helps Erigone the 
daughter of Ikarios in her search for 


these gifts she returns to Kephalos, who after seeing he* success in 

the chase longs to possess them. But they can be yielded only in ■ 

return for his love, and thus Prokris brings home to him the wrong 

done to herself, and Eos is for the time discomfited. But Prokris 

still fears the jealousy of Eos and watches Kephalos as he goes forth 

to hunt, until, as one day she lurked among the thick bushes, the 

unerring dart of Artemis hurled by Kephalos brings the life of the 

gentle Prokris to an end. This myth explains itself. Kephalos is 

the head of the sun, and Kephalos loves Prokris, — in other words, 

the sun loves the dew. But Eos also loves Kephalos, i.e. the dawn 

loves the sun, and thus at once we have the groundwork for her 

envy of Prokris. So again when we are told that, though Prokris 

breaks her faith, yet her love is still given to the same Kephalos, 

different though he may appear, we have here only a myth formed 

from phrases which told how the dew seems to reflect many suns 

which are yet the same sun. The gifts of Artemis are the rays which 

flash from each dewdrop, and which Prokris is described as being 

obliged to yield up to Kephalos, who slays her as unwittingly as 

Phoibos causes the death of Daphne or Alpheios that of Arethousa. 

The spot where she dies is a thicket, in which the last dewdrops 

would linger before the approach of the midday heats. 

The various incidents belonging to the life of Eos are so trans- E6s and 
parent that the legend can scarcely be said to be a myth at all. Her Tlth6nos - 
name is, as we have seen, that of the Vedic dawn-goddess Ushas, and 
she is a daughter of Hyperion (the soaring sun) and of Euryphassa 
(the broad shining), and a sister of the sun and moon (Helios and 
Selene). If Ovid calls her a child of Pallas, this is only saying again 
that she is the offspring of the dawn. Like Phoibos and Herakles, 
she has many loves ; but from all she is daily parted. Every morn- 
ing she leaves the couch of Tith6nos, 1 and drawn by the gleaming 
steeds Lampos and Phaethon, rises into heaven to announce to the 
gods and to mortal men the coming of the sun. In the Odyssey she 
closes, as she began, the day. Her love, which is given to Tithonos 
and Kephalos, is granted also to Orion 2 (the sun in his character as 
the hunting and far-shooting god), whom according to one version 
she conveys to Delos, the bright land, but who in another is slain by 
the arrow of Artemis. She also carries to the home of the gods the 

the body of her father, who has been of Helene 1 Dendritis. Ikaros, the son of 

slain by the peasants and thrown into Daidalos, is only a reflexion of Phaeth6n. 
the well Anygros (the parched). Her ' The lot of Tith6nos is simply the 

grief leads her to hang herself on a tree reverse of that of Endymi6n. 
under which he was buried, a myth a Brown, Great Dionysiak Myth, ii. 

which suggests a comparison with that 275. 

' R 




Hebe and 



The story 
of Dido 
and Anna. 

beautiful Kleitos. Her children are born in many lands. As united 
with Astraios, the starry, she is the mother of Zephyros, Boreas, and 
Notos, the breezes or winds of morning, and of Heosphoros, the 
light-bringer. Another son of Eos is Phaethon, of whom mytho- 
graphers spoke as the luckless son of Helios, but who is really the 
same being with his father. Finally, she is the mother of Memnon, 
the chieftain from the glistening land of the Aithiopians (Ethiopians), 
who falls by the spear of Antilochos, and on whose death she weeps 
tears of morning dew, and obtains from Zeus the boon that he shall 
rise again to renewed and endless life. 

Another form of Eos is the beautiful Hebe, ever young, on whom 
is bestowed without any drawback the youthfulness of the maimed 
Hephaistos. She is the daughter necessarily of Zeus and Here\ 
Like the Vedic Ahana or Ushas she can make the old young again, 
and she ministers to the gods the life-giving nectar and ambrosia. 
But Hebe, though the bride of the deified Herakles, or the mother 
of his children Alexiares and Aniketos, the invincible deliverers, re- 
mains little more than a name. She is Ganymede, the brilliant ; and 
thus what Iris is to Hermes, that is H6be to Ganymedes, the lovely 
Trojan youth who is borne away on the eagle's wing to the Olympian 
heaven, where he also became the immortal cup-bearer of the gods. 
Thus in both alike we see the morning light carried up into heaven 
on the wings of the sunlit cloud. 1 

The same story of unrequited love which has been embodied in 
the myths of Ariadne: and Medeia, of Selene and Echo, meets us 
again in the legends which the Latin poets modified to suit their own 
traditions, or their prejudices and fancies. But although Virgil has 
chosen to mix up the story of Dido with that of ^Eneas (Aineias), he 
has introduced into it little or nothing which is not found in the myth 
as related by Justin. In fact, the story of Aphrodite or Daphne is 
twice told in the life of Dido, for the Sichaeus or Acerbas whose 
death she bewails is the Adonis who, like Sichaeus, is slain by the 
dark being or power of night. As the Panis look greedily on the 
cattle of Indra, Pygmalion 2 covets the vast treasures which Sichaeus 
possesses with Tantalos, Sisyphos, Helen and Brynhild, or Ixion ; and 
thus is the husband of Dido murdered, her first and, according to 
the version of Justin, her only love, and his wealth is in the hands of 
his destroyer. But the idea of dwelling with Pygmalion is as hateful 

1 For Slavonic versions of this myth 
see Ralston, Songs of the Russian People, 

2 The antagonism between Pygma- 
lion and Sichaeus answers to that of 

Sat-Osiris and Typhon. " The one who 
is slain signifies the pure, ' Zakkai,' 
and Pohem Elyon, ' the murderer of the 
Most High.'"— Brown, Great Dionysiak 
Myth, ii. 289. 


to her as Paris became to the Helen whom he had stolen with her CHAP. 

treasures. As faithful to the memory of her lost love as is Sarama to ■ '• — 

Indra, Dido pretends to listen to. the traitor, while she makes ready 
for flight. In her new home another suitor appears in the Libyan 
Hiarbas, who repeats the importunities of the Ithakan suitors, until 
Dido, wearied out, promises to do as he wishes ; but having made a 
huge pile for the offering of a hecatomb, she slays herself upon it, 
declaring that now she is going, as her people and the Libyans 
desired it, to her husband. The version of Virgil differs from this 
in little more than a name. yEneas is only another form of the 
bright being with whom Dido would willingly have dwelt for ever ; 
but he is the sun-god who cannot pause to bestow on her his love, 
or who must hasten away after a brief mockery of gladness. In the 
former case, the myth answers to the legends of Adonis, Endymion, 
or Narkissos ; in the latter the desertion of Dido is but the desertion 
of Prokris, Ariadne, or Koronis; and the Tyrian Elissa dies, like 
HeraklSs, amid the flames of a fiery sunset. The same story is 
repeated yet again in the myth of Anna, the sister of Dido, whom 
Latin tradition identified with the goddess Anna Perenna. 1 After 
her sister's death Anna follows ^Eneas to Italy, where, though she is 
kindly received by him, she finds in Lavinia a Prokris, whom she, 
like Eos, must regard with deadly jealousy. But her arms are turned 
not upon her rival but upon herself; and the second woman who has 
lavished her affections on vEneas casts herself into the same Numician 
stream in which ^Eneas afterwards disappears from the sight of men. 
The same repetitions mark the story of ^Eneas, who, although fight- 
ing (reluctantly, as some versions have it) on the side of the thief 
who steals Helen, is yet a being like the Lykian Sarpedon or the 
Aithiopian Memnon. Like them, he is the child not of a mortal 
mother, but of the brilliant goddess of the dawn, and in the Trojan 
army he plays the part of Achilleus in the Achaian host. Like the 
son of Thetis, he is the possessor of immortal horses, and like him 

1 This name was naturally referred to head: She gives subsistence; she is 

the words annus and perennis by a people bent by the weight of her full breasts, 

■who had retained the mere name with- all good is united in her. " In short, 

out its meaning. Hence the goddess she is a deity who, in Colebrooke's 

became to the Latins the bestower of words, " fills with food, and is very 

fruitful seasons ; but the false etymology similar to Lakshmi, or the goddess of 

of the prayer, " ut annare perennareque abundance, although not the same 

commode liceat," happened to corre- deity." The title Apna, in which we 

spond with the original force of the see the root ap (aqua), points to nourish- 

name, if Anna Perenna be the San- ment by water, while the name Purna 

skrit Apnapurna, who is described comes apparently from the same stem 

as "of ruddy complexion, her robe of with the Latin pario, to produce. — 

various colours, a crescent on her fore- Nork, Real- Wortarbuch, i. 89. 


BOOK he is at feud with the king, for Priam fails to do him honour, as 

• : — • Agamemnon heaps disgrace on Achilleus. From the flames of the 

ruined Ilion he escapes bearing on. his shoulders his father Anchises, 
the aged man who, while yet he had the youth and beauty of 
Tithonos, had been the darling of Aphroditd. His wife Creusa 
(Kreiousa, a name answering to that of Euryanassa, the wide-ruling, 
and being simply the feminine form of Kreon or Kreion) comes 
behind him like the twilight following the sun who is hastening on 
into the land of night. But the twilight must vanish before the sun 
can be seen again, and Creusa dies or disappears, like Helle, — the 
converse of the myth of Hero and Leiandros (Leander). But ./Eneas, 
like Herakles, has other loves before him ; and the fortunes of Dido 
and Anna are brought before us again in the legend of the Italian 
Lavinia. She too is the bright Helen for whom kings and nations 
are ready to fight and die ; but although ^Eneas wins her, there re- 
main yet other dangers and other enemies, and in the final strife with 
the Rutulians the dawn-child vanishes in the stream of Numicius, as 
Arethousa and Daphne 1 plunge into the waters from which Ana- 
dyomene comes up in the morning. The true feeling of the people 
who recounted this myth is shown in the title which they accorded 
to him. Henceforth he is Jupiter Indiges, the father from whom 
they spring, and who bestows upon them all that makes life worth 
living for. 
H&6 and The same story of disastrous love is presented under other names 

in the legend of Leiandros (Leander), a myth which exhibits the 
sun as plunging through the waters to reach the beautiful morning, 
who holds out her gleaming light in the east ; for Hero (whose name 
is identical with that of Here) is the priestess of the dawn-goddess 
Aphrodite, and the road which separates her lover from herself is 
the Hellespontos, the Lykabas or path of light, the track of Helle 
the dawn-maiden. Hero, again, dwells in the eastern Lesbos, while 
Leiandros has his home in Abydos. He is thus the Phoibos Del- 
phinios, the fish or frog-sun, who dies in the furious storm ; and 
through grief for her lost love Hero casts herself into the waters, like 
Kephalos from the Leukadian cliff after the death of Prokris. 

irftte Sun? Not less sad than that of Prokris or of Dido is the lot of Iole, 
Iokaste, Aithra, Auge, Danae, or Ariadne. Tn the first two of these 
forsaken wives or desolate mothers we see the violet tints of morning, 
which reappear in Iamos, Iolaos, and Ias6n. From Herakles, Iole 
is parted almost at the moment when she meets him. Her beautiful 
form is seen near his funeral pile, as the violet-tinted clouds may be 
seen among the flaming vapours lit up in a blood-red sunset ; and as 


the blaze of the fire which consumes the body of Herakles rises to the CHAP. 

heavens, she is left alone in her sorrow to vanish before trfe cheerless ■ ^ — 

gloaming. The fate of Iokaste had for the Greeks of the age of 
Perikles a more terrible significance. She is not only the mother of 
Oidipous, but his wife. As his mother, she had been tortured by 
seeing her child torn from her arms, to be cast away on Mount 
Kithairon ; and the shame of finding herself his wife after his victory 
over the Sphinx drives her to end her misery with her own hands. 1 
According to the version of Hyginus, the life of Aithra (the pure 
air), the mother of Theseus, had the same end. Long ago she had 
been loved by Bellerophon ; but when he was driven from Corinth, 
she became the wife of the Athenian Aigeus, who left her with the 
infant Theseus at Troizen, having, like the father of Sigurd, placed 
his invincible weapons under a large stone, that his son might become 
possessed of them only when he had reached his full strength. 
Later still, the Dioskouroi, it is said, carried her away to Sparta, 
where she became the slave of Helen, and whence with Helen she 
was taken to Troy, to be brought back again through the prayers of 
her grandson Demophon. By the same hard fate, Auge, the (brilliant) 
daughter of Neaira, who, as the early morning, reappears as the 
mother of the nymphs Phaethousa and Lampetie in the Odyssey, no 
sooner becomes the mother of Telephos (the being who shines from 
far) than she is deprived of her child, who is exposed on Mount 
Parthenion. The story of Ariadne exhibits much the same outlines. 
She is the daughter of Minos, the son of Zeus, and the all-brilliant 
PasiphaS, who is the mother of the Minotauros, as the bright Here 
is the mother of Typhaoa In the slaughter of this monster she has 
a share corresponding to that of Medeia in the conquest of the bulls 
and the dragon-sprung men ; like Medeia, she accompanies the con- 
queror, and like her she is deserted by him. Ariadne then either 
slays herself, like Iokaste and Auge, Dido or Anna, or becomes the 
wife of Dionysos, who places her among the stars. In substance 
this is also the story of the Argive Danae, who is shut up by her 
father Akrisios in a brazen dungeon, 2 which Zeus enters in the form 
of a golden shower, as the light of morning pierces the dark chambers 
of the night. She thus becomes the mother of Perseus ; but, as in 
the case of Oidipous, the oracle had foretold that if she had a son, 
he would become the slayer of her father Akrisios, and Akrisios, 

1 Iokaste" is the wife of the gloomy night. 
Laios : in other words, the dawn from 2 The Iron Stove of the German 

which the sun is born may be regarded story. (Grimm.) 
as the wife of the dark and cheerless 


BOOK anxious like Laios to preserve his own life, placed Danae and her 
H- child in a chest, as according to one version Oidipous also was 
placed and borne away to Brasiai. The story of her sojourn in the 
house of Polydekt£s at Seriphos, of his persecutions and the more 
benignant treatment of his brother Diktys, of her rescue on the return 
of her son, and her restoration to her native land, belongs rather 
to the mythical history of Perseus. The myth of Andromeda, the 
beautiful daughter of the Aithiopian king Kepheus, is less gloomy ; 
but although her woes seem to end with her deliverance from the 
dragon, she had up to that time had her full share of sorrow. Her 
mother Kassiopeia had, like Niobe, boasted that her child was more 
beautiful even than the daughters of Nereus, who prayed to Poseidon 
to avenge the insult, as Leto called on Phoibos to requite the wrong 
done to her by Niobd. Poseidon accordingly brought the waters of 
the sea over the land, and with them a sea-monster who, like the 
Sphinx or the Minotauros, can be satisfied only with human blood 
The former fills the streets of Thebes with corpses ; the latter exacts 
the yearly tribute of the dawn-children. But the solitary Andromeda, 
abandoned to the huge sea-dragon, takes a firmer hold on the popu- 
lar imagination, and is reproduced in a thousand forms, from the 
women rescued by Oidipous and Theseus down to Una and her Red 
Cross Knight. All these deliverers are men unknown to fame ; but 
they are all endowed with powers for which they who see them give 
them no credit, and they all exhibit the manly type of generous 
chivalry which finds its consummation in the pure Sir Galahad. 
The Arka- The same idea is the groundwork of the myth of the Arkadian 
dian AugS. Auge, the clear atmosphere of the land of light. Hence the local 
myth necessarily related that Heraldes came to her whenever he 
visited Tegea, and thus she becomes the mother of one of the fatal 
children whose life begins and ends in disaster. No sooner is her 
son born than her father Aleos decrees her death and the exposure 
of the child. But Auge is saved to become the wife of the Mysian 
Teuthras, or, according to another version, to escape narrowly the 
fate of the Theban Iokaste, and in the end to be brought back to Tegea 
by her son Telephos, as Perseus brings his mother back to Argos. 
Eurdpe The story of Europe brings before us the dawn, not as fleeing 

Bui." 16 f rom t ^ e P ursu i t °f tne sun J but as borne across the heaven by the 
lord of the pure ether. Zeus here, like Indra, himself assumes the 
form of a bull, and takes away the child as she plays with her 
brother in her Phenician home. 1 Almost every name in the myth 

1 This bull reappears in the Norse endowed with the powers of Wish. In 
tale of Katie Wooden-cloak (Dasent), its left ear is a cloth which, when spread 


tells its own tale, although we may perhaps have to put aside the chap. 

names of Agenor and Kadmos as merely Hellenised forms of the ■ i — • 

Semitic Kedem and Chnas. Europe herself, the splendour of morn- 
ing, seen first in the Phoinikian or purple land, is the child of Tele- 
phassa, the being whose light streams from afar ; l and in her first 
loveliness she is lost to those who delight in her, when she is snatched 
away to her western exile. Then follows the long journey of Kad- 
mos and Telephassa, the weary search of the sun through the 
livelong day for his early lost sister or bride. There were obviously 
a thousand ways of treating the myth. They might recover her in 
the end, as Alpheios is reunited to Arethousa and Perseus comes 
again to Danae" ; but as it might be said that they might behold her 
like hereafter, so the tale might run that the being who had delighted 
them with her beauty should be seen herself again no more. The 
myth of Europe sets forth the latter notion. Telephassa sinks down 
and dies far in the west on the plains of Thessaly, and Kadmos, 
journeying westward still, learns at Delphoi that he is to seek his 
sister no longer. 

The myth of Althaia sets forth the dawn or morning as the Althaia 
mother of a child whose life is bound up with a burning brand. As burning- 
soon as the brand is burnt out her son will die, according to the brand -° 
.inexorable doom pronounced by the Moirai. This brand is the 
torch of day, which is extinguished when the sun sinks beneath the 
western horizon. From this conception of the sun's course sprung 
the idea that his mother kept him alive by snatching the log from 
the fire. But although Meleagros is, like Phoibos and Achilleus, 
invincible and invulnerable, the words of the Moirai must be accom- 
plished ; and as the mother of the sun may be either the dark night 
or the nourishing dawn (Althaia), so the wife of Oineus has her kins- 
folk among the dark beings ; and when these are slain by Meleagros, 
she thrusts the brand again into the fire, and the life of her brilliant 
child smoulders away. But his death brings with it the death alike 
of his mother and his bride, for the tints of the dawn or the gloaming 
cannot linger long after the sun is down. The names introduced 

out, furnishes abundant banquets for through fearful conflicts with the Trolls, 

the dawn-maiden, who has been thrust before the happy end is brought about 

out of her father's house ; but when the by means of a golden slipper as in the 

stepmother says that she cannot rest stories of Cinderella and Sodewa Bai. 
until she has eaten the Dun Bull's flesh, ' Pindar (Pyth. iv. ) speaks of EuropS 

the beast, hearing her, tells the dawn- as a daughter of Tityos, a gigantic being, 

maiden that, if she wills, he will carry who is slain by the swift arrow of 

her away. The pursuit of Katie on her Artemis, and condemned to a like 

bull is the chase of Iason by the angry penalty with Ixlfin, Sisyphos, Tantalos, 

Aiet^s, not the loving search of Kadmos and Prometheus, 
and Telephassa ; and the bull has to go 




into this myth are found for the most part in a host of other stories. 
She is the daughter of Eurythemis, a reflexion of Europe' or Eury- 
ganeia, and a sister of Leda, the mother of the brilliant Dioskouroi ; 
and among her own children is Deianeira, whose union with Herakles 
is fatal to the hero. 1 Of Kleopatra, the beautiful wife of Meleagros, 
there is little more to say than that she is, like DaphnS and Arethousa, 
a child of the waters, the Eudnos being her father, and that, like 
Oinone and Brynhild, she dies of grief when the chequered life of the 
being whom she loves has been brought to an end. 

Section VI.— ATHENE. 

The ori- 
ginal idea 
of AthenS 




The name Athene is practically a transliteration of the Vedic 
Ahana, the morning, which in a cognate form appears as Dahana, the 
Greek Daphne. 2 The myths which have clustered round this greatest 
of Hellenic dawn-goddesses differ indefinitely in detail ; but all may 
manifestly be traced back to the same source, and resolved into the 
same mythical phrases. She is pre-eminently the child of the waters, 
she springs from the forehead of the sky, and remains fresh, pure, 
and undefiled for ever. In her origin the virgin deity of the Athenian 
Akropolis was strictly physical; but the notion of the being who 
wakes up the world after the darkness of night might soon pass into 
that of wisdom, the connexion between light and knowledge (the 
<£c3s and yvwo-is of the Fourth Gospel) being of the closest kind. 
Thus, in one of the Vedic hymns we have already had the phrase 
that the dawn as waking every mortal to walk about receives praise 
from every thinker. But as being sprung from the forehead of the 
sky, she may be expected to know the secrets of heaven ; and thus 
we have in Athene a being who, like Phoibos, is filled with all the 
wisdom of Zeus. In the earlier form of the myth neither the Vedic 
Ahana nor the Hellenic Athen£ has any mother. In the Rig Veda, 
" Ushas, the dawn, sprang from the head of Dyu, the murddhadivah, 
the East, the forehead of the sky." s 

But if AthenS is Zeus-born, the poet, when he tells us this, speaks 
of her as Tritogeneia, the child of Tritos. 4 It is strange that this 

1 Deianeira is the last of the many 
brides of Herakles, and belongs, in truth, 
rather to the darkness than the light, 
and as sending to him the fatal garment, 
may be regarded as rather the colleague 
or bride of the enemy of the day : and 
thus her name is Dasyanari, the wife of 
the fiend. — Chips, iW., ii. 89, 234. 

2 See note 4, p. 230. 

3 Max Miiller, ii, " Homer knows 
of no mother of Athene", nor does the 
Veda mention a name for the mother of 
the dawn, though her parents are spoken 
of in the dual." 

* Hes. Theog. 924. 



god, whose name differs so slightly from that of the water-god Triton, 
should have so far disappeared from the memory of the Greeks as to • 
leave them at a loss to account for the epithet except by connecting 
it with places bearing a similar name, as among others the Libyan 
lake Tritonis, and the Boiotian stream Triton, on whose banks, as on 
those of the Attic stream, towns sprung up called Athenai and 
Eleusis. 1 In short, every stream so named became a birthplace for 
Athene, although the meaning of the old phrase was not lost, until 
an attempt was made, by referring the myth to the alleged Eolic word 
for a head, to resolve it into the story of her springing from the head 
of Zeus. But the fact that in the Veda Trita rules over the water 
and the air, establishes the identity of Trito or Tritos, the father of 
Athene, not only with that deity, but with Triton, Amphitrite, and 
the Tritopatores or lords of the winds. 2 The theory which, from the 
supposed Libyan birthplace of Athgne, infers a relation between 
Egyptian and Hellenic mythology need not be considered here. 

1 This connexion of the dawn with 
water runs through almost every legend 
which turns on the phenomena of morn- 
ing. Thus in the Norse tale of Katie 
Wooden-c.loak, the dawn-maiden, while 
working humbly like Cinderella in the 
kitchen, asks permission to take up 
water for the prince, who will receive 
no service from one so mean-looking. 
Next day she appears at the palace on 
a splendid steed, and to his question 
whence she comes, her reply is, " I'm 
from Bath ; " the next day she is from 
Towel-land, the third day from Comb- 
land, the comb being that with which 
the dawn-maidens always comb their 
golden locks by the water-side. 

2 M. Breal, who traces this identity, 
Hercule et Cacus, 1 7, cites the words of 
Suidas, '* TpiToirdTopes' Atj/jluv kv t?7 
'AtBLSi tblJiTiy avefiovs eival robs TpiToird- 
Topas." It is said of Indra that, " ani- 
mated by the sacrificial food, he broke 
through the defences of Vala, as did 
Trita through the coverings of the well. " 
— H. H. Wilson, R.V.S, vol. i. p. 141. 
Professor Wilson here remarks that 
"Ekata, Dwita, and Trita [the first, 
second, and third] were three men pro- 
duced in water, by Agni, for the purpose 
of removing or rubbing off the reliques 
of an oblation of clarified butter. The 
Scholiast . . . says that Agni threw the 
cinders of the burn^-offering into the 
water, whence successively arose Ekata, 
Dwita, and Trita, who, as elsewhere 
appears, were therefore called Aptyas or 

sons of water.'' Noticing Dr. Roth's 
opinion that Trita is the same name as 
Thraetana (Feridun), he says that the 
identity of Trita and Traitana remains 
to be established. It is, at the least, 
not disproved by the story which he 
cites as setting it aside. This story is 
that " the slaves of Dirghotamas, when 
he was old and blind, became insub- 
ordinate, and attempted to destroy him, 
first by throwing him into the fire, 
whence he was saved by the Asvins, 
then into water, whence he was extri- 
cated by the same divinities ; upon which 
Traitana, one of the slaves, wounded him 
on the head, breast, and arms, and then 
inflicted like injuries on himself, of 
which he perished. " This story becomes 
clear throughout when compared with 
the myth of E6s, who, like the slaves 
of Dirghotama, shut up the decrepit 
Tithonos. In the story of Dirghotamas 
and Yayatis, Count de Gubernatis dis- 
cerns King Lear in embryo. Cordelia is 
here the third son who consents to 
become old in his father's stead, when 
his two elder brothers refuse ; or in 
another version the youngest child, who 
remains with his parents when these 
have been driven from their home by 
the elder children. In Thraetana 
Athwyana, the son of Thrita Athwya, 
Professor Th. Benfey recognises the 
TritOnis Athana of the Greeks. See 
also Gubernatis, Zoological Mythology, 
i. 24. 



of Athene. 

The Hesiodic Theogony assigns Metis (a name akin to that ot 

the wise Medeia) as a mother to Athene ; but this story is reconciled 

with the other myth by saying, that by the counsel of Ouranos and 

Gaia Zeus swallowed Metis before her child was born. The saying 

of Pindar, that Hephaistos at her birth split the forehead of Zeus 

with a brazen axe, may point to the sudden stream of light shooting 

up in the morning sky, or to the lightning flash which reveals the 

darkened heaven , 1 and in the golden shower which falls at her birth, 

we have a repetition of the mode in which Danae became the 

mother of Perseus. 2 When Apollodoros and others say that the 

forehead of Zeus was cloven by Prometheus or Hermes, we have 

only to remember that these are both spoken of (together with the 

Argive Phoroneus) as the first givers of the boon of fire to mankind* 

As springing from the forehead of Zeus, Athene was known as 

Koryphasia in Messene, as Akria in Argos, while Minerva was called 

Capta (capita) at Rome. 4 But there were also traditions which spoke 

of her as a child not of Zeus, but of the giant Pallas,' who attempts 

to violate her purity, and is therefore slain by her. Here we have 

the dawn regarded as springing from the night, and the night as 

seeking to mar or to destroy his offspring. It is, in short, the myth 

which makes Laios, Akrisios, and Astyages hate their children, who 

are in their turn doomed to slay their sires, as Athene 1 slays the 

monster Pallas. The legend which makes her a daughter of Poseidon 

is merely a statement that the morning is born from the waters. But 

as with the dawn there comes generally the morning breeze (Sara- 

meya, Hermeias, Hermes, the child of Sarama.) with its sweet and 

soothing tones, so when, by the aid of Athene, Perseus has slain the 

dark Gorgon, Athen& is said, like Hermes, to have invented the flute 

in order to imitate the plaintive sounds in which the Gorgon sisters 

mourned the slain Medousa. 6 

But pure and undefiled though the dawn may be, she is yet 
Ph >t 'h rof f°l' owe d by th e sun > w h° ma y therefore be regarded as her offspring; 
and Lych- and thus Phoibos Apollon was sometimes called a son of Hephaistos 


1 Preller, Grieschische Mythologie, i. 
151, regards the axe splitting the fore- 
head of Zeus as the lightning. 

2 Pind. Olymp. vii. 65. The ex- 
pression applied to Ath6n£, aha\a.\iv 
!m<iiudi, H Poif, indicates the din of a 

8 Apollod. i. 3, 5. The myth which 
makes Hephaistos himself her father 
speaks only of the burst of flaming light 
from which the day seems to be born. 

* Max Muller, Lectures on Language, 

second series, 503. 

s This name is manifestly only 
another form of Phallos. 

Pind. Pyth. xii. 35. The knife with 
which Perseus slays the Gorgon comes 
from Athene ; it is the same weapon 
with which Hermes put out the eyes of 
Argos. But when the head of the dark 
Gorgon has been cut off, "the light, 
veiled for a moment, soon reappears on 
the Aigis of the dawn-queen." — Brown, 
The Unicorn, 52. 

Athene glauk6pis. 251 

and AthenS, while another version expressed the sarne idea by CHAP. 

making them the parents of Lychnos (the brilliant), another Phae- '• — ■ 

thon. 1 As the dawn-goddess, she can keep men young, or make 
them old. She rouses them to fresh vigour from healthful sleep, or 
as the days come round she brings them at last to old age and death. 
From her come the beauty and strength, the golden locks and 
piercing glances of Achilleus and Odysseus. But when for the 
accomplishment of the great work it becomes needful that Odysseus 
shall enter his own house as a toilwom beggar, it is Athene who 
dims the brightness of his eye, and wraps him in squalid raiment, 2 
and again she restores his former majesty when once more he is to 
meet his son Telemachos. 3 So, again, she preserves to Penelope all 
the loveliness of her youth, and presents her to Odysseus as beautiful 
as when he left her twenty years ago, when the Achaian hosts set out 
for Ilion, while she restores Laertes also to something of his ancient 
vigour. 4 

Of the vast number of names by which she was known and Epithets of 
worshipped, the earliest probably, and certainly the most common, 
denote the light. She is especially the goddess of the grey or gleam- 
ing face, Glaukopis. She is Optiletis, Oxyderkes, Ophthalmitis, the 
being of keen eyes and piercing vision. But these epithets might, it 
is plain, be made to bear a moral or intellectual meaning ; and thus 
a starting-point would be furnished for the endless series of names 
which described her as full of wisdom and counsel, as enforcing 
order and justice, as promoting the tillage of the earth, and as foster- 
ing all science and all art. Thus the epithets Akria and Akraia, 
which can be rightly interpreted only after a comparison with her 
other names, Koryphasia and Capta, might be taken to denote her 
protection of cities and fortresses, while her name Ageleia, as the 
driver of the clouds whom Sarama leads forth to their pastures, might 
be regarded as denoting her care for those who till the soil or keep 
herds. But her physical character is never kept out of sight. She 
is the goddess especially of the Athenians, and of the dawn city 
which received her name after the contest in which she produced the 
olive against the horse created by Poseidon, for so it was decreed by 
Zeus that the city should be called after the deity who should confer 
the greatest boon on man, and the sentence was that the olive, as the 

1 Athene also brings up and nourishes dess forbade it.'' Rather, it was for- 

Erechtheus, and lodges him in her own bidden only by the form which the idea 

temple. On this Mr. Grote, History of of Athtkie assumed in the minds of the 

Greece, i. 75, remarks, "It was alto- Athenians; and the reason is obvious, 
gether impossible to make Erechtheus - Od. xiii. 430. 

the son of Atheng : the type of the god- « Od. xvi. 172. * lb. xxiv. 368. 


BOOK emblem of peace, was better than the horse, whose chief us^s was for 

• '■ — • war. But the city so named after her was emphatically the glistening 

city (\nrapal 'Adrjvai), although the epithet, it seems, was so little 
applicable to it in its outward aspect that the Athenians of the 
historical ages prized it with a jealous earnestness, and were ready to 
grant any prayer made by people who addressed them as citizens of 
brilliant Athens. 
Athene the She is, however, the guardian not of Athenians only but of all 
Ifheroes. the solar neroes ', in ller Bellerophontes, Achilleus, Heraklgs and 
Perseus, Odysseus and Diomedes, find their unfailing friend and 
comforter. From her come all wealth and prosperity, and accord- 
ingly we find the special emblems of wealth and fertility intimately 
associated with her worship. Her sacred serpent was fed on the 
Akropolis, and yearly in her great procession the sacred ship, 
covered with the peplos woven by Athenian maidens, was carried 
to her shrine. 1 In one of the so-called Orphic hymns, 2 she is said to 
be both male and female, and thus to remain unwedded. Doubtless 
the dawn may be regarded as of spotless purity and unfading loveli- 
ness, and this idea might give rise to images of transcendent holiness 
and majesty ; but she may be thought of also not only as giving 
birth to children, but as being sensible to passion, and we are not 
justified in leaving out of sight those myths which present Athene in 
this light On the one hand, according to one story, she blinds 
Teiresias because he had looked upon her unclothed form (a myth 
closely akin to that of the dazzling treasures of Ixion, which no man 
might look upon and live), and shrinks with loathing from Hephaistos 
when he seeks to lay hands upon her. On the other, the myth of 
Prometheus exhibits her as aiding him in his theft of fire against the 
will of Zeus, while one version represents her as so acting from 
feelings not of friendship but of love. In general, however, the 
harmony between the dawn and the sky from which it springs, in 
other words, between Zeus and Athene, is undisturbed ; and thus 
when Zeus is determined to take vengeance for the deceit put upon 
him by Prometheus, Athene lends herself as a willing accomplice in 
his scheme. She is to teach Pandora the skilful use of the loom, 
while Aphrodite' is to adorn her with all the enticements of physical 
beauty, and Hermes is to give her a crafty and thievish mind and 
temper. 3 But even in the Iliad where she is generally represented 

1 See section xii. of this chapter. the girdle on Pandora and made her 

2 xxxii. beautiful may be regarded as another 
8 Hes. Op. et Dies. 6o, ri scq. The version of the myth. It is certainly not 

Statement in line 72 that Athene placed in accordance with line 65. 


as being in perfect accord with the will of Zeus, she engages, chap. 

as we have seen, in an abortive conspiracy to bind Zeus, in which ■ ^— - 

she is the accomplice of Here and Poseidon. 1 

In all her essential attributes, the Hellenic AthenS is represented The Latin 
by the Latin Minerva, a name which Professor Max Miiller connects • 
with mens, the Greek /xeVos, and the Sanskrit manas, mind, and com- 
pares it with mane, the morning, Mania, an old name of the mother of 
the Lares, and the verb manare as applied especially to the sun, while 
Matuta and other kindred words denote the dawn. 2 Whatever may be 
the connexion between Minerva and Matuta, we can scarcely fail to 
see the affinity of the name with the verb promenervare, used in the 
Carmen Saliare as an equivalent to the kindred moneo, to admonish. 
The Latin Minerva, as embodying a purely intellectual idea, is thus 
a being even more majestic than the Hellenic Athene ; and to so 
intellectual a conception we should scarcely expect that many fables 
would attach themselves. Hence the Latin Minerva can scarcely be 
said to have any mythology. Like Ceres she stands alone in incom- 
municable sanctity and in unfathomable wisdom. 


The story told in the Hesiodic Theogony is manifestly a com- B; rt h of 
paratively late form of the legend of Aphrodite. Yet it resolves Aphrodite, 
itself almost at the first touch into the early mythical phrases. 
From the blood of the mutilated Ouranos which fell upon the sea 
sprang the beautiful goddess who made Kythera and Kypros her 
home, as Phoibos dwelt in Lykia and in Delos. This is but saying 
in other words that the morning, the child of the heaven, springs up 
first from the sea, as Athene also is born by the water-side. But as 
Athene became the special embodiment of the keen wisdom which 
Phoibos alone shared with her, so on AphroditS, the child of the froth 
or foam of the sea, was lavished all the wealth of words denoting the 
loveliness of the morning ; and thus the Hesiodic poet goes on at once 
to say that the grass sprung up under her feet as she moved, that Eros, 
Love, walked by her side, and Himeros, Longing, followed after her. 8 
At her birth she is not only the beautiful Anadyomene of Apelles, as 
the sun whom Selene comes to greet is Endymion, 4 but she is also 

1 //. i. 400. searches, 136. 

2 Lectures on Language, second 3 Theog. 194-201. 

esries, 505. To the same root, probably, * The words tell each its own story, 

must be referred the epithet moneta, the one denoting uprising from water, 

applied to Juno as the guardian of as the other denotes the down-plunging 

the mint on the Capitoline hill. But into it, the root being found also in the 

see also Isaac Taylor, Etruscan Re- English dive, and the German taufen. 




The min- 
isters of 

Enalia and Pontia, the deity of the deep sea. 1 In our Iliad and 
Odyssey the myth is scarcely yet crystallised. In the former poem 
Aphroditd is the daughter of Zeus and Dione, in whom was seen the 
mother of Dionysos after her resurrection. In the Odyssey she is the 
wife of Hephaistos, whose love for Ar£s forms the subject of the lay 
of Demodokos. Here she is attended by the Charites who wash her 
and anoint her with oil at Paphos. In the Iliad, however, the wife 
of Hephaistos is Charis, and thus we are brought back to the old 
myth in which both Charis and Aphrodite are mere names for the 
glistening dawn. In Charis we have simply the brilliancy produced 
by fat or ointment, 3 which is seen again in Liparai Athanai, the 
gleaming city of the morning. In the Vedic hymns this epithet has 
already passed from the dawn or the sun to the shining steeds which 
draw their chariot, and the Haris and Harits are the horses of Indra, 
the sun, and the dawn, as the Rohits are the horses of Agni, the fire. 8 
Thus also the single Charis of the Iliad is converted into the 
Charites of the Odyssey, the graceful beings whose form in Hellenic 
mythology is always human. 4 

With this origin of the name Charis all the myths which have 
gathered round the Charites are in the closest agreement ; and 
they do but resolve themselves, somewhat monotonously, into ex- 
pressions denoting the birth of the morning from the heavens or the 
sky, and the sea or the waters. In the Hesiodic Theogony, the 
Charis who is the wife of Hephaistos is called Aglaia (the shining), 

1 This notion is seen in the strange 
myth of transformations in which to 
escape from Typhon in the war between 
Zeus and the Titans, Aphrodit6, like 
Phoibos and Onnes, Thetis or Proteus, 
assumes the form of a fish. Ov. Met. 
v. 331. With this idea there is pro- 
bably mingled in this instance the 
notion of the vesica piscis as the emblem 
of generation, and denoting the special 
function of AphroditS. The same em- 
blematical form is seen in the kestos or 
cestus of Aphrodite, which answers to 
the necklace of Harmonia or Eriphyle. 
This cestus has the magic power of in- 
spiring love, and is used by Here, when 
she wishes to prevent Zeus from marring 
her designs. 

2 Max Muller, Lectures on Language, 
second series, 369, 375. The Latin 
Gratia belongs to the same root, which 
yields — as has been already noticed — our 
"grease." Objections founded on any 
supposed degrading association of ideas 
In this connexion are themselves un- 

worthy and trivial. Professor Muller 
remarks that " as fat and greasy infants 
grow into airy fairy Lilians, so do words 
and ideas, " and that ' ' the Psalmist does 
not shrink from even bolder metaphors," 
as in Psalm cxxxiii. That the root 
which thus supplied a name for Aphro- 
dite should also be employed to denote 
gracefulness or charm in general, is 
strictly natural. Thus the Sanskrit arka 
is a name not only for the sun, but also 
for a hymn of praise, while the cognate 
arkshas denoted the shining stars. 

8 Max Muller, ib. 370. 

* Professor Muller, Led. 372, re- 
marks that in Greek the name Charis 
never means a horse, and that " it never 
passed through that phase in the mind 
of the Greek poets which is so familiar 
in the poetry of the Indian bards. " But 
the Greek notion, he observes, had at 
the least dawned on the mind of the 
Vedic poets, for in one hymn the Harits 
are called the Sisters, and in another 
are represented with beautiful wings. 


whose name is also that of Aigle, Glaukos, and Athene of the bright CHAP. 

face (Glaukopis). In other versions their mother is herself Aigle, ^ — ■ 

who here becomes a wife of Phoibos ; in others again she is Eury- 
domene, or Eurynome, names denoting with many others the broad 
flush of the morning light ; or she is Lethe, as Phoibos is also a son 
of Leto, and the bright Dioskouroi spring from the colourless Leda. 
So too the two Spartan Charites are, like Phaethousa and Lampetie, 
Klet§ and Phaenna (the clear and glistening). But beautiful though 
they all might be, there would yet be room for rivalry or comparison, 
and thus the story of the judgment of Paris is repeated in the 
sentence by which Teiresias adjudged the prize of beauty to Kale, 
the fair. The seer in this case brings on himself a punishment which 
answers to the ruin caused by the verdict of Paris. 1 

As the goddess of the dawn, Aphrodite is endowed with arrows The 
irresistible sl, those of Phoibos or Achilleus, the rays which stream A "£^° t C 
like spears from the flaming sun and are as fatal to the darkness 
as the arrows of Aphrodite to the giant Polyphemos. Nay, like 
Ixion himself, she guides the four-spoked wheel, the golden orb at 
its first rising : but she does not share his punishment, for Aphro- 
dite is not seen in the blazing noontide. 2 In her brilliant beauty she 
is Arjuni, a name which appears again in that of Arjuna, the com- 
panion of Krishna, and the Hellenic Argynnis. 

But the conception of the morning in the form of Aphrodite Her 
exhibits none of the severity which marks the character of Athene. 
She is the dawn in all her loveliness and splendour, but the dawn not 
as unsullied by any breath of passion, but as waking all things into 
life, as the great mother who preserves and fosters all creatures in 
whom is the breath of life. She would thus be associated most 
closely with those forms under which the phenomena of reproduction 
were universally set forth. She would be a goddess lavish of her 
smiles and of her love, most benignant to her closest imitators ; and 
as the vestals of Athens showed forth the purity of the Zeus-born 
goddess, so the Hierodouloi of Corinth would exhibit the opposite 
sentiment, and answer to the women who assembled in the temples of 
the Syrian Mylitta. The former is really Aphrodite Ourania ; the 
latter the Aphrodite known by the epithet Pandemos. Aphrodite is 
thus the mother of countless children, not all of them lovely and 
beautiful like herself, for the dawn may be regarded as sprung from 
the darkness, and the evening (Eos) as the mother of the darkness 
again. Hence like Echidna and Typhon, Phobos and Deimos (fear 

1 Sostratos ap. Eustath. ad Horn. and Rom. Biography, s.v. Charis. 
p. 1665. Smith, Dictionary of Greek 2 Pind. Pyth. iv. 380. 




Share of 
in the 

and dread) are among the offspring whom the bright Paphian god- 
dess bore to Ares, while Priapos and Bacchos are her children by 
Dionysos. Nor is her love confined to undying gods. The so-called 
Homeric hymn tells the story how in the guise of a simple maiden she 
came to the folds where the Trojan Anchises was tending his flocks, 
and how Aineias was born, whom the nymphs loved by the Seilenoi 
and Hermes the Argos-Slayer tended and cherished. 1 

In the Iliad, Aphrodite, as the mother of Aineias, fights on the 
side of Ilion, not so much because she has any keen wish for the 
victory of the one side rather than the other, as because she desires to 
preserve her child and make him a father of many nations. Nowhere 
in fact do we more clearly see the disintegration of the earliest myths 
than in the part which the several deities play in the long struggle 
before the walls of Ilion. That struggle is strictly the desperate strife 
which is to avenge the wrongs and woes of Helen and to end in her 
return to her ancient home in the west, — the return of the beautiful 
dawnlight, whom the powers of darkness had borne away from the 
western heavens in the evening. It is unnecessary to do more here 
than to refer to the evidence by which this conclusion may be 
regarded as proved ; but it follows hence that not only is the faithless 
Helen the Sarama whom the dark beings vainly try to seduce in the 
hymns of the Veda, but Paris is Pani, the cheat and the thief, who 
steals away and shuts up the light in his secret lurking-place. Thus 
in the early and strict form of the myth, Helen is all light and Paris 
is all blackness ; and his kinsfolk are the robbers who are associated 
with the great seducer. Hence we should expect that on the side of 
the Trojans there would be only the dark and forbidding gods, on the 
side of the Achaians only those who dwell in the ineffable light of 
Olympos. The latter is indeed the case : but although Herg, the 
queen of the pure ether, is the zealous guardian of the Argive hosts, 
and Athene gives strength to the weapons and wisdom to the hearts 
of Achilleus and Odysseus, yet Apollon and Aphrodite' are not 
partakers in their counsels. Throughout, the latter is anxious only 
for the safety of her child, and Apollon encourages and comforts the 
noble and self-devoted Hektor. There was in truth nothing in the 
old mythical phrases which could render this result either impossible 
or unlikely. The victory of the Achaians might be the victory of the 
children of the sun over the dark beings who have deprived them of 
their brilliant treasure ; but there was no reason why on each hero, 
on either side, there should not rest something of the lustre which 
surrounds the forms of Phoibos, HeraklSs, Perseus, and Bellerophon. 

1 Hymn to Aphroditt, 258. 


There might be a hundred myths inwoven into the history of either chap. 

side, so long as this was done without violating the laws of mythical • : 

credibility. Glaukos must not himself take part in the theft of 
Helen : but if local tradition made him a Lykian chief not only in a 
mythical but also in a geographical sense, there was no reason why 
he should not leave his home to repel the enemies of Priam. Phoibos 
must not so far turn the course of events as to secure the triumph of 
Paris : but he might fairly be regarded as the supporter and guide of 
the generous and self-sacrificing Hektor. Hence when the death day 
of Hektor has come, Apollon leaves him, reluctantly it may be, but 
still he abandons him while Athene draws near to Achilleus to nerve 
him for the final conflict 1 So again, Aphrodite may wrap Aineias in 
mist and thus withdraw him from the fight which was going against 
him ; but she must not herself smite his enemy Diomgdes, and the 
Achaian must be victor even at the cost of the blood which flows 
within her own veins. But when the vengeance of Achilleus is 
accomplished, she may again perform her own special work for the 
fallen Hektor. The dawn is the great preserver, purifier, and restorer ; 
and hence though the body of Hektor had been tied by the feet to 
Achilleus' chariot wheels and trailed in the defiling dust, 2 still all that 
is unseemly is cleansed away and the beauty of death brought back 
by Aphrodite, who keeps off all dogs and anoints him with the 
ambrosial oil which makes all decay impossible, while Phoibos 
shrouds the body in a purple mist, to temper the fierce heat of the 
midday sun. 3 It is true that this kindly office, by which the bodies 
of Chundun Raja and Sodewa Bai are preserved in the Hindu 
fairy tales, is performed for the body of Patroklos by Thetis : but 
Thetis, like Athene and Aphrodite, is herself the child of the waters, 
and the mother of a child whose bright career and early doom is, 

1 The importance of the subject war- left for any comparison which may turn 
rants my repeating that too great a the balance in favour of either warrior, 
stress cannot be laid on this passage of In neither case are the conditions with 
the Iliad (xxii. 213). With an unfairness which we are dealing the conditions of 
which would be astounding if we failed human life, nor can the heroes be 
to remember that Colonel Mure had an judged by the scales in which mankind 
hypothesis to maintain which must be must be weighed. Nay, not only does 
maintained at all costs, the author of Phoibos leave Hektor to his own de- 
the Critical History of Greek Literature vices, but Athene" cheats him into re- 
thought fit to glorify Achilleus and sisting Achilleus, when perhaps his own 
vilify Hektor, on the ground that the sober sense would have led him to 
latter overcame Patroklos only because retreat within the walls. II, xxii. 231. 
he was aided by Phoibos, while the 2 //. xxii. 396. Yet it has been 
former smote down Hektor only in fair gravely asserted that ' ' Homer knows 
combat and by his own unaided force. nothing of any deliberate insults to the 
But in point of fact Achilleus cannot body of Hektor, or of any barbarous in- 
slay his antagonist until Phoibos has dignities practised upon it." 
deserted him, and no room whatever is 3 //. xxiii. 1S5-191. 








like that of Meleagros, bound up with the brilliant but short-lived 

But the dawn as bringing back the sun and thus recalling to life 
the slumbering powers of nature is especially the lover of the bright 
fruits and flowers which gladden her brilliant pathway. In other 
words, Aphrodite loves Adonis, and would have him for ever with 
her. The word Adonis is manifestly Semitic, and the influence of 
Asiatic thought may be readily admitted in the later developements 
of this myth ; but the myth itself is one which must be suggested to 
the inhabitants of every country where there is any visible alternation 
or succession of seasons. There is nothing in the cultus of Tammuz 
which may not be found in that of Demeter or Baldur, if we except 
its uncontrolled licentiousness. It is scarcely necessary to go through 
all the details of the later mythographers, — not one of which, how- 
ever, presents any real discordance with the oldest forms of the legend. 
Adonis, as denoting the fruitfulness and the fruits of the earth, must 
spring from its plants, and so the story ran that he was born from the 
cloven body of his mother who had been changed into a tree, as 
AthSne sprang from the cloven head of Zeus. The beautiful babe, 
anointed by the Naiads with his mother's tears (the dews of spring- 
time) as the tears of Eos fall for her dead son Memnon, was placed 
in a chest and put into the hands of Persephone, the queen of the 
underworld, who, marking his wonderful loveliness, refused to yield 
up her charge to Aphrodite. 1 It is the seeming refusal of the wintry 
powers to loosen their clutch and let go their hold of the babe„which 
cannot thrive until it is released from their grasp. But the Dawn is 
not thus to be foiled, and she carries her complaint to Zeus, who 
decides that the child shall remain during four months of each year 
with PersephonS, and for four he should remain with his mother, 
while the remaining four were to be at his own disposal. In a climate 
like that of Greece the myth would as inevitably relate that these 
four months he spent with Aphrodite, as on the fells of Norway it 
would run that he was compelled to spend them in Niflheim. Still 
the doom is upon him. He must beware of all noxious and biting 
beasts. The fair summer cannot longer survive the deadly bite of 
winter than Little Surya Bai the piercing of the Raksha's claw, or 
Baldur withstand the mistletoe of Loki. Like Atys the fair and 
brave, he is to meet his death in a boar-hunt ; and the bite, which 
only leaves a life-long mark on the body of Odysseus, brings to an end 
the dream of AphroditS. In vain she hastens to stanch the wound 

1 In short, Persephone" refuses to 
give up the treasure which the dragon 

so jealously guards on the Glistening 

VENUS. 259 

The flowers (the last lingering flowers of autumn) spring up from the CHAP. 

nectar which she pours into it, but Adonis the beautiful must die. ^— - 

Once again she carries the tale of her sorrow to Zeus, who grants her 
some portion of her prayer. Adonis may not, like Memnon or like 
Sarpedon (for in some versions he also is raised again), dwell always 
in the halls of Olympos, but for six months in the year he may return 
to cheer Aphrodite 1 as, in the Eleusinian legend, Persephone is 
restored to the arms of DemSter. Of the love of Aphrodite for 
Boutes it is enough to say that Boutes, the shepherd, is a priest of 
the dawn-goddess Athene, who, as the Argonauts approach within 
hearing of the Seirens, throws himself into the sea, but is saved by 
Aphrodite and carried away to Lilybaion. 1 

Lastly, Aphrodite may assume a form as stern and awful as that The armed 
of Athene herself. As Duhita Divah, the daughter of the sky, is A P hroditS - 
invincible, so Aphrodite, as the child of Ouranos and Hemera, the 
heaven and the day, has a power which nothing can resist, and the 
Spartan worshipped her as a conquering goddess clad in armour and 
possessing the strength which the Athenian poet ascribes to Eros the 
invincible in battle. 2 

The Latin "Venus is, in strictness of speech, a mere name, to The Latin 
which any epithet might be attached according to the conveniences Venus - 
or the needs of the worshipper. The legends which the later poets 
applied to her are mere importations from Greek mythology, and 
seem to be wholly unnoticed in earlier Roman tradition. When the 
Roman began to trace his genealogy to the grandson of Priam, 
the introduction of the story of Anchises was followed naturally by- 
other myths from the same source ; but they found no congenial soil 
in the genuine belief of the people, for whom a profusion of epithets 
supplied the place of mythical history. With them it was enough to 
have a Venus Myrtea (a name of doubtful origin), or Cloacina the 
purifier, 8 barbata, the bearded, miiitans, equestris, and a host of 
others, whose personality was too vague to call for any careful dis- 

The name itself has been, it would seem with good reason, con- Meaning 
nected with the Sanskrit root van, to desire, love, or favour. Thus, 
in the Rig Veda, girvanas means loving invocations, and yajnavanas 
loving sacrifices, while the common Sanskrit preserves vanita in the 
sense of a beloved woman. To the same root belong the Anglo- 

1 Apollod. i. 9, 25. are mere official names, like Venus 

2 Soph. Ant. 781. Calva, which seemingly has reference 

3 From cluere = K\i( eiv, to wash or to the practice of devoting to her a 
cleanse. Most of these epithets lie be- lock of the bride's hair on the day of 
yond the region of mythology. They marriage. 

of the 





and Dio- 

Saxon wynn, pleasure, the German wonne, and the English winsome. 
' The word Venus, therefore, denotes either love or favour. To the 
former signification belongs the Latin venustas ; to the latter the verb 
veneror, to venerate, in other words, to seek the favour of any one, 
venia being strictly favour or permission. 1 Venus was probably not 
the oldest, and certainly not the only name for the goddess of love in 
Italy, as the Oscan deity was named Herentas. 

The myth of Adonis links the legends of Aphrodite with those 
of Dionysos. Like the Theban wine-god, Adonis is born only on 
the death of his mother : and the two myths are in one version so 
far the same that Dionysos like Adonis is placed in a chest, which 
being cast into the sea is carried to Brasiai, where the body of his 
mother is buried. But like Memnon and Athamas, the Syrian 
Tammuz or Adonis, Semele 2 is raised from the underworld and on 
her assumption receives the name of Dione. 

Myths re- 
lating to 
the birth 
of Her& 

Section VIII. —HERE. 

In the Hellenic mythology Here, in spite of all the majesty with 
which she is sometimes invested and the power which is sometimes 
exercised by her, is little more than a being of the same class with 
Kronos. The same necessity which produced the one evoked the 
other. Zeus must have a father, and the name of this father was 
suggested by the epithet Kronides or Kronion, Semitic though 
these words may be. In like manner he must have a wife, and her 
name must denote her abode in the pure and brilliant ether. 
Accordingly the name Here points to the Sanskrit svar, the 
gleaming heaven, and the Zend hvar, the sun, which in Sanskrit 
appears in the kindred form Surya, and in Latin as Sol. 3 She is 
thus strictly the consort of Zeus, with rather the semblance than 
the reality of any independent powers. In the Iliad she speaks of 

1 I am indebted for this explanation 
to Professor Aufrecht through the kind- 
ness of Dr. Muir. 

2 "Semel, the Assyrian Samulti, . . . 
means image. It is quite possible that 
Semele may be really an oriental name, 
to which, as in many other cases, an 
Hellenic derivation, suitable in itself, 
has been attached, and may mean ' the 
image of the sublunary world,' as the 
neo - Platonist would say." — Brown, 
Great DionysiakMyth,\. 361. NoGreek 
derivation has been attached to this 
name, which certainly cannot be ex- 
plained by reference to any Greek 


3 Welcker Griechische Gotierlehre, I 
363^ regards the name as a cognate form 
of ipn, earth, and traces it through a 
large number of words which he sup- 
poses to be akin to it. Of this and 
other explanations, Preller, who refers 
the name to the Sanskrit svar, says 
briefly, "Die gewbhnlichen Erklarungen 
von tpa, die Erde, oder von afy>, die 
Luft, oder "Hpo, d. i. Hera, die Frau, 
die Herrin schlechtliin, lassen sich 
weder etymologisch noch dem Sinne 
nach rechtfertigen."— Griechische My- 
thologie, i. 124. 

UtRt: AND ZEUS. 26l 

herself as the eldest daughter of Kronos, by whom, like the rest CHAP. 

of his progeny, she was swallowed, and as having been g iven by ■ '■ — ■ 

Rheia into the charge of Okeanos and Tethys, who nursed and 
tended her after Kronos had been dethroned and imprisoned by 
Zeus beneath the earth an,d sea. 1 This myth passed naturally into 
many forms, and according to some she was brought up by the 
daughters of the river Asterion (a phrase which points to the bright 
blue of heaven coming into sight in the morning over the yet starlit 
waters), while others gave her as her nurses the beautiful Horai, 2 to 
whose charge are committed the gates of heaven, the clouds which 
they scatter from the summit of Olympos and then bring to it again. 8 
In other words, the revolving seasons all sustain the beauty and the 
splendour of the bright ether. When she became the bride of Zeus, 
she presented him with the golden apples, the glistening clouds of 
the morning, 4 guarded first by the hundred-headed offspring of Typhon 
and Echidna, and afterwards by Aigle, Erytheia, Hestia, and Are- 
thousa, the glistening children of Hesperos, whether in Libya or in 
the Hyperborean gardens of Atlas. 6 

Throughout the Iliad, which makes no mention of this incident, Relatims 
the will of Here, though compelled to submit, is by no means always and Hire, 
in harmony with the will of Zeus. The Argives, the children of the 
bright evening land, are exclusively the objects of her love ; and 
the story of the judgment of Paris was designed to furnish a 
reason for this exclusive favour. So the tale went that when the gods 
were assembled at the marriage board of Thetis and Peleus, Eris 
flung on the table a golden apple to be given to the fairest of the fair. 
The trial which follows before the shepherd of Ida is strictly in 
accordance with the mythical characters of Here and Athene, as well 
as of AphroditS, to whom, as the embodiment of the mere physical 
loveliness of the dawn (apart from the ideas of wisdom or power 

underlying the conceptions of Here and Athene), the golden prize is 

awarded Henceforth Aphrodite threw in her weight on the side of 
the Trojans, while Athene and Here gave their aid to the kinsfolk or 
the avengers of Helen. But the way was not so clear to Zeus as it 
seemed to be to Here. Hektor himself was the darling of Apollon, 

1 77. xiv. 201. * Pans. ii. 13, 3. 1'reller, Gr. Myth. 374. 

2 In this case we have the authority 4 This myth, which arose from the 
of the Iliad itself for an interpretation confusion of the word )a\\ov, an apple, 
which would otherwise be probably with wKov, a sheep, is really only 
censured as a violent straining of the another form of the legend which gave 
text : but the office of the gatekeeper of the story of Phaethousa and Lam- 
Olympos is expressly stated to be peti6. 

fyKV i.vaKX'iva.i-itvKivbv vifyos r)5' emBewar * Apollod. ii. 5, II. 

v. 751. 




Hire and 


Here the 

and here alone was a reason why Zeus should not be eager to bring 
- about the victory of the Achaians ; but among the allies of Priam 
there were others in whose veins his own blood was running, the 
Aithiopian Memnon, the child of the morning, Glaukos, the brave 
chieftain from the land of light, and, dearest of all, Sarpeddn. Here 
at once there were causes of strife between Zeus and his queen, and 
in these quarrels Here wins her ends partly by appealing to his policy 
or his fears, or by obtaining from Aphrodite her girdle of irresistible 
power. Only once do we hear of any attempt at force, and this 
instance is furnished by the conspiracy in which she plots with 
Poseidon and Athene to make Zeus a prisoner. 1 This scheme is 
defeated by Thetis and Briareos, and perhaps with this may be con- 
nected the story that Zeus once hung up Here in the heaven with 
golden handcuffs on her wrists and two heavy anvils suspended from 
her feet. In the same way she is at enmity with Herakles, and is 
wounded by his barbed arrows. But where the will of Zeus is not 
directly thwarted, Here is endowed with the attributes even of Phoibos 
himself. Thus she imparts to the horse Xanthos the gifts at once of 
human speech and of prophecy, and sends the unwilling Helios to 
his ocean bed when Patroklos falls beneath' the spear of Hektor. 

But while Zeus asserts and enforces his own power over her, 
none other may venture to treat her with insult ; and the proud Ixion 
himself is fastened to the four-spoked wheel of noon-day, for his pre- 
sumption in seeking the love of the wife of Zeus. The sun as climb- 
ing the heights of heaven, and wooing the bright ether, is an arrogant 
being who must be bound to the fiery cross, or whose flaming orb 
must be made to descend to the west, like the stone of Sisyphos, just 
when it has reached the zenith, or summit of the hill. 

Among the many names under which she was known appears the 
epithet Akraia, which was supposed to describe her as the protectress 
of cities, but which was applied also to Athene as denoting the bright 
sky of morning. 2 Thus viewed she is the mother of Hebe, the 
embodiment of everlasting youth, the cupbearer of Zeus himself. 
HerS, however, like Athene, has her dark and terrible aspects. From 
Ouranos, the heaven, spring the gigantic monsters, Thunder and 
Lightning ; and as the source of like convulsions, Here is the mother 
of Ares (Mars), the crusher, and Hephaistos, the forger of the' 

But her relations to marriage are those which were most promi- 

1 Mr. Brown regards the story of 
this conspiracy as a tradition of the 
struggles consequent on the attempt to 

introduce the foreign worship of Posei- 
don into the West. 

2 See Preller, Cr. Myth. i. 125. 


nently brought out in her worship throughout Hellas. She is the wife CHAP, 
of Zeus in a sense which could not be applied to any other of the ■ — ^ — ■ 
Olympian deities ; and, apart from the offspring which she produces 
by her own unaided powers, she has no children of which Zeus is not 
the father. Hence she was regarded both as instituting marriage, and 
punishing those who violate its duties. It is she who sends the 
Eileithyiai to aid women, when their hour is come ; and thus she has 
that power of hastening or retarding a birth which is used to give 
Eurystheus priority over Herakles. 

In these functions she is practically identical with the Latin Juno The Latin 
(a name closely akin to that of Zeus). 1 But Juno not only presides •' un °' 
over marriage. She is the special protectress of women from the 
cradle to the grave, and as such, is Matrona and Virginalis. As 
Moneta, the guardian of the mint, she bears a name which connects 
her functions with those of Minerva. 

Section IX.— THE ERINYES. 

In the whole cycle of Greek mythology no idea perhaps is more Doctrine 
prominent than that of the inevitable doom of toil, sorrow, and suffer- °ity. eceS " 
ing which is laid without exception on every one of the heroes, and 
on all the gods, unless it be Zeus himself. For none is there any 
permanent rest or repose. Phoibos may not tarry in his brilliant 
birthplace, and his glance must be fatal to the maiden whom he 
loves. Nay, more, he must fight with, and destroy the Kyklopes, the 
loathsome giants or storm-clouds ; but these are the children of Zeus, 
and Phoibos must therefore atone for his deed by a long servitude in 
the house of Admetos. But on this house there rests the same awful 
fate. In the midst of all her happiness and wealth Alkestis must die 
if her husband is to live, and the poet who tells the tale declares in 
the anguish of his heart that he has searched the heaven above and 
the earth beneath, and found nothing so mighty, so invincible, as this 
iron force, which makes gods and men bow beneath her sway. The 
history of Phoibos is the history of all who are of kin to him. 
Herakles, with all his strength and spirit, must still be a slave, and 
the slave of one infinitely weaker and meaner than himself. Perseus 
must be torn away from his mother Danae, to go and face strange 
perils and fight with fearful monsters. Yet more, Herakles must even 
unwittingly do harm to others, and his mischief must end in the dis- 
order of his own mind, and the loss of power over his own will. He 
must show certain dispositions, and do certain acts. The sun must 

1 P. 174. 




The con- 
flict be- 
light and 

rise in the heavens, must seem to woo the queen of the deep blue 
ether, must rouse the anger of her lord, must be hurled down from 
his lofty place. Hence, Ixion must writhe on his fiery cross, and 
Sisyphos must roll the huge stone to the hill-top only to see it dash 
down again to the plain beneath. There would not be wanting more 
terrible crimes and more mysterious complications. The Sun must 
be united again in the evening to the mother from whom he was 
parted in the morning ; and hence that awful marriage of Oidipous 
with Iokaste, which filled his house with woe and brought his lineage 
to an end in blood. Iphigeneia must die that Helen may be brought 
back, as the evening twilight must vanish away if the light of dawn is 
to come again. But Iphigeneia has done no wrong. She is the 
darling of her father's heart, and the memories linked with her image 
are those only of tenderness and love. Must there not then be 
vengeance taken for the outpouring of her innocent blood ? And can 
Ate rest till she has visited on Agamemnon himself the death of his 
guiltless child ? 

Without going further, we have here the germs, and more than 
the germs, of doctrines which, from the time that these ideas were 
awakened in the human mind, have moulded the theology of the 
world — the doctrines of irresistible force, of the doom which demands 
blood for blood, of the destiny which shapes a man's life even before 
he is born. These doctrines necessarily assume at an early age a 
moral or a spiritual character ; but the ideas which underlie them 
were evoked by the physical phenomena of nature. The moral con- 
flict and antagonism between Ormuzd and Ahriman points to the 
earlier struggle in which Indra fights with and slays the biting snake, 
the thief, the seducer, who hides away his prey in his dismal cave ; 
and the battle between spiritual good and evil takes form from the 
war between the light of the Sun and the darkness of the night. But 
while these ideas were passing more and more into the region of 
things spiritual, and were becoming crystallised in theological systems, 
the growth of a physical mythology was not wholly arrested. The 
vengeance* for iniquity may belong to the fearful Erinyes ; but the 
Erinys is still a being who wanders in the air. The wrath of Ate may 
never slumber, so long as the murderer remains unpunished ; but she 
is still the tangible being whom Zeus seizes by her long-flowing locks, 
and hurls from the portals of Olympos. But the impulse to a moral 
mythology once given could not but call into existence other beings 
answering to Ate or the Erinyes in their purely spiritual aspects. 
From the idea of a being who can see all that is done by the children 
of men would come the notion of three beings, each having as its 


province severally the past, the present, and the future ; while the lot CHAP. 

which is each man's portion, and the doom which he oannot avoid ' ' - — ■ 

would be apportioned to him by beings whose names would denote 
their functions or the gentler qualities which men ascribed to them in 
order to deprecate their wrath. 

Of these beings the Erinyes are in the Hellenic mythology among Erinyes 
the most fearful — so fearful, indeed, that their worshippers, or those menides. 
who had need to speak of them, called them rather the Eumenides, 
or merciful beings, to win from them the pity which they were but 
little supposed to feel. Yet these awful goddesses * are but repre- 
sentatives of the Vedic Saranyu, the beautiful morning whose soft 
light steals across the heaven, and of whom it was said that she would 
find out the evil deeds committed during the night, and punish the 
wrongdoer. Still, unconscious though the Athenian may have been 
of the nature of the beings whom he thus dreaded or venerated, they 
retained some of their ancient characteristics. Terrible as they might 
be to others, they had only a genial welcome for the toilworn and 
suffering Oidipous, the being who all his life long had struggled 
against the doom which had pressed heavily on the Argive Herakles. 
Close to Athens, the city of the dawn goddess, is their sacred grove ; 
and under the shadow of its clustering trees the blinded Oidipous 
will tranquilly wait until it is his time to die. Where else can the 
weary journey come to an end than amidst the sacred groves in which 
the Erinyes are seen in the evening, weaving, like Penelope, the magic 
web which is to be undone again during the night? The threads 
of this web become in their hands, and in those of the kindred 
Moirai, the lines of human destiny. Having said thus much of these 
dreaded beings we have practically said all. Mythographers could 
not fail to speak of them as children of Gaia, sprung from the blood 
of the mutilated Ouranos, or as the daughters of the night, or of the 
earth and darkness — a parentage which will apply with equal truth to 
Phoibos or the Dioskouroi. When we are told that in cases where 
their own power seems inadequate they call in the aid of Dike or 
Justice, we are manifestly on the confines of allegory, which we are 
not bound to cross. In the conceptions of later poets, they appear, 
like the Gorgons, with writhing snakes in place of hair, and with 
blood dripping from their eyes ; and as naturally, when their number 
was limited to three, they received names which, like Allekto, 
Megaira, and Tisiphone, imply relentless hatred, jealousy, and revenge. 
Their domain is thus far wider and more terrible than that of the 
Moirai, who weave, deal out, and cut short the thread of human life. 

1 (TEyupal fltaf. 



From this point the mythology, which has grown up, such as it 
is, round the fatal sisters, may be regarded as thoroughly artificial. 
The division of time into the past, the present, and the future once 
made, it only remained to assign these divisions severally to one 
personal being, and to invest this being with attributes suited to the 
office which it has to perform. It may be instructive to trace the 
process by which the single Moira of the Iliad and Odyssey suggests 
the notion of many Moirai, and is represented by the Hesiodic sisters, 
Klotho, Lachesis, and Atropos ; but the process is altogether different 
from that which, starting with phrases denoting simply the action of 
wind or air in motion, gives us first the myths of Hermes, Orpheus, 
Pan, and Amphion, and ends with the folk-lore of the Master Thief 
and the Shifty Lad. In the latter case, the myth-maker knew little, 
probably nothing, of the source and the meaning of the story, and 
worked in unconscious fidelity to traditions which had taken too 
strong a root to be lightly dislodged or materially changed. In the 
former we have the work rather of the moralist or the theologian. 
The course of human existence and of all earthly things is regarded 
as a long coil of thread, and the gods are the spinners of it Thus 
this work is specially set apart to Aisa, the spoken word of Zeus, the 
Fatum of the Latins, or to Moira, the apportioner; for to both alike 
is this task of weaving or spinning assigned, 1 and Aisa and Moira are 
alike the ministers of Zeus to do his will, not the despotic and 
irresponsible powers before whom, as before the Ananke of Euripides, 
Zeus himself must bow. Nay, even a mortal may have a certain 
power over them, and Achilleus may choose either a brief career and 
a brilliant one, or a time of repose after his return home which shall 
stand him in the stead of glory. 2 The dualism of the ideas of birth 
and death would lead us to look for two Moirai in some traditions, 
and accordingly we find the two at Delphoi, of whom Zeus and 
Apollon are the leaders and guides. 3 The three Hesiodic Moirai, 
who are sisters of the Erinyes, are also called the Keres, or masters 
of the destinies of men. 1 Of these three one alone is, by her name 
Klotho, charged with the task of spinning; but in some later versions 
this task is performed by all three; nor is the same account always 

1 //. xx. 128 ; xxiv. 209. 

5 //. ix. 411. 

* Pans. x. 24, 4. 

4 These are the irijper TavTjXeye'or 
Bav&roio — the name belonging to the 
same root which has yielded the words 
Kvptos, Koipavos, and the Latin creare 
(cf. Gr. Kpelu), creator. The name 
Moira answers to that of the Latin Mors, 

the grinding, crushing power, the iw'pa 
xparaiii of the Iliad. Yet the etymo- 
logy was not wholly without reason, 
which connected the word with fiepos, a 
share or portion, the idea of pieces or 
fragments being naturally expressed by 
the root used to denote the working of 
the hammer or the millstone. 


given of their functions with regard to the past, the present, and the chap. 

future. Commonly Klotho spins the threads, while Laffliesis deals ■ 

them out, and Atropos severs them at the moment of death; but 
sometimes Klotho rules over the present, Atropos over the past, and 
Lachesis over the future. 1 If, again, they are sometimes represented 
in comparative youth, they sometimes appear with all the marks of 
old age; and thus we come to the Teutonic Norns. The Hellenic 
Moirai, as knowing what was to befall each man, had necessarily the 
power of prediction, a characteristic which is the most prominent 
attribute of the fatal sisters of the North. These in the German 
myths are Vurdh, Verdhandi, and Skuld, names purely arbitrary and 
artificial, denoting simply that which has been, that which is in process 
of becoming or is in being, and that which shall be hereafter. 3 Of 
these names the two last have dropped out of English usage, while 
Vurdh has supplied the name by which the sisters were known to 
Shakespeare; and thus we have the weird sisters whom Macbeth 
encounters on the desolate heath, the weird elves of Warner's Albion, 
the Weird Lady of the Woods of the Percy Ballads, 3 the Fatal Sustrin 
of Chaucer. 

These Norns, gifted with the wisdom of the Thriai, 4 lead us The Tea- 
through all the bounds of space. They are the guardians of the ^™ s 
great ash-tree Yggdrasil, whose branches embrace the whole world. 
Under each of its three roots is a marvellous fountain, the one in 
heaven, the abode of the ^Esir, being the fountain of Vurdh, that of 
Jotunheim being called by the name of the wise Mimir, while the 

1 Clotho prresentis temporis habet at once explained. — Max Miiller, Chips, 
curam, quia quod torquetur in digitis, ii. 62 ; Grimm. D. Myth. 377. 
momenti prsesentis indicat spatia ; Atro- ' Grimm, D. M. 378; Max Miiller, 
pos pra;teriti fatum est, quia quod in Lectures on Language, second series, 
fuso perfectum est, pneteriti temporis 563. The Norns are the Three Spin- 
habet speciem : Lachesis futuri, qu6d sters of the German story in Grimm's 
etiam illis, quae futura sunt, finem suum collection, who perform the tasks which 
Deus dederit. — Apuleius, de Mundo, are too hard for the delicate hands of 
p. 280 ; Grimm, Deutsche Myth. 386. the Dawn-maiden. In the Norse Tales 
The Hesiodic poet, in his usual didactic (Dasent) they reappear as the Three 
vein, makes the Moirai strictly moral Aunts, or the three one-eyed hags, who 
beings who punish the wrong-doing, or help Shortshanks, as the three sisters in 
transgressions, whether of gods or men. the tale of Farmer Weathersky, and the 
Jheog. 220. three loathly heads in the story of 

1 Vurdh represents the past tense of Bushy Bride, 
the word werden. Verdhandi is the 4 Their wisdom is inherited by the 

present participle, werdend, while Skuld bards whose name, Skalds, has been 

is the older form of Schuld, the obliga- traced by Professor Kuhn to the same 

tion to atone for the shedding of blood. root with the Sanskrit VHiandas, metre ; 

Skuld thus represents really the past and /£*handas Professor Max Miiller re-, 

tense skal which means " I have killed, gards as identical with the term Zend. 

and therefore am bound to make com- For the evidence of this see Chips, &c, 

pensation for it." The difference be- i. 84, note, 
tween our "shall" and "will" is thus 




and Adras- 

third in Niflheim, or Hades, is the Hvergelmir, or boiling cauldron. 
- At the first the yEsir and Norns hold their court; at the second 
Mimir keeps his ceaseless watch, a being whose name has apparently 
a meaning closely akin to that of the Latin Minerva, 1 and who leaves 
to Wuotan (Odin) only one eye, having demanded the other as 
a pledge before he will grant to him a draught from the water which 
imparts wisdom. Such is the sanctity of this water, which the Norns 
every morning pour over the branches of the ash-tree, that everything 
touched by it becomes snow-white, and the dew which falls from the 
tree is always sweet as honey. On the crown of the tree sits an eagle; 
under its roots lurks the serpent or dragon Nidhogr; and between 
these the squirrel, ever running up and down, seeks to sow dissension. 
This mighty ash-tree in Grimm's belief is only another form of the 
colossal Irminsul, 3 the pillar which sustains the whole Kosmos, as 
Atlas bears up the heaven, the three roads which branch from the one 
representing the three roots of the other. The tree and the pillar are 
thus alike seen in the columns, whether of Herakles or of Roland ; 
while the cosmogonic character of the myth is manifest in the legend 
of the primeval man Askr, the offspring of the ash-tree, of which 
Virgil, from the characteristic which probably led to its selection, 
speaks as stretching its roots as far down into earth as its branches 
soar towards heaven. 8 

The process which multiplied the Norns and defined their func- 
tions exalted also the character of Ate, who, as we have seen, appears 
in the Iliad simply as the spirit of mischievous folly, hurled out of 
Olympos for bringing about the birth of Eurystheus before that of 
Herakles, but who in the hands of ^Eschylos becomes the righteous 
but unrelenting avenger of blood. The statement that the Litai are 
beings who follow closely when a crime is done, and seek to make 
amends for it, is a mere allegory on the office of prayer ; and what is 

1 Grimm, who traces the word 
through its many changes, notes also 
the relation of the Latin mentor with 
the Greek /iijueo/tai — the mimic being 
the man who remembers what is done 
by another ; and thus ' ' mummery " is 
but another form of "memory." — D. 
Myth. 353. Mimir is thus the ICentaur 
Mimas ; and the wisdom of the Ken- 
taur, it may be noted, became a proverb. 
In one story Mimir is sent by the ^Esir 
to the Vanir, who cut off his head and 
send it back to them. Wuotan utters a 
charm over it, and the head, which 
never wastes away, becomes his coun- 
sellor — a legend which reminds us of 

the myth of Memnon's head with its 
prophetic powers, localised in Egypt. 
Compare also the Greek kephalos. 

2 Although the narhe of the German 
Irmin cannot be identified with the 
Greek Hermes (Grimm, D. Myth. 328), 
yet we may compare the Greek ip/ii&iov 
with the German Irminsul, the pillar or 
column of Irmin, answering to the busts 
of Hermes fixed on the Hermai at 
Athens and elsewhere. Cf. the note 
of M. Bre"al in Professor Max Muller's 
Lectures, second series, 474. 

3 See also Max Miiller, Chips, ii. 


told us of Nemesis, if less allegorical, is still merely the result of chap. 

moral reflexion. In the world good and evil seem to be Capriciously ' : ' 

distributed, so that on the one side we have the squalid beggar, on 
the other the man whose prosperity is so unvarying that his friend, 
foreseeing the issue, sends to renounce all further alliance with him. 
This inequality it is the business of Nemesis to remedy; and thus she 
becomes practically an embodiment of righteous indignation at suc- 
cessful wrong, although she is also regarded as the minister of the 
gods who are jealous when the well-being of man passes beyond a 
certain limit. 1 In either aspect she is Adrasteia, the being from 
whom there is no escape. 

In the meaning commonly attached to the word, TychS denoted Tychs 
the idea of mere blind chance, scattering her gifts without any regard ira ' a ' 
to the deserts of those on whom they might fall. But this was not 
the conception which led some to represent her with a rudder as 
guiding the affairs of the world, and not only to place her among the 
Moirai, but to endow her with a power beyond that of the others. 3 
In her more fickle aspect she carries the ball in her hand, while her 
wealth and the nature of her gifts are denoted by the horn of Amal- 
theia at her side, and the boy Eros who accompanies her, or the Good 
Demons who sometimes surround her. As Akraia, Tyche becomes 
simply a name of Athene, the wealth-bringer ; with the epithet Agathe,' 
good, she becomes practically identical with the Agathos Daimon, 
the nameless benignant deity invoked by cities and individual men. 
The names Theos and Daimon are often given to those unnamed 
forces in nature which are more felt in their general influences than 
in particular acts. 3 Nor is the assertion without warrant that the 
genuine utterances of the heart were addressed to this incompre- 
hensible power, of whose goodness generally they felt assured, and 
not to any mythical deities on whose capricious feelings no trust 
could be placed. When the swineherd Eumaios talks with Odysseus, 
we hear nothing of Zeus or Phoibos, but we are told simply that the 
unnamed God gives and takes away as may seem to him best. Nor 
can we doubt that even the mass of the people were impressed with 
the belief in a deity or power different in kind from the mythical 
deities brought before them by their epic or tragic poets. This deity 
was simply the good God, or the unknown Being, worshipped ignor- 
antly, whom St Paul said that he came only to declare to them. 

1 QBovephv rb Sai/idviov—the doctrine Rhamnusian egg of Nemesis belongs to 

which lies at the root of the philosophy the story of Leda and Helen, 
attributed by Herodotos to Solon, and 2 Paus. vii. 26, 3. 

of the policy of Amasis in his dealings " Preller, Gr. Myth. 1. 421. 

with Polykrates. The myth of the 


BOOK Doubtless even this conception underwent many modifications ; and 


in the end not only each state or city, but each man and woman, 
from the moment of birth, had a guardian demon or angel who sought 
to lead them always in the right way. 1 This guardian was invoked on 
all occasions, in such forms as our " Luck be with you," or the " Quod 
bonum, felix, faustumque sit " of the Latins." 


The Ionian legend, embodied in the so-called Homeric Hymn, 
The Ionian tells the simple tale that L£to, the mother of the unborn Phoibos, could 
thTbirth find no place to receive her in her hour of travail until she came to 
of Phoibos. Delos. To wealthier and more fertile lands she made her prayer in 
vain ; and when she addressed herself to the little stony island with 
its rugged cliffs and hills, Delos trembled with joy not unmingled with 
fear. The unborn child, she knew, would be a being of mighty power, 
ruling among the undying gods and mortal men ; and she dreaded lest 
he should despise his sterile birthplace and spurn it with his foot into 
the sea. It remained only for Leto to make a solemn covenant with 
Delos, that here should be the sanctuary of her child for ever, and 
that here his worshippers, coming from all lands to his high festival, 
should lavish on her inexhaustible wealth of gold and treasures. So 
the troth was plighted ; but although Dione and Amphitrite with other 
goddesses were by her side, Here remained far away in the palace of 
Zeus, and the child of Leto could not be born unless she should suffer 
Eileithyia to hasten to her relief. Then, as she drew near, Leto cast 
her arms around a tall palm-tree as she reclined on the bank of Kynthos, 
and the babe leaped to life and light as the earth smiled around her. 
The goddesses bathed him in pure water, and wrapping him in a 
glistening robe, fine and newly wrought, placed a golden band round 
the body of Chrysaor, while Thetis touched his lips with the drink and 
food of the gods. But no sooner had the child received this nourish- 
ment, than he was endowed with an irresistible strength, and his 
swaddling bands fell off him like flax, as he declared Ivs mission of 
teaching to men the counsels of Zeus. Then began the journey of 
the far-shooting god, whose golden hair no razor should ever touch. 
From land to land he went, delighting his eyes with the beautiful 
sights of grove-clad hills and waters running to the sea. 
The This hymn has, indeed, an historical interest, as being manifestly 

Mory. 1,an tne work °f a ^ me when the great Ionian festival at Delos was 

1 awavTi Salfiav avSpl <rvfurapi<TTa.Tai Menander, quoted by Clem. Al. Str. 
euSusyej/ofiei/Cfifivo-rayioybsTov fitou 5, p. 260. 1'reller, Gr. Myth. i. 422. 
ayadJs. 2 Pieller, ib. i. 423. 


celebrated with a magnificence which the Lydian and Bersian con- c Vt AP ' 

quests grievously impaired. To the hymn-writer Delos is the abode ' ' 

dear above all others to the lord of light ; and thither come wor- 
shippers whose beauty and vigour would seem beyond the touch of 
sickness, pain, or death. The rest of the hymn is manifestly a 
different poem, composed by a Delphian when the oracle of that 
place had reached its highest reputation ; but the blind old bard of 
the rocky islet of Chios is well aware that, apart from any rivalry of 
other temples and other festivals, it is impossible for Phoibos always 
to abide in Delos. For him there is no tranquil sojourn anywhere ; 
and all that the poet can say on behalf of his beloved Delos is, that 
the God never fails to return to it with ever-increasing delight, as in 
the old Vedic hymns the Dawn is said to come back with heightened 
beauty every morning. In truth, almost every phrase of the hymn is 
transparent in its meaning. The name Leto is close akin to that of 
Leda, the dusky mother of the glorious Dioskouroi, and is in fact 
another form of the L£th§, in which men forget alike their joys and 
sorrows, the Latmos in which Endymion sinks into his dreamless 
sleep, and the Ladon, or lurking-dragon, who guards the golden 
apples of the Hesperides. But for many a weary hour the night 
travails with the birth of the coming day, and her child cannot be 
born save in the bright land (Delos) of the Dawn. A toilsome 
journey lies before her; and the meaning of the old myth is 
singularly seen in the unconscious impulse which led the hymn- 
writer to speak of her as going only to lofty crags and high mountain 
summits. 1 Plains and valleys it would obviously be useless to seek; 
the light of the sun must rest on the hill-tops long before it reaches 
the dells beneath. In another version, she is said to have been 
brought in twelve days from the land of the Hyperboreans to Delos 
in the form of a she-wolf, 2 Lukos, a phrase which carries us to the 
story of Lykaon, and to the interpretation given to the name of the 
Lykeian Apollon. 3 So again in the Phoinix or palm, round which 
Leto casts her arms, we have that purple hue of dawn which marks 
the early home of the children of Agenor and Telephassa. 4 But 

1 Hymn. Afoll. 30-45. is necessarily the child of the being who 

2 The myth was regarded as account- sends her light from afar ; and the Con- 
ine for a supposed fact connected with nexion of the purple hue with the birth 
the breeding of wolves. — Grote, History and early life of the sun is seen not 
of Greece i 62 onIv ln the m y th of the blrd known as 

» The Kyneian Apollon must be the Phenix, but in Phoinix, the teacher 

compared with Helene Kyn6pis, Kyno- and guide of Achilleus in his childhood, 

soura, Kynosarges, &c.-Burnouf, La Of the Egyptian Phenix Herodotos 

Le&nde, Athinienne. speaks as a bird in which the Egyptians 

* Eurflpe, the broad spreading dawn, saw the emblem of immortality ; but he 



BOOK there were other traditions about his birth. Any word expressing the 
ideas of light and splendour might be the name of his birthplace ; 
and so the tale ran that Apollon and Artemis were both born in 
Ortygia, the land of the quail, the earliest bird of spring, 1 and thus of 
the early morning. No mythical incidents were attached to his 
epithet Lyke*genes ; but this name speaks of him simply as born in 
that land of light, through which flows the Xanthian or golden 
stream, and where dwell SarpMon, the creeping flush of morning, 
and Glaukos the brilliant, his friend. He is the Phanaian* or 
glistening king, who gave his name to the Chian promontory on 
which his worshippers assembled to greet him. 
The infant In the Delian hymns Apollon soon attains his full might and 
majesty. Still for a time he lies still and helpless, with a golden band 
around his body which is clad in white swaddling clothes. These 
white mists which seem to cling to the rising sun are wrapped more 
tightly round the Theban Oidipous, and the golden band gives place 
to the nails which pierce his feet when he is exposed on the heights 
of Kithairon. But in both alike the time of weakness is short 
Oidipous returns to Thebes, mighty in strength of arm and irre- 
sistible in wisdom, to slay the terrible Sphinx. In one version 
Phoibos is only four days old when, hurrying to Parnassos, he slays 
the dragon which had chased his mother Leto in her wanderings to 
Delos. The more elaborate legend of the hymn places the slaying 
of the Python later in his career ; but like the Sphinx, Python s is not 
only the darkness of night, but the black storm-cloud which shuts up 
the waters, and thus it guards or blockades the fountain which is to 
yield water for the Delphian temple. 4 In other respects the later of 

says nothing of the resurrection of the of the many forms of Vritra, Ahi, and 
Phenix fromhis own ashes ; while others, Cacus, stands to Here, the bright god- 
instead of saying that a new Phenix dess of the upper air, in the relation of 
sprung full-grown from the funeral pile the Minotauros to the brilliant Pasiphae', 
of the old one, spoke of a worm which wife of Minos. 

came out from the dead body and * " In a Slovakian legend the dragon 

gradually grew up into another Phenix. sleeps in a mountain cave through the 

— Gubernatis, Zoological Mythology, ii. winter months, but at the equinox 

200. bursts forth. ' In a moment the heaven 

1 Professor Max Muller finds this was darkened, and became black as 
word in the Latin Vertumnus. — Selected pitch, only illumined by the fire which 
Essays, i. 565. In its Latin form the flashed from the dragon's jaws and eyes, 
name belongs to the class of partici- The earth shuddered, the stones rattled 
pial predicates, e.g. Picumnus, Auc- down the mountain sides into the glens ; 
tumnus. right and left, left and right, did the 

2 Virg. Georg. ii. 98. dragon lash his tail, overthrowing pines 

3 Python is here called the nurse of and bushes, and snapping them as reeds. 
TyphaSn, the dragon-child or monster, He evacuated such floods of water that 
to which Here* gives birth by her own the mountain torrents were full. But, 
unaided power, as Athene is the after a while, his power was exhausted ; 
daughter of Zeus alone. Typha6n, one In lashed no more with his tail, ejected 


the two poems woven together in the Homeric Hymn is as trans- chap. 

parent in meaning as the earlier. In both Phoibos journeys gradually *— — : ' 

westward ; in both riches and glory are promised to those who will 
receive him. But the bribe is held out in vain to the beautiful 
fountain Telphoussa, near whose waters Phoibos had begun to lay 
the foundations of a shrine. By warnings of the din of horses and of 
cattle brought thither to watering she drove him away, and Phoibos 
following her counsel betook himself to Parnassos, where Trophonios 
and Agamedes raised his world-renowned home. It is at this point 
that the author of the hymn introduces the slaughter of the worm or 
dragon to account for the name Pytho, as given to the sanctuary from 
the rotting of its carcase in the sun ; * and thence he takes Apoll6n 
back to Telphoussa, to wreak his vengeance on the beautiful fountain 
which had cheated him of a bright home beside her glancing waters. 
The stream .was choked by a large crag, the crag beetling over 
Tantalos, which he toppled down upon it, and the glory departed 
from Telphoussa for ever. 

It now remained to find a body of priests and servants for his Phoibo? 
Delphian sanctuary, and these were furnished by the crew of a Cretan n -^ '" 
ship sailing with merchandise to Pylos. In the guise of a dolphin 
Phoibos urged the vessel through the waters, while the mariners sat 
still on the deck in terror as the ship moved on without either sail or 
oar along the whole coast of the island of Pelops. As they entered 
the Krisaian gulf a strong zephyr carried them eastward, till the ship 
was lifted on the sands of Krisa. Then Apollon leaped from the 
vessel like a star, while from him flew sparks of light till their 
radiance reached the heaven, and hastening to his sanctuary he 
showed forth his weapons in the flames which he kindled. This 
done, he hastened with the swiftness of thought back to the ship, now 
in the form of a beautiful youth, with his golden locks flowing over 
his shoulders, and asked the seamen who they were and whence they 
came. In their answer, which says that they had .been brought to 
Krisa against their will, they address him at once as a god, and 

no more water, and spat no more fire.' form, connecting it in meaning with the 

I think it impossible not to see in this epithets a\e£iKaicoy, &TroTp6iTa.ios, aKecrios, 

description a spring- tide thunderstorm. " and others. This, however, is probably 

Gould, Werewolf, p. 172. as doubtful as the derivation which con- 

1 The word is connected by So- nects Phoibos with <f>a>s, light. By Pro- 

phoklSs not with the rotting of the snake fessor Max Miiller the latter name is 

but with the questions put to the oracle. identified with the Sanskrit Bhava, a 

The latter is the more plausible conjee- word belonging to the same family with 

ture ; but the origin of the word is un- the Greek <pia, the Latin fui, and the 

certam, as is also that of Apollon, of English be. Phoibos is thus the living 

which Welcker ( Criechische GStterkhre. God. 
i. 460) regards ApellOn as the genuine 


BOOK Phoibos tells them that they can hope to see their home, their 

• - : — ' wives, and their children again no more. But a higher lot awaits 

them. Their name shall be known throughout the earth as the 
guardians of Apollon's shrine, and the interpreters of his wilL So 
they follow him to Pytho, while the god leads the way filling the air 
with heavenly melodies. But once more they are dismayed as they 
look on the naked crags and sterile rocks around them, and ask how 
they are to live in a land thus dry and barren. The answer is that 
they should have all their hearts' desire, if only they would avoid 
falsehood in words and violence in deed. 
The Fisfe Such was the legend devised to account for the name and the 

sun ' founding of the Delphian temple. It is obviously a myth which 

cannot be taken by itself. Phoibos here traverses the sea in the 
form of a fish, and imparts lessons of wisdom and goodness when he 
has come forth from the green depths. He can assume, many forms, 
and appear or vanish as he pleases. All these powers or qualities are 
shared by Proteus in Hellenic story, as well as by the fish-god, 
Dagon or Onnes, 1 of Syria ; and the wisdom which these beings 
possess is that hidden wisdom of Zeus which, in the Homeric hymn, 
Phoibos cannot impart even to Hermes. So in the Vishnu Purana 
the demon Sambara casts Pradyumna, the son of Vishnu, into the 
sea, where he is swallowed by a fish, but he dies not and is born anew 
from its belly. 2 The story must be taken along with those of the 
Frog-prince, of Bheki, and of the Fish-rajah in Hindu fairy tales. 3 
Doubtless it is the same dolphin which appears in the story of Arion, 
but the fish not less than the harp has lost something of its ancient 
power. 4 
Phoibos In this myth Phoibos acts from his own proper force. Here, as 

Hemes m l ^ e hymn to Hermes, he is emphatically the wise and the deep or 
far-seeing god. The lowest abyss of the sea is not hidden from his 
eye, but the wind can never stir their stormless depths. His gift of 
music was not, however, his own from the first. His weapons are 

1 This is the Odak6n of Berosos, Grimm's story of Roland, by the maiden, 

which in Akkadian would be U-duk- who changes her lover into a lake, and 

ana, ' ' The lord who rises high. " herself into a duck ; or who becomes a 

1 Translation of H. H. Wilson, p. lily in a hedge, while Roland plays on 

575 ; Tylor, Primitive Culture, i. his flute a tune which makes the witch, 

305-6. like the Jew on the thorns, dance till 

3 The story of the Frog-prince she drops down dead. The same trans- 
agrees closely with the Gaelic tale of formations occur in the stories of Fir- 
the Sick Queen (Campbell, ii. 131), Apple and the Two Kings' Children, in 
for whom none but the Frog can supply Grimm's collection, and in the Norse 
the water of life. tales of Dapplegrim and Farmer 

* The power of Phoibos and Pro- Weathersky. 
teus is shared by Thetis, and again in 


'irresistible, and nothing can withstand the splendour of his unveiled chap. 

form ; but he must live in a world of absolute stillness, without mist • '■ — 

and without clouds, until the breath of the wind stirs the stagnant air. 
Hermes then is the maker of the harp and the true lord of song ; and 
the , object of the hymn is to account for the harmony existing 
between himself and Phoibos, from whom he receives charge over the 
bright and radiant clouds which float across the blue seas of heaven. 
It is impossible to lay too much stress on this difference of inherent 
attributes. Hermes may yield up his harp to Phoibos, as the soft 
breezes of summer may murmur and whisper while leaves and waters 
tremble in the dazzling sunlight ; but willing though Phoibos may be 
to grant the prayer of Hermes to the utmost of his power, it is 
impossible for him to give to the god of the moving air a share in the 
secret counsels of Zeus. 1 

Essentially, then, there is no distinction betweeen Phoibos and Phoibos 
Helios. Both are beings of unimaginable brightness ; both have Helios, 
invulnerable weapons and the power of wakening and destroying life ; 
both can delight and torment, bring happiness or send scorching 
plagues and sicknesses ; both have wealth and treasures which can 
never be exhausted ; both can mar the work which they have made. 
That each of these qualities might and would furnish groundwork for 
separate fables, the whole course of Aryan mythology fully shows. 
Their wisdom would be shown by such words as Sisyphos, Metis, 
Medeia ; their healing powers by the names Akesios, S6ter, Akestor; 
and both these faculties might be conceived as exercised in oppo. 
sition to the will of Zeus. The alternations of beneficence and 
malignity would mark them as capricious beings, whose wisdom might 
degenerate into cunning, and whose riches might make them arrogant 
and overbearing. But for these things there must be punishments ; 
and thus are furnished the materials for a host of myths, every one of 
which will be found in strict accordance with the physical phenomena 
denoted by the phrases of the old mythical or myth-generating speech. 
The words which spoke of the sun as scorching up the fruits and 
waters which he loves would give rise to the stories of Tantalos and 
Lykadn ; the pride of the sun which soars into the highest heaven 
would be set forth in the legend of Ixion ; the wisdom which is mere 
wisdom would be seen in the myths of Sisyphos or Medeia. The 
phrases which described the sun as revolving daily on his four-spoked 
cross, or as doomed to sink in the sky when his orb had reached the 

1 There is nothing surprising in the building the walls of Troy, as Amphton 

fact, that later versions, as those of built those of Thebes, by playing on his 

Kallimachos and Ovid, describe Apol- harp. 
Ion as himself inventing the lyre and 







zenith, would give rise to the stories of Ixion on his flaming wheel 
' and of Sisyphos with his recoiling stone. If again the sun exhibits 
an irresistible power, he may also be regarded as a being compelled 
to do his work, though it be against his own will. He must perform 
his daily journey ; he must slay the darkness which is his mother; he 
must be parted from the Dawn which cheered him at his birth ; and 
after a few hours he must sink into the darkness from which he had 
sprung in the morning. His work again may be benignant ; the 
earth may laugh beneath his gaze in the wealth of fruits and flowers 
which he has given her. But these gifts are not for himself; they are 
lavished on the weak and vile beings called men. These are really 
his masters, and he must serve them as a bondman until his brief 
career comes to an end. These ideas lie at the bottom of half the 
Aryan mythology. They meet us, sometimes again and again, in 
every legend ; and it is scarcely possible to arrange in strict method 
either the numberless forms in which these ideas are clothed, or the 
stories in which we find them. The order of the daily phenomena of 
day and night may furnish the best clue for threading the mazes of 
the seemingly endless labyrinth. 

In the myth of Daphne we see the sun as the lover of the Dawn, 
to whom his embrace is, as it must be, fatal. Whether as the 
daughter of the Arkadian Ladon or of the Thessalian Peneios, 
Daphne, 1 or the Dawn, is the child of the earth springing from the 
waters when the first flush of light trembles across the sky. But as 
the beautiful tints fade before the deepening splendour of the sun, so 
Daphne flies from Apollon, as he seeks to win her. The more eager 
his chase, the more rapid is her flight, until in her despair she prays 
that the earth or the waters may deliver her from her persecutor; and 
so the story went that the laurel tree grew up on the spot where she 
disappeared, or that Daphne herself was changed into the laurel tree, 
from which Apollon took his incorruptible and glorious wreath. 2 

1 From the roots ah and dak (to 
burn), which stand to each other in the 
relation of as and das (to bite), as in 
the Sanskrit asm and the Greek Sdxpv, 
a tear, are produced the names Ahana, 
the Vedic dawn-goddess, and Athene", 
as well as the Sanskrit Dahana and the 
Hellenic Daj ihne\ These names denote 
simply the brightness of morning ; but 
the laurel, as wood that burns easily, 
received the same name. ' ' Afterwards 
the two, as usual, were supposed to be 
one, or to have some connexion with 
each other, for how — the people would 
say — could they have the same name ? " 

And hence the story of the transforma- 
tion of Daphne". — Max Miiller, Lectures 
on Language, second series, 502 ; Chips, 
S-Y., ii. 93. The idea of fury or madness 
was closely connected with that of fire ; 
hence the laurel which grew on the 
tomb of Amykos had the quality of 
making the crew of a ship quarrel till 
they threw it overboard. — Plin. H. N. 
xvi. 89. 

2 The story of the Sicilian Daphnis is 
simply a weak version of that of Daphne", 
with some features derived from other 
myths. Like Telephos, Oidipous, and 
others, Daphnis is exposed in his .in- 


The same fatal pursuit is the burden of the legend of the hunts- CHAP, 
man Alpheios. Like Daphne" and Aphrodite Anadyomene, he is the — ■ — : — " 
child of the waters, whether he be described as a son of Okeanos ^Ire- 
and Thetis, or of Helios himself. He is in short the Elf, or water- thousa. 
sprite, whose birthplace is the Elbe or flowing stream. But Arethousa 
must fly from him as Daphne flies from Phoibos,; and Pausanias 
takes her to the Syracusan Ortygia, where she sinks into a well with 
which the waters of Alpheios become united. This is but saying, in 
other words, that she fled to the Dawnland, where Eos closes as she 
begins the day, and where the sun again greets the love whom he 
has lost In another version she is aided by Artemis, who, herself 
also loved by Alpheios, covers her own face and the faces of her 
companions with mud, and the huntsman departs baffled; or, to recur 
to old phrases, the sun cannot recognise the dawn on whom he gazes, 
because her beauty is faded and gone. With these legends are 
closely connected the stories of Hippodameia, Atalante, and the 
Italian Camilla, who become the prize only of those who can over- 
take them in fair field; a myth which reappears in the German story, 
" How Six travelled through the World," as well as in the . Nibelung 
legend of Brynhild. It is repeated of Phoibos himself in the myth 
of Bolina, who, to escape from his pursuit, threw herself into the 
sea near the mouth of the river Argyros (the silver stream). The 
name Bolina looks much like a feminine form of Apollon. 1 

The reverse of these stories is obviously presented in the trans- Endymi6n. 
parent myth of Endymion and the scarcely less transparent story of 
Narkissos. The former belongs, indeed, to that class of stories which 
furnish us with an absolutely sure starting-point for the interpreta- 
tion of myths. When we find a being, described as a son of Zeus 
and Kalyke (the heaven and the covering night), or of Aethlios (the 
man of many struggles), or of Protogeneia (the early dawn), married 
to Selene (the moon), or to Asterodia 2 (the being whose path is among 
the stars), we at once see the nature of the problem with which we 
have to deal, and feel a just confidence that other equally transparent 

fancy; and, like Apollfin, whose favour- 1 Pausanias vii. 23, 3. 
ite he is, he is tended by nymphs, one 2 Some are inclined apparently to 
of whom (named in one version Lyke, connect Asterodia and Asterie with Ash- 
the shining) loves him, and tells him taroth and Ishtar. It is quite possible 
that blindness will be his punishment if that the Greek may have substituted for 
he is unfaithful to her. This blindness Semitic names the sounds which ap- 
is the blindness of Oidipous. The proached nearest to those in his own 
sequel is that of the legends of Prokris language ; but in this instance he lighted 
or KorSnis, and the blinded Daphnis on a genuine Aryan word, and the word 
falls from a rock (the Leukadian cliff of chosen leaves us in no doubt as to the 
Kephalos) and is slain. If the sun meaning which he attached to the name 
would but remain with the dawn, the and to the story, 
blindness of night would not follow. 


BOOK names in other Greek myths meant originally that which they appear 

" '- ' to mean. Thus, when we find that Prokris is a daughter of Herse, 

we know that whatever Prokris may be, she is the child of the dew, 
and hence we have solid grounds for connecting her name with the 
Sanskrit prish, to sprinkle. The myth of Endymion was localised in 
Elis (where his tomb was shown in the days of Pausanias), doubtless 
because it was the westernmost region of the Peloponnesos, just as 
the Leukadian rocks, the most westerly point of northern Hellas, 
were associated with the name of Kephalos ; and when it was once 
localised, fresh names and incidents, mostly of little value or signifi- 
cance, were readily imported into the tale. Thus one version gave 
him fifty daughters by Selene, to match the fifty sons and daughters 
of Danaos and Aigyptos; others gave him Neis, Iphianassa, and 
others as his wives, or made him, under the unconscious influence of 
the old mythical phrases, the father of Eurydike, the broad flashing 
dawn, who is the bride of Orpheus, In fact, the myth of Endymion 
has produced rather an idea than a tale. It has little incident, and 
scarcely anything which might entitle it to be regarded as epical 
history, for the few adventures ascribed to him by Pausanias 1 have 
manifestly no connexion with the original legend. The visit of 
Selene, followed by an endless sleep, is in substance all that poets or 
antiquarians tell us of; and even this is related by Pausanias with so 
many variations as to show that the myth, from its obvious solar 
character, was too stubborn to be more than thinly disguised. If 
Endymion heads an army, or dethrones a king, this is the mere 
arbitrary and pointless fiction of a later age. The real scene of the 
myth is the land of Latmos, not the Karian hill or cave to which 
Pausanias made him migrate from Elis, but that western region of 
the heavens where the wearied sun finds a resting-place a The word 
itself belongs to the root which has produced the word Lethe, forget- 
fulness, as well as the names of Leto and Leda, the mothers of 
Phoibos and the Dioskouroi. The simplest form of the story is 
perhaps that of Apollodoros, who merely says that Selene loved him 
and that Zeus left him free to choose anything that he might desire. 

1 viii. I. The billows came slowly around, 

2 An address of " Ossian " to the To behold him of brightest hair, 
Setting Sun, which Mr. Campbell Timidly raising their heads 

(iv. 150) pronounces to be a close trans- To gaze on thee beauteous asleep, 
lation of Gaelic, assumed to be older They witless have fled from thy side, 

than 1730, vividly expresses the idea of Take thy sleep within thy cave, 

this myth : O Sun, and come back from sleep re- 
Hast left the blue distance of heaven ? joicing. 

Sorrowless son of the gold-yellow hair I Here we have not only the Latmian 

Night's doorways are ready for thee, cave, but the idea which grew into the 

Thy pavilion of peace in the West. myths of MemnOn, Adonis, and Baldur. 


His choice was an everlasting sleep, in which he might remain chap. 

youthful for ever. 1 His choice was wiser than that of Eos (the ' 

morning or evening light), who obtained for the beautiful Tithonos 
the gift of immortality without asking for eternal youth ; a myth 
as transparent as that of Endymion, for Eos, like Iokaste, is not only 
the wife but also the mother of Tithonos, who in one version is a son 
of Laomedon the Ilian king, in another of Kephalos, who woos and 
slays Prokris. 2 The hidden chamber in which Eos placed her 
decrepit husband is the Latmian hill, where the more fortunate 
Endymion lies in his charmed sleep. Endymion is in short, as his 
name denotes, simply the sun setting opposite to the rising moon. 
Looking at the tale by the light which philology and comparative 
mythology have thus thrown upon it, we may think it incredible that 
any have held it to be an esoteric method of describing. early astrono- 
mical researches. It is scarcely less difficult to see in it, as some- 
have discerned, simply a personification of sleep. In his father 
Aethlios, we see one who, like Odysseus, has suffered much, the 
struggling and toiling sun, 3 and his own name expresses simply the 
downward plunge of the sun into the western waters. 4 The whole idea, 
of Endymion, who is inseparable from the material sun, is altogether 
distinct from that of the separate divinity of Phoibos Apollon, to 
whom he stands in the relation of Gaia to Demeter, or of Nereus to 

Of the story of Narkissos Pausanias 6 gives two versions. The The story 
former, which describes him as wasting away and dying through love ki s =os 1_ 
of his own face and form reflected in a fountain, he rejects on ac- 
count of the utter absurdity of supposing that Narkissos could not 
distinguish between a man and his shadow. Hence he prefers the 
other, but less known, legend, that Narkissos loved his own twin 
sister, and that on her death he found a melancholy comfort in noting 
the likeness of his own form and countenance to those of his lost 
love. But the more common tale that Narkissos was deaf to the 

1 i. 7, 5. remarks (Chips, 6-=c, ii. 80), could not 

2 Tylor, Primitive Culture, i. 312. have arisen ; but as its meaning was 

3 There is no difference of meaning forgotten, the name Endymi6n was 
between Aethlios and iro\iT\as, the formed in a manner analogous to Hy- 
stock epithet of Odysseus. peri&n, a name of the high-soaring sun. 

* It can hardly be questioned that 3 ix. 31, 6. He rejects also the 
4i>Sv/ia yXlov was once the equivalent of notion that the flower was so named 
r\Xlov 5v<r/iat, and that originally the after Narkissos, the former having 
sun iveSv nitnov, where in the Iliad certainly existed before his time, inas- 
and Odyssey we have only the simple much as Persephone, who belongs to an 
verb. Had Endymion remained a re- earlier period, way cangh: while pluck- 
cognised name for the sunset, the mvth ing a narcissus fiom its stem, 
of Endymion, as Professor Max Miiller 


BOOK entreaties of the nymph Echo is nearer to the spirit of the old 

. , V' ,- - phrase, which spoke of the sleep of the tired sun. 1 His very name 

denotes the deadly lethargy (Vap/07) which makes the pleadings of 

Selene fall unheeded on the ear of Endymion; and hence it is that 

when Persephone is to be taken at the close of summer to the land 

of darkness, the narcissus is made the instrument of her capture. It 

is the narcotic which plunges Brynhild into her profound slumber on 

the Glistening Heath, and drowns Briar Rose and her fellows in 

a sleep as still as death. 

iamos and From the lot of Endymion, Narkissos, and Tithonos, Apollon is 

Asklepios. free{ j Qn jy b ecause jjg j s regarded not as the visible sun who dies 

when his day's journey is done, but as the living power who kindles 
his light afresh every morning The one conception is as natural as 
the other, and we still speak of the tired or the unwearied sun, of his 
brief career and his everlasting light, without any consciousness of 
inconsistency. Phoibos is then the ever-bright sun, who can never 
be touched by age. He is emphatically the Akersekomes, the glory 
of whose golden locks no razor is ever to mar. He is at once the 
comforter and healer, the saviour and destroyer, who can slay and 
make alive at will, and from whose piercing glance no secret can be 
kept hid. But although these powers are inseparable from the notion 
of Phoibos Apollon, they are also attributed separately to beings 
whose united qualities make up his full divinity. Thus his know- 
ledge of things to come is given to Iamos ; his healing and life-giving 
powers to Asklepios. 2 The story of the latter brings before us another 
of the countless instances in which the sun is faithless to his love or 
his love is faithless to him. In every case there must be the separa- 
tion ; and the doom of Koronis only reflects the fate which cuts short 
the life of Daphne and Arethousa, Prokris and Iokaste. 3 The myth 

1 The myth of Echo merely repro- Eilhart, the Russian hero Dobruna 
duces that of Salmakis, p. 290. Nikitisch, of the Scottish Macduff, of 

2 This name belongs to the class Volsung who yet kissed his mother 
which cannot be explained by referring before she died, of Signrd, and of Sceaf 
it to any Greek or Aryan words. Mr. the son of Scild, the child brought in 
Brown says that Asklgpios was early the mysterious skiff, which needs neither 
identified with the Phenician Esmun ; sail, rudder,, nor oarsmen. Whence 
but this leaves the name just where it came the popular belief attested by 
was. — Great Dionysiak Myth, ii. 258. such a phrase as that which Grimm 

3 The story of the birth of Asklepios quotes from the Chronicle of Peterhouse, 
agrees substantially with that of Diony- "dentalibusexcisisliterre testanturquod, 
sos ; and the legends of other Aryan si vita comes fuerit, felices in mundfc 
tribes tell the same tale of some of their habeantur?" — Deutsche Mythologie, 362. 
mythical heroes. Of children so born, The Teutonic myths must clearly bf 
Grimm says generally, " Ungeborne, compared with that of Hlodr (Lodur), 
d. h. aus dem Mutterleib geschnittne who is born with helmet and sword, and 
Kinder pflegen Helden zu werden," and this again with the story of Athene', 
adds that this incident marks the stories who springs fully armed from the fore 
of the Persian Rustem, the Tristram of head of Zeus. 


is transparent throughout. The mother of Asklepios is a daughter chap. 

of Phlegyas (the flaming), and Apollon woos her on shore's of the ^ — - 

lake Boibeis ; 1 or, if we take another version given by Apollodoros, 
she is Arsinoe, a daughter of Leukippos (a name in which we see 
the flashing steeds which draw the car of Indra or Achilleus), and 
a sister of Hilaeira and Phoibe, the radiant maidens whom the 
Dioskouroi bore away. 2 When the myth goes on to say that when 
Apollon had left her Koronis yielded herself to the Arkadian Ischys, 
we have a story which simply repeats that of Prokris, for as Kephalos 
returns disguised and wins the love of the child of Herse (the dew), 
so is Ischys simply the strength or power of the lord of light (Arkas). 
In each case, the penalty of faithlessness is death ; and the mode in 
which it is exacted in the myth of Koronis precisely corresponds 
with the legend of Semele. Like Dionysos, Asklepios is born amidst 
and rescued from the flames ; in other words, the light and heat of 
the sun which ripen the fruits of the earth, scorch and consume the 
clouds and the dew, or banish away the lovely tints of early morning. 8 
Throughout the myth we have to deal with different versions which, 
however they may differ from each other, still point to the same 
fountain-head of mythical speech. In one form the story ran that 
Koronis herself exposed her child on the slopes of mount Myrtion, as 
Oidipous was left to die on Kithairon. There he is nourished by a 
goat and a dog, incidents which are reproduced in the myths of 
Cyrus and Romulus. When at length the shepherd Aristhanas 
traced the dog and goat to the spot where the infant lay, he was 
terrified by the splendour which surrounded the child, like the flame 
round the head of the infant Servius in the Roman tale, and that of 
Havelok in the English legend. The wonder, Pausanias adds, was 
soon noised abroad, and throughout land and sea the tidings were 
carried that Asklepios healed the sick and raised the dead. 1 The 
wisdom by which he obtained this power he received from the teach 
ing of the wise centaur Cheiron ; but we have to mark that Cheiron 
is the teacher not only of Asklepios but of Iason and Achilleus, who 

1 Pind. Pyth. iii. 14. with the myths of the glass of Agrippa 

2 Apollod. iii. 10, 3. and of the well of Apollon Thyrxis as 

3 The Dawn cannot long survive the related by Pausanias. 

birth of the sun. Hence the mother of 4 ii. 26, 4. To this marvel of the 
Volsung dies as soon as her child has flame was referred his title Aiglaer, the 
kissed her. So in Grimm's story of the gleaming, which simply reproduces the 
Almond Tree, the mother of the sun- Lykian epithet of his father Phoibos. 
child, who is as white as snow and as The healing powers of Asklepios are 
red as blood, is so delighted at seeing seen in the German stories of Grand- 
her babe that she dies. The same lot father Death, Brother Lustig, and the 
is the portion of the mother in the story Spirit in the Bottle, in which we have 
of Little Snow-white, the Dawn-maiden also in another form the compact 
a story w hich suggests a comparison between Phoibos and Hermes. 


BOOK also represent the wisdom and brightness or power of Phoibos, and 


the descent of Cheiron himself connects him with the phenomena of 
daylight. When Ixion in his boundless pride sought to seize Here 
the bright queen of the air herself, Zeus placed in his way the mist- 
maiden NephelS from whom was born the Kentaur, 1 as the sun in the 
heights of heaven calls forth the clouds which move like horses 
across the sky. It is difficult not to see in these forms of Hellenic 
mythology a reflexion of the Vedic Gandharvas. 2 Not only has Indra 
the Harits (the Greek Charites) as his steeds, but the morning her. 
self as the bride of the sun is spoken of as a horse, 8 and a hymn 
addressed to the sun-horse says, "Yama brought the horse, Trita 
harnessed him, Indra first sat on him, the Gandharva took hold of 
his rein." 1 It was inevitable that, when the word ceased to be 
understood in its original sense, the brightness of the clouds which 
seem to stretch in endless ranks to the furthermost abyss of heaven 
should suggest the notion of a wisdom which Phoibos receives from 
Zeus but cannot impart in its fulness to Hermes. What part of the 
heaven is there to which the cloud may not wander ? what secret is 
there in nature which Cheiron cannot lay bare ? There were, how- 
ever, other traditions, one of which asserted that Asklepios wrought 
his wonderful cures through the blood of Gorgo, while another 
related of him the story which is assigned elsewhere to Polyidos the 
son of Koiranos. 6 But like almost all the other beings to whose 
kindred he belonged, Asklepios must soon die. The doom of Patro 
klos and Achilleus, Sarpedon and Memnon, was upon him also. 

1 Pind. Pyth. ii. 80. Centaure par excellence, puisqui'l est 

2 M. Breal, in his masterly analysis le pere de cette famille de monstres : il 
of the myth of Oidipous, has no doubt correspond au Gandharva vedique." 

of their identity. "M. Adalbert Kuhn," s Professor Max Miiller cites the 

he says, "dans un de ses plus ingenieux explanation of Yaska : " Saranyu, the 

travaux, a montre l'identite des Cen- daughter of Tvashtar, had twins from 

taures et des Gandharvas, ces etres Vivasvat, the sun. She placed another 

fantastiques, qui jouent dans la mytho- like her in her place, changed her form 

logie indienne le me'me role que les into that of a horse, and ran off. Vi- 

Centaures chez les Grecs. Us portent vasvat the sun likewise assumed the 

le meme nom : c'est ce que prouve form of a horse, followed her, and 

l'analyse grammaticale des deux mots. embraced her. Hence the two Asvins 

Comme les Centaures, les Gandharvas were born, and the -substitute (Savarna) 

ne forment qu'une seule famille. Us bore Manu." — Lectures on Language, 

sont le fruit de l'union du Gandharva second series, 482. These Asvins are 

avec les Nuees. En examinant les the Dioskouroi. 

passages vediques ou il est question de 4 Max Muller, Lectures, second 

ces divinites, M. Kuhn a demontre que series, 515. 

Gandharva est le nom du soleil, consi- s Apollod. iii. 10, 3, and iii. 3, I. 

dere au moment oil il repose parmi les This story, as we have already seen, is 

nuees et semble celebrer son union avec that of the Snake Leaves, and reappears 

elles, et que les Gandharvas sont les in Hindu as well as in Teutonic fairy 

nuages qui paraissent chevaucher dans tales. See p. 94. 
le ciel. Ixion chez les Grecs est le 


Either Zeus feared' that men, once possessed of the secret of CHAP. 

Asklepios, might conquer death altogether, or Plouton cdrnplained ■ ^ — - 

that his kingdom would be left desolate ; and the thunderbolt which 
crushed Phaethon smote down the benignant son of Phoibos, and 
the sun-god in his vengeance slew the Kyklopes, the fashioners of the 
fiery lightnings for the lord of heaven. 1 But throughout Hellas 
' Asklepios remained the healer and the restorer of life, and accord- 
ingly the serpent is everywhere his special emblem, as the mythology 
of the Linga would lead us to expect. 2 

The myth of Ixion exhibits the sun as bound to the four-spoked The stories 
wheel which is whirled round everlastingly in the sky. 3 In that of an d Atlas. 
Sisyphos we see the same being condemned to the daily toil of 
heaving a stone to the summit of a hill from which it immediately 
rolls down. This idea of tasks unwillingly done, or of natural 
operations as accomplished by means of punishment, is found also 
in the myth of Atlas, a name which like that of Tantalos denotes 
endurance and suffering, and so passes into the notion of arrogance 
or presumption. But the idea of a being who supported the heaven 
above the earth, as of a being who guides the horses of the sun, was 
awakened in the human mind long before the task was regarded 
as a penalty. Indeed, it can scarcely be said that this idea is clearly 
expressed in the Odyssey, which says of Atlas that he knows all the 
depths of the sea and that he holds or guards the lofty pillars which 
keep the heaven from falling to crush the earth. 4 It is scarcely 
prominent even when the Hesiodic poet speaks of him as doing 
his work under a strong necessity, for this is no more than the 
force which compels Phoibos to leave Delos for Pytho, and carries 

1 Apollod. iii. 10, 4 ; Diod. iv. 71. sequel of the Gaelic tale already men- 
In the Iliad, Asklepios is simply the tioned represents Grimm's legend of 
blameless healer, who is the father of the Feather Bird. 

Machaon and Podaleirios, the wise * It can scarcely be doubted that the 

physicians, who accompany the Achaians words a,u<f>ls exoviriv, Od. i. 54, do not 

to Ilion. These are descendants of mean that these columns surround the 

Paieon. earth, for in this case they must be not 

2 See section xii. of this chapter. only many in number, but it would be 

3 rerpiiKvafiOV Seo/tdv. Find. Pyih. obvious to the men of a myth-making 
ii. 80. This wheel reappears in the and myth-speaking age, that a being 
Gaelic story of the Widow and her stationed in one spot could not keep up, 
Daughters (Campbell, ii. 265), and in or hold, or guard, a number of pillars 
Grimm's German tale of the Iron Stove. surrounding either a square or a circular 
The treasure-house of Ixion, which earth. It is at the least certain that 
none may enter without being either this is not the meaning of the Hesiodic 
destroyed like Hesioneus or betrayed by poet, who gives to Atlas a local habita- 
marks of gold or blood, reappears in a tion at the utmost bounds of the earth 
vast number of popular stories, and is near the abode of the Hesperides, and 
the foundation of the story of Blue- makes him bear the heavens on his 
beard Compare the Woodcutter's head and hands. The Hellenic Atlas 
Child' in Grimm's collection. The is simply the Vedic Skambha, p. 204. 


BOCK Kephalos, Bellerophon, and Odysseus to their doom in the far west. 

?J: • Nor in either of these poems is there anything to warrant the 

inference that the poet regarded Atlas as a mountain. This idea 
comes up in the myth of Perseus, who sees the old man bowing 
beneath his fearful load, and holding the Gorgon's face before his 
eyes, turns him into stone ; and the stone which is to bear up the 
brazen heaven must needs be a great mountain, whether in Libya 
or in other regions, for the African Atlas was not the only mountain 
which bore the name. But the phrase in the Odyssey which speaks 
of him as knowing all the depths of the sea points to a still earlier 
stage of the myth, in which Atlas was possessed of the wisdom 
of Phoibos and was probably Phoibos himself. Regarded thus, the 
myths which make the Okeanid Pleione his wife and the Pleiades 
his children, or which give him Aithra for his bride and make her 
the mother of the Hyades and the Hesperides, are at once explained. 
He is thus naturally the father of Hesperos, the most beautiful star of 
the heavens, who appears as the herald of Eos in the morning and 
is again seen by her side in the evening. The Hellenic Heosphoros, 
the Latin Lucifer, the Light-bringer, who is Phosphoros, is also called 
a son of Astraios and Eos, the starlit skies of dawn. 
The gar- Far away in the west by the stream of the placid Ocean is 

Hesne- t ^ le dwelling of the Hesperides, the children or sisters of Hesperos, 
rides. the evening star, or, as they might also be termed, of Atlas or of 

Phorkys. This beautiful island which no bark ever approaches, and 
where the ambrosial streams flow perpetually by the couch of Zeus, 
is nevertheless hard by the land of the Gorgons and near the bounds 
of that everlasting darkness which is the abode of Ahi and Pani, of 
Geryon, Cacus, and Echidna. Hence the dragon Ladon guards with 
them the golden apples which Gaia gave to Here when she became 
the bride of Zeus, these apples being the golden-tinted clouds or 
herds of Helios, the same word being used to denote both. 1 It 
remained only to give them names easily supplied by the countless 
epithets of the morning or evening twilight, and to assign to them a 
local habitation, which was found close to the pillars or the mountain 
of Atlas which bears up the brazen heaven above the earth. 
Atlas and Atlas is thus brought into close connexion with Helios, the bright 

HyperlSn. g d j the Latin Sol 2 and our sun. In the Iliad and Odyssey he is 
himself Hyperion, the climber : in the Hesiodic Theogony, Hyperion 
becomes his father by the same process which made Zeus the son of 
Kronos, — his mother being Theia, the brilliant, or Euryphaessa, the 
shedder of the broad light In the former poems he rises every 
1 Max Muller, Selected Essays, i. 603. s See note i , p. 260. 

HYPERt6N. 285 

morning from a beautiful lake by the deep-flowing stream of Ocean, CHAP. 

and having accomplished his journey across the heaven pluflges again ' - • ■ ' 

into the western waters. Elsewhere this lake becomes a magnificent 

palace, on which poets lavished all their wealth of fancy; but 

this splendid abode is none other than the house of Tantalos, 

the treasury of Ixion, the palace of Allah-ud-deen in the Arabian tale. 

Through the heaven his chariot was borne by gleaming steeds, 

the Rohits and Harits of the Veda ; but his nightly journey from the 

west to the east is accomplished in a golden cup wrought by 

Hephaistos, or, as others had it, on a golden bed. 1 But greater 

than his wealth is his wisdom. He sees and knows all things ; and 

thus when Hekate cannot answer her question, Helios tells Demeter 

to what place Kore has been taken, and again informs Hephaistos of 

the faithlessness of Aphrodite. It is therefore an inconsistency when 

the poet of the Odyssey represents him as not aware of the slaughter 

of his oxen by Eurylochos, until the daughters of Neaira bring him 

the tidings ■ but the poet returns at once to the true myth, when he 

makes Helios utter the threat that unless he is avenged, he will 

straightway go and shine among the dead. These cattle, which in 

the Vedic hymns and in most other Greek myths are the beautiful 

clouds of the Phaiakian land, are here (like the gods of the Arabian 

Kaaba), the days of the lunar* year, seven herds of fifty each, the 

number of which is never increased or lessened ; and their death 

is the wasting of time or the killing of the days by the comrades 

of Odysseus. 

The same process which made Helios a son of Hyperion made Helios and 
him also the father of Phaethon. 2 In the Iliad he is Helios Phaethon phaglh6n - 
not less than Helios Hyperion • but when the name had come to 
denote a distinct personality, it served a convenient purpose in 
accounting for some of the phenomena of the year. The hypothesis 
of madness was called in to explain the slaughter of the boy Eunomos 
by Herakles ; but it was at the least as reasonable to say that if the 
sun destroyed the fruits and flowers which his genial warmth had 

1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, i. 3°3- ty tne starry, spotted Leopard of the 

, The incident is the same as that which night, and where the noble beast is 

! is signified by the myth of Dionysos caught while going down the dark 

Dithvreites the two doors being those, passage and perishes, although only to 

necessarily, of the East and the West. be reborn in triumph at the Eastern 

It is also exhibited in the contest of the Gate. The two animals, as protagonists 

heraldic Lion and Leopard, the simple of night and day, are thus naturally 

interpretation being that "the Lion, hostile. -Brown , The Umcorn, 76. 
type of the hunting, radiate, diurnal 2 Some have_ held that the name 

Sun speeds across heaven towards his Helios reappears in the Slavonic Volos, 

fate and death in the Den of the Two the god of cattle.— Ralston, Songs of 

Entrances the nocturnal cave tenanted the Russian People, 252. 




and Tele- 

The bond- 
age of 

called into life, it must be because some one who had not the skill 
' and the strength of Helios was holding the reins of his chariot. 1 
Hence in times of excessive heat or drought the phrase ran that 
Phaethon, the mortal son of an undying father, was unable to guide 
the horses of Helios, while the thunderstorm, which ended the 
drought and discomfited Vritra and the Sphinx, dealt also the death- 
blow to Phaethon and plunged him into the sea. The tears of the 
Heliades, his sisters, like the drops which fell from the eyes of Zeus 
on the death of his son Sarpedon, answer to the down-pouring rain 
which follows the discharge of the lightning. 

Phaethon, then, is strictly a reflexion of his father with all his 
beauty and all his splendour, but without his discretion or his 
strength ; and the charge given to him that he is not to whip the 
fiery steeds is of the very essence of the story. If he would but 
abstain from this, they would bring him safely to his journey's end ; 
but he fails to obey, and is smitten. The parallel between this legend 
and that of Patroklos is singularly exact As Phaethon is allowed 
to drive the horses of Helios under a strict charge that he shall not 
touch them with his whip, so Achilleus suffers Patroklos to put on 
his armour and ascend his chariot under the injunction that so soon 
as he has driven the Trojans from the ships he is not to attempt to 
pursue them to the city. Patroklos disobeys the command and is 
slain by Hektor; but the sorrow of the Heliades is altogether sur- 
passed by the fiery agony of Achilleus. It is in truth impossible not 
to see the same weakened reflexion of a stronger personality in the 
Latin Remus the brother of Romulus, in Arjuna the companion of 
Krishna, in Peirithoos the associate of Theseus, and in all the other 
mythical instances cited by Cicero as examples of genuine friendship. 
In the folk-lore of the East these secondaries, represented by Faithful 
John in the Teutonic story, reappear as Luxman in the legend of 
Ramah, and as Butti in the tale of Vicram Maharajah. Nor can 
we fail to discern the same idea in the strange story of Absyrtos, the 
younger and weaker brother of the wise and unscrupulous Medeia, 
who scatters his limbs in the sea to stay the pursuit of Aietes, — a 
vivid image of the young sun as torn into pieces among the vapours 
that surround him, while the light falling in isolated patches on the 
sea seems to set bounds to the encroaching darkness which gives way 
before the conqueror of the clouds. 

The slaughter of the Kykl&pes brought on Phoibos the sentence 
of a year's servitude ; and thus we have in the myth of Apollon him- 

1 This is the Irish story of Cuchullin and Ferdiah, — Fergusson, Irish bejor: 
the Conquest. 


self the germs of the hard bondage which weighs down Herakles chap. 

through his whole career, and is only less prominent in the* mythical ' — r~- 

histories of Perseus, Theseus, and other heroes, who, like Achilleus, andHeL 
fight in a quarrel which is not of their own choosing or making. 1 klfis - 
The master whom Phoibos serves is one between whom and him- 
self there is no such contrariety of will as marks the relations of 
Herakles with Eurystheus. He is no hard exacter of tasks set in 
mere caprice to tax his servant's strength to the utmost ; but he is 
well content to have under his roof one who, like the Brownie of 
modern superstition, has brought with him health and wealth and 
all good things. One thing alone is wanting, and this even Phoibos 
cannot grant him. It is the life of Alkestis, the pure, the devoted, 
the self-sacrificing, for it had been told to Admetos that he might 
escape death, if only his parents or his wife would die in his stead, 
and Alkestis has taken the doom upon herself. 3 Thus in the very 
prime of her beauty she is summoned by Thanatos, death, to leave 
her home and children, and to cross with him the gloomy stream 
which separates the land of the living from the regions of the dead ; 
and although Phoibos intercedes for a short respite, the gloomy 
being whose debtor she is lays his icy hands upon her and will not let 
go until the mighty Herakles grapples with him, and having by main 
force rescued her from his grasp, brings her "back to Admetos. Such 
is the story told by Euripides, a story in which the character of 
Herakles is exhibited in a light of broad burlesque altogether beyond 
that of the Hymn to Hermes. We see in it at once the main 
features of the cognate legends. It is essentially the myth of 
Orpheus who like Admetos must be parted from his lovely bride, 
and who differs from Admetos only in this, that he must go and 
seek for her himself. In the one story the serpent stings and causes 
the death of Eurydike : in the other, when Admetos enters his 
bridal chamber on the day of his marriage, he sees on the bed a 
knot of twisted snakes, the omen of the grief that is coming. But 
although Alkestis may die, death cannot retain dominion over her ; 
and thus we have again the story of the simple phrases that the 
beautiful dawn or twilight, who is the bride of the sun, must die 

1 " The thought of the sun as a 2 Hence the connexion of the name 

bondman led the Peruvian Inca to deny with that of AlkmenS or of (Athene) 

his pretension to be the doer of all Alalkomene. Mr. Brown, Great Diony-^ 

things ; for, if he were free, he would siak Myth, ii. 245, claims Alalkomene' 

go and visit other parts of the heavens as Phenician ; but he does not give the 

where he had never been. He is, said Phenician form. There seems to be no 

the Inca, like a tied beast who goes sufficient reason for surrendering either 

ever round and round in the same this word or Aphrodite to the Semitic 

track."— Max MUller, Chips, &>c., ii. vocabulary. 




of Hera- 

Herald 6s 
and Eu- 

after sunset, if the sun himself is to live on and gladden the world 
- with his light,— must die, if she herself is to live again and stand 
before her husband in all her ancient beauty. At this point the 
myth of Admetos stops short, just as the Odyssey leaves the chief, 
after his toil is ended, with the faithful Penelope, although it hints at 
a coming separation which is to end in death. The legend of 
Admetos carries on the tale a step further, and the vanishing of 
Eurydike just as she reaches the earth is the vanishing of Daphne 
from Apollon, of Arethousa from Alpheios, or it is the death of 
Prokris slain by the unwitting Kephalos. 

But this idea of servitude which is thus kept in the background 
in the myths of Apollon serves as the links which connect together 
all the phases and scenes of the life of Herakles. He is throughout 
the toiling, suffering hero, who is never to reap any fruit of his 
labour, and who can be cheered even by the presence and the love 
of IolS, only when the fiery garment is eating deep into his flesh. 
When this idea once becomes prominent, a series of tasks and of 
successful achievements of these tasks was the inevitable sequel. 
What is there which the sun-god in his majesty and power cannot 
accomplish? What part of the wide universe is there which his 
light cannot penetrate? It mattered not whither or against what 
foes Eurystheus might send him ; he must assuredly return triumphant 
over every adversary. On this fruitful stem would grow up a wealth 
of stories which mythographers might arrange according to -any 
system suggested by their fancy, or which might be modified to suit 
any passing whim or local tradition and association ; and so long as 
we remember that such systematic arrangements are results of recent 
ages, we may adopt any such plan as the most convenient way of 
dealing with the endless series of legends, all of them more or less 
transparent, and all pointing out with unmistakeable clearness the 
character of the hero who is the greatest representation of Indra on 
Hellenic soil. From first to last, his action is as beneficent to the 
children of men as it is fatal to the enemies of light, and the child 
who strangles in his cradle the deadly snakes of darkness grows up 
into the irresistible hero whom no danger can daunt and no difficulties 
can baffle. 

The immense number of exploits attributed to him, the arrange- 
ment of which seems to have afforded a special delight to more recent 
mythographers, would lead us to expect a large variety of traditions 
modified by local associations. To go through them all would be an 
endless and an unprofitable task; and we may safely accept the 
notices of the Homeric and lyric poets as the more genuine forms of 


the myth. Like Phoibos, Hermes, Dlonysos, and others, he is a son ci \^ Pm 

of Zeus, born, as some said, in brilliant Argos, or as others ralated, in ' 

the Boiotian Thebes. With him is born his twin brother Iphikl£s, 
the son — so the tale went — of Amphitryon ; and thus the child of 
the mortal father stands to the son of the undying king of Olympos 
in the relation of Phaethon to Helios, of Patroklos to Achilleus, or of 
Telemachos to the chieftain of Ithaka. The subjection of the hero 
to his kinsman was brought about by the folly of Zeus, who, on the day 
of his birth, boasted himself as the father of one who was to rule over 
all the house of Perseus. Here" thereupon, urged on by At£, the 
spirit of mischief, made him swear that the child that day to be born 
of his lineage should be this ruler, and summoning the Eileithyiai 
bade them see that Eurystheus came into the world before Hera- 
kles. So wroth was Zeus when Here told him that the good man 
Eurystheus must, according to his oath, be king of Argos, that 
he seized Ate by the hair of her head, and swearing that she should 
never again darken the courts of heaven, hurled her from Olympos. 
Thus the weaker came to be tyrant over the stronger ; but when the 
mythographers had systematised his labours, thny related that Zeus 
made a compact by which Herakles should become immortal when 
he had brought his twelve tasks to a successful issue. The story of 
his birth tells us not only of the child in his cradle strangling the 
horrid snakes of darkness which seek to destroy their enemy, but of 
an infancy as troubled as that of Telephos or Oidipous. Like them, 
Alkmene, favouring the jealousy of Here, exposed the babe on the 
plain which thence received the name of Herakles ; and it is picked 
up, of course, by the dawn goddess Athene, who beseeches Here, the 
queen of the blue heaven, to nourish it. The child bites hard, and 
Here flings it back to Athene, who carries it to her mother. 1 The 
boy grows up the model of human strength and power ; and his 
teachers point to the cloudland to which he himself belongs. Auto- 
lykos and Eurytos, by whom he is taught to wrestle and to shoot with 
the bow, denote the light and splendour of morning ; Kastor, who 
shows him how to fight in heavy armour, is the twin brother, of Poly- 
deukes, these twins answering to the Vedic Asvins or horsemen ; and 
Linos, who teaches him music, is akin to Hermes, Pan, Orpheus, and 
Amphion. The harper is slain by his pupil, and Amphitryon, fearing 
that his son might use his strength in a like way again, sends him to 
tend cattle, and in this task, which in other myths is performed by 
Sarama or the daughters of Neiara, he lives until he has reached the 
full strength of youth. Thus far we have a time answering to the 

1 Diocl. iv. q. 





The lions 
of Kith- 
airon and 

bright period in which Phoibos is tended by the nymphs in his infancy, 
■ when his face is unsoiled, and his raiment all white, and his terrible 
sword is not yet belted to his side. It is the picture of the unclouded 
sun rising in pure splendour, seeing the heavens which he must climb, 
and ready for the conflicts which may await him — gloomy mists and 
angry storm-clouds. The moral aspect which this myth may be made 
to assume must be that of self-denial. The smooth road of indulgence 
is the easiest on which to travel ; he who takes the rugged path of 
duty must do so from deliberate choice ; and thus the brave Herakles, 
going forth to his long series of labours, suggests to the sophist 
Prodikos the beautiful apologue in which Arete and Kakia, virtue and 
vice, each claim his obedience, as Aphrodite and Athene each claim 
the golden prize which Paris must adjudge. The one promises end- 
less pleasures here and hereafter • the other holds out the prospect of 
hard days followed by healthful slumbers, and warns him that nothing 
good was ever won without labour, nothing great ever done without 
toil. The mind of Herakles is made up at once ; and the greatest 
of all mythical heroes is thus made to inforce the highest lessons of 
human duty, and to present the highest standard of human action. 
The apologue is full of beauty and truth, and there is manifestly no 
harm in such applications of myths when the myths themselves are 
strained or not distorted in the process. The images of self-restraint, 
of power used for the good of others, are prominent in the lives of 
all' or almost all the Zeus-born heroes ; but these are not their only 
aspects, and it is as necessary to remember that other myths told of 
Herakles can no more be reconciled with this standard of generous 
self-devotion than the conduct of Odysseus as he approaches the 
Seirens' island with the Christian duty of resisting temptation. 

With this high heroic temper Herakles sets forth for his first 
great fight with the lion of Kithairon, and whether from its carcase 
or from that of the Nemean beast, he obtains the lion's skin with 
which he is seen so commonly represented, and which reappears in 
the jackal's skin in the story of the enchanted Hindoo raja. 1 The 

In his chapters on Ancient Faiths 
and Legends, M. Maury enters at 
length into the physiological questions 
which on the Euemeristic hypothesis 
must be connected with the myth of the 
Nemean Lion. However conclusive his 
arguments, may be, the inquiry is almost 
superfluous. It cannot be necessary to 
disprove the existence of lions in the 
Peloponnese, unless we must also dis- 
prove that of the Sphinx or the Chi- 
maira. But, in truth, the dwelling of 

1 With this lion's skin must be com- 
pared the fish-skin with which the sun- 
god is represented in the characters of 
Proteus and Onnes or Dagon, and 
which might be worn by Phoibos Del- 
phinios. With the latter, it is simply a 
sign of the sun as rising like Aphrodite 
from the sea ; the lion's skin may denote 
perhaps the raiment of tawny cloud 
which the sun seems to trail behind 
him as he fights his way through the 
vapours whom he is said to overcome. 


myth of the fifty daughters of Thestios or Thespios, which in some Con- 
versions is connected with his first great exploit, is akin *to that of - 
the fifty daughters of Danaos and the fifty children whom Asterodia 
bare to Endymion. 1 It is but one instance out of many in which 
we have the sun under an aspect altogether inconsistent with the 
ideal of Prodikos. Herakles is no longer the hero who imposes on 
himself a hard discipline, but the voluptuous wanderer who has many 
loves in many lands. In his attack on the envoys of Erginos he is 
armed with a coat of mail brought to him by the dawn-goddess 
Athene, as Achilleus and Sigurd wear the armour brought to them 
by Thetis and Hjordis. 3 The same thought suggested the gift of 
the bow and arrows from Phoibos, the lord of the spear-like sunbeams, 
of the sword from Hermes, whose stroke can split the forest trees, 
of the peplos from Athene, the clear-faced morning. The arrows 
bestowed on himbyApollon it must specially be noted are poisoned; 
and these poisoned barbs are used by Philoktetes, who receives them 
from Neoptolemos, the child of Achilleus, the brilliant but short-lived 
sun, and by Odysseus, whom Athene restores to youthful beauty as 
his life's labour draws towards its end. But we have no historical evi- 
dence that poisoned arrows were used by any Hellenic tribes, or that 
they would not have regarded the employment of such weapons with 
the utmost horror. How then comes it to pass that the poets of the 
Iliad and Odyssey can attribute to the Achaian heroes practices from 
which their kinsmen would have shrunk with disgust ? The mystery is 
easily solved. The equivocation which turned the violet-tinted rays 
of morning into spears was inevitable ; the change of the spears or 
arrows into poisoned barbs was, at the least, as natural and necessary. 3 

As the conquest of the lion of Kithairon is the first great exploit, H»rakifs-. 
so according to the systematising mythographers the bringing up of beros. 
the dog Kerberos 4 from Hades is the last. This story is mentioned 

the Nemeanlionis the den or cave with the legend which makes Apoll6n him- 

two openings or entrances, the gates self the child of (Let6) the sombre night, 
through one of which the sun enters * The word Ids, toy, which furnished 

the land of night, while through the a name for the violet hue, for a spear, 

other he comes forth again in the morn- and for poison, is really a homonym 

ing. — Maury, Croyances et Legendes traceable to two or three roots ; and 

de t Antiquiti, 194. This lion is also thus far the equivocation differs from 

represented as mortally afraid of the that which turned Lykaon into a wolf, 

cock, — for an obvious reason. — Guber and Arkas into a bear, these names- 

natis, Zoological Mythology, ii. 158. being in fact of the same signification, 

1 See p. 278. although the men who uttered them, 

* Erginos is the father of Trophonios had ceased to be conscious of it. 
and Agamede's, the builders of the * The name Kerberos is the Sanskrit 

Delphian shrine — the myth of the Sarvara, or Sambara, one of the enemies 

children of darkness raising the sane- slain by Indra. — Max Miiller, Chips, ii. 

tuary of the lord of light answering to 1S2, 188. 




The mad- 
ness of 

by the poet of the Odyssey, who makes Herakles tell Odysseus that 
■" his sufferings are but a reflexion of the toils which he had himself 
undergone by the tyranny of the mean Eurystheus, and that this 
task of bringing up the hound had been achieved by the aid of 
Athene and Hermes, the dawn and the breeze of morning. 1 On 
this framework was built an elaborate superstructure, which we need 
not examine closely, but of which some at least of the details are 
significant. The slaughter of the Kentaurs by Herakles, for which 
he needed purification before descending to Hades, is the conquest 
and dispersion of the vapours by the sun as he rises in the heaven ; 
and the crime of Herakles is only another form of that of Ixion. As 
he returns to the upper world he rescues Theseus, himself one of the 
great solar heroes, and the child of Aithra, the pure air ; but Peiri- 
thpos must remain behind, as Patroklos must die even though he 
be the friend of Achilleus. The dog of Yama thus brought back is, 
of course, carried down again by Herakles to the nether world. 

But the sun as he rises in the heaven acquires a fiercer power ; 
and thus Apollon becomes Chrysaor, and Herakles becomes mad. 
It is the raging of the heat which burns up the fruits of the earth 
which it has fostered, and so Herakles slays his own children by 
Megara, and two also of the sons of Iphikles. At this point he is 
represented by some as asking the Pythian priestess where he should 
make his abode, and as receiving from her, instead of his former 
title, Alkaios or Alkides, the sturdy, the name of Herakles, the 
heavenly. 2 As such, he is the avenger of the fraud of Laomedon, 
who had refused to pay the promised recompense to Poseidon and 
Phoibos for building his walls and tending his flocks. As in the case 
of Kepheus or of Oineus, the offended deities send a monster to 
ravage the fields of Ilion, and Laomedon promises to bestow his 
immortal horses on any one who will slay it. But again he breaks 
his oath, by giving mortal steeds to Herakles when the beast has 
been killed. The result is the first Trojan war mentioned in the 
Iliad, which relates how Herakles, coming with six ships and few 
men, shattered its towers and left its streets desolate. 8 In other 

1 Od. xi. 626; //. viii. 369. The 
latter passage is especially noteworthy 
as indicating that clashing of wills 
between Athene 1 and Zeus which Mr. 
Gladstone is anxious to keep as much 
as possible in the background. Athene 1 
here speaks of Zeus as mad, hard of 
heart, a blunderer, and an obstacle in 
her path. 

2 The name Herakles is the same as 
• Here, wilh the termination denoting 

glory or renown. 

* //. v. 640. This story is put into 
the mouth of the Herakleid Tlepolemos 
when he is about to slay Sarped6n. — 
Grote, Hist. Gr. i. 388. The other 
incidents simply repeat the story of 
Kepheus. The oracle says that a 
maiden must be given up to the sea- 
monster, and the lot falls on Hesione", 
the daughter of Laomedon, as in the 
Libyan tale it falls on Andromeda, the 


words, Herakles is mightier than Agamemnon. He is the sun-god chap. 

demanding his own recompense : and the Achaians among whom ' ' 

Achilleus fights are the sun-children seeking to recover the beautiful 
light of evening and the treasures which have been stolen with her 
from the west. 

Of the other exploits of Herakles, the greater number explain Orthros 
themselves. The Nemean lion is the offspring of Typhon, Orthros, Hydra. 
or Echidna ; in other words, it is sprung from Vritra, the dark thief, 
and Ahi, the throttling snake of darkness, and it is as surely slain by 
Herakles as the snakes which had assaulted him in the cradle. 
Another child of the same horrid parents is the Lernaian Hydra, 
its very name denoting a monster who, like the Sphinx or the Panis, 
shuts up the waters and causes drought. It has many heads, one 
being immortal, as the storm must constantly supply new clouds 
while the vapours are driven off by the sun into space. Hence the 
story went that although Herakles could burn away its mortal heads, 
as the sun burns up the clouds, still he can but hide away the mist 
or vapour itself, which at its appointed time must again darken the 
sky. In this fight he is aided by Iolaos, the son of Iphikles, a name 
recalling, like that of Iole, the violet-tinted clouds which can be seen 
only when the face of the heaven is clear of the murky vapours. 
Hence it is that Eurystheus is slain when Iolaos rises from the under 
world to punish him for demanding from the children of the dawn- 
goddess Athene the surrender of the Herakleids, who had found 
among them a congenial home. The stag of Keryneia is, according 
to some versions, slain, in others only seized by Herakles, who bears 
it with its golden antlers and brazen feet to Artemis and Phoibos. 
The story of the Erymanthian boar is in some accounts transferred 
from Argos to Thessaly or Phrygia, the monster itself, which Herakles 
chases through deep snow, being closely akin to the Chimaira slain 
by Bellerophon. In the myth of the Augeian stables HeraklSs plays 
the part of Indra, when he lets loose the waters imprisoned by the 
Pani. 1 In this case the plague of drought is regarded not so much 
in its effects on the health of man as in its influence on nature 

daughter of Kepheus. Herakles, of the growth of the heads of the Lernaian 

course, plays the part of Perseus, and Hydra. This myth is repeated in the 

is aided by Athene and the Trojans, tale of the Two Stepsisters, and in the 

who build him a tower to help him in Gaelic story of the Battle of the Birds, 

the fight. of which Mr. Campbell ( Tales of the 

1 This exploit, in the Norse story of West Highlands, i. 61) says that "it 

the Mastermaid, is performed by the might have been taken from classical 

prince, who finds that, unless he guides mythology if it stood alone, but Norwe- 

the pitchfork aright, ten pitchforks full gian peasants and West Highlanders 

of filth come in for every one that he could not so twist the story of Hercules 

losses out, an incident which recalls into the same shape." 


E ?P K generally, in the disorder, decay, unseemliness, and filth which must 
v — — ■ — follow from it. The clouds, here the cattle of Augeias, may move 
across the sky, but they drop down no water on the earth, and do 
nothing towards lessening the evil. Of these clouds Augeias promises 
that Herakles shall become in part the lord, if he can but cleanse 
their stables. The task is done ; but Augeias, like Laomedon, refuses 
to abide by his bargain, and even defeats HeraklSs and his companions 
in a narrow Eleian gorge. But the victory of Augeias is fatal to him- 
self, and with Kteatos and Eurytos he is slain by Herakles. 
The Mara- The myth of the Cretan bull seems to involve a confusion similar 

thonian . 

bull. to that which has led some to identify the serpent who is regarded as 

an object of love and affection in the Phallic worship, with the 
serpent who is always an object of mere aversion and disgust. 1 The 
bull which bears Europe 1 from the Phoinikian land answers to the 
bull Indra, which traverses the heaven, bearing the dawn from the 
east to the west. The Cretan bull, like his fellow in the Gnossian 
labyrinth, who devours the tribute children from the city of the 
dawn-goddess, is a dark and malignant monster driven mad by 
Poseidon ; but Crete lay within the circle of Phenician influence, 
and the bull may be the savage and devouring Moloch of the Semitic 
tribes. Although Herakles carries this monster home on his back, 
he is compelled to let it go again, and it reappears as the bull who 
ravages the fields of Marathon, till it is slain by the hands of 
Theseus, who is the slayer also of the Minotauros. The clouds and 
vapours pursued and conquered by the hero are seen again in the 
mares of Diomedes, which consume their master and are thus 
rendered tame, perhaps as the isolated clouds are unable to resist the 
sun when the moisture which has produced them has been subdued. 
They appear also as the Stymphalian birds, with claws, wings, and 
beaks resembling those of the Sphinx, and like her being eaters of 
human flesh or destroyers of men and beasts. These birds, it is 
said, had taken refuge in the Stymphalian lake, because they were 
afraid of the wolves— a phrase which exhibits the dark storm-clouds 
as dreading the rays (Lykoi) of the sun, which can only appear when 
themselves have been defeated. These clouds reappear yet again as the 
cattle stolen by Geryon, and recovered by Herakles— a myth of which 
the legend of Cacus exhibits the most striking and probably the most 
genuine form. Nor is the legend of the golden apples guarded by 
the Hesperides anything more than a repetition of the same idea, 
being itself, as we have seen, a result of the same kind of equivoca- 
tion which produced the myths of Lykaon, Arktouros, and Kallisto. 
1 See section xii. of this chapter. 

ar£s and kyknos. 2 95 

In the girdle of Hippolyte we have one of those mysterious chap. 

emblems which are associated with the Linga in the worship of'— — ; ' 

Vishnu. It is the magic kestos of Aphrodite and the wreath of the f Hippo- 
Kadmeian Harmonia. Into the myth which related how Herakles lyte - 
became its possessor, the mythographers have introduced a series of 
incidents, some of which do not belong to it, while others merely 
repeat each other. Thus, before he reaches the land of the Amazons, 
Herakles aids Lykos against the Bebrykes, in other words, fights the 
battle of the bright being against the roaring monsters who are his 
enemies ; and thus, after he has slain Hippolyte and seized the 
girdle, he visits Echidna, a being akin to the beautiful but mysterious 
Melusina, who throws her spell over Raymond of Toulouse, and then 
takes vengeance on the Trojan Laomedon, slaying the bright 
Sarpedon, who in the Iliad falls by the spear of his descendant 

The narratives of these great exploits, which are commonly known M y' hs m- 

r / J terspersed 

as the twelve labours of Herakles, are interspersed with numberless among the 
incidents of greater or less significance, some of them plainly in- theTweive 
terpreting themselves. Thus, in his journey to the land of the Hes- „ bou ,^ ° f 
perides he is tormented by the heat of the sun, and shoots his arrows 
at Helios, who, admiring his bravery, gives him his golden cup in 
which to cross the sea. 1 In Kyknos, the son of Ar£s the grinder or 
crusher, he encounters an antagonist akin to Cacus, or even more 
formidable. With his father Kyknos invades the sacred precincts of 
Apollon, where he sits on his fiery chariot while the earth trembles 
beneath the hoofs of his horses, and the altar and grove of Phoibos 
are filled with the horrid glare. But the son of Alkmene is journeying 
to Trachis, and Kyknos, whose chariot blocks up the road, . must 
yield up the path or die. On the challenge of Herakles a furious 
conflict ensues, in which we see the spears of Indra hurled against 
his hateful enemy. The crash of the thunder rolls through the heaven, 
and the big thunderdrops fall from the sky. 2 At last Kyknos is 
slain, but Herakles is now confronted by Ares himself, whom he 

1 In reference to such incidents as the theory, goes far to confirm it. It is 

these, Mr. Paley says, " A curious but the unconscious blending of two modes 

well-known characteristic of solar myths of representation— the sun as a person, 

is the identification of the sun both with and the sun as a thing. To construct 

the agent or patient, and with the thing a story, there must be both agents and 

or object by which the act is exercised. subject-matter for action ; and both, 

Ixion is the sun, and so is Ixion's from different points of view, may be 

wheel. . . . Hercules is the sun, who the same."— On the Origin of Solar 

expires in flame on the summit of Mount Myl/is, Dublin Review, July, 1879, 

CEta ; but the fiery robe which scorches p. 109. 
him to death is the sun-cloud. Now * Asp. Herald. 384. 

ihis, so far from being an objection to 




and Eury- 

conquers although he cannot slay him. Ar£s is indeed not the 
passing storm, but the power from whom these storms come : he is 
that head of the Lernaian hydra which cannot die, and thus he 
escapes with a thigh wound, while the body of Kyknos, stripped of 
its glittering armour, is buried by Keyx. In Antaios 1 Herakles 
encounters the giant who, under the name of Polyphemos, seeks to 
crush Odysseus. Like the latter, the Libyan monster is a son of the 
sea-god — the black storm-vapour which draws to itself new strength 
from the earth on which it reposes. Hence Herakles cannot over- 
come him until he lifts him off the earth and strangles him in the 
expanse of heaven, as the sun cannot burn up and disperse the 
vapours until his heat has lifted them up above the surface of the 

The fiercer heats of summer may, as we have seen, suggest the 
idea not only that another hand less firm than that of Helios is 
suffering his fiery horses to draw too near the earth, but that Helios 
himself has been smitten with madness, and cares not whether in 
his fury he slays those whom he has most loved and cherished. The 
latter idea runs through the myths of the raging Herakles, and thus, 
when he has won Iole the daughter of Eurytos as the prize for success 
in archery, her father refuses to fulfil the compact because a being 
who has killed one bride and her offspring may repeat the crime: and 
thus he is parted from Iole at the very moment of winning her. It 
is the old story of Daphne, Prokris, or Arethousa, with this difference 
only that the legend of Iole belongs to the middle heats of summer. 
But Herakles may not be injured with impunity. The beautiful 
cattle of Eurytos are feeding like those of Helios in the pastures 
where the children of Neaira tend them, and Herakles is suspected 
of driving them away. His friend Iphitos pleads his cause, but 

1 Antaios, the uncouth awkward should be victorious over the enemies 

opposed to them, and that these enemies 
should appear in horrible shapes which 
yet are not so formidable as they seem ; 
in other words, they cannot stand 
against the hero whose insignificant 
stature and mean appearance they had 
despised. All that we need say is 
that they become more stupid as we go 
further north. The Kyklops of the 
Odyssey is not quite such a fool as the 
Troll who slits his stomach that he may 
eat the more, because ' ' Boots who ate 
a match with the Troll " and has made 
a slit in the scrip which he carries under 
his chin, assures him that the pain is 
nothing to speak of. The giant in the 
story of the Valiant Tailor (Grimm) is 
cheated much in the same fashion. 

giant, may be fairly taken as a type of 
the Teutonic Troll, in whom is com- 
bined the unsightliness of Polyphemos 
with the stupidity which, tolerably cha- 
racteristic of the Kyklops, is brought 
out still more clearly in the Teutonic 
devil. Whether in Greek, Hindu, or 
other mythology, these monsters are 
generally outwitted, and hence nothing 
is gained by hypotheses which see in 
these Trolls the aboriginal inhabitants 
who had not wit enough to hold their 
ground against the new invaders of the 
land, and who therefore betook them- 
selves to the mountains. It is of the 
very essence of the myths of Indra, 
Heiakles, Bellerophontes, Perseus, or 
any ether light-born heroes, that they 


when he asks the aid of Herakles in recovering the lost cattle, the chap. 

angry hero turns on his friend and slays him. The friemdship of' ' 

Herakles is as fatal to Iphitos as that of Achilleus to Patroklos. 
Incident is now crowded on incident, all exhibiting the working of • 
the same idea. It is the time of the wild simoon. Herakles ap- 
proaches the sanctuary of Phoibos, but the Pythia will yield no 
answer to his questions, and a contest follows between Herakles and 
Phoibos himself, which is ended only when Zeus sunders them by 
a flash of lightning. When thus for the time discomfited, he is told 
that he can be loosed from his madness and again become sound in 
mind only by consenting to serve for a time as a bondman ; and thus 
the myth which makes Apollon serve in the house of Admetos, and 
which made Herakles all his life long the slave of a mean tyrant, is 
again brought into the story. He is now sold to Omphale (the 
correlative of Omphalos), and assumes something like the guise of 
the half-feminine Dionysos. But even with this story of subjection 
a vast number of exploits are interwoven, among these being the 
slaying of a serpent on the river Sygaris and the hunting of the 
Kalydonian boar. 

The tale of his return from the conquest of Ilion presents the Heraklte 
same scenes under slightly different colours. In his fight with the Au ge. 
Meropes he is assailed by a shower of stones, and is even wounded 
by Chalkodon, — another thunderstorm recalling the fight with Ares 
and Kyknos : and the same battle of the elements comes before us in 
the next task which Athene; sets him, of fighting with the giants in the 
burning fields of Phlegrai. These giants, it had been foretold, were 
to be conquered by a mortal man, a notion which takes another form 
in the surprise of Polyphemos when he finds himself outwitted by so 
small and insignificant a being as Odysseus. At this point, after his 
return to Argos, some mythographers place his marriage with Auge, 
the mother of Telephos, whose story reproduces that of Oidipous or 

His union with Deianeira, the daughter of the Kalydonian chief, Herakles 
brings us to the closing scenes of his troubled and tumultuous career, naanira. 
The name points, as we have seen, to the darkness which was to be 
his portion at the ending of his journey, and here also his evil fate 
pursues him. His spear is fatal to the boy Eunomos, as it had been 
to the children of Megara ; but although in this instance the crime 
had been done unwittingly, Herakles would not accept the pardon 
tendered to him, and he departed into exile with Deianeira. At the 
ford of a river Herakles entrusts her to the charge of the Kentaur 
Nessos, who acted as ferryman, and who attempting to lay hands 0£ 




The death 
of Hera- 

Deianeira is fatally wounded by the hero. In his last moments 
Nessos bids her preserve his blood, as the sure means of recovering 
her husband's love if it should be transferred to another. The catas- 
trophe brought about by these words of Nessos is related by 
Sophokles; but before this end came, Herakles had aided many 
friends and vanquished many foes. Among these was Augeias, whom 
he attacked at the head of an Arkadian host, the men of the bright 
land. Against him were arrayed, among other allies of the Eleian 
king, Eurytos and Kteatos, the sons of the grinders or crushers 
Molion and Aktor. Here the strength of Herakles for a time 
fails him, and the enemy hesitates not to attack him during his sick- 
ness ; but the hero lies in ambush, like the sun lurking behind the 
clouds while his rays are ready to burst forth like spears, and having 
slain some of his enemies, advances and takes the city of Elis, making 
Phyleus king in place of Augeias, whom he slays together with his 

When at length the evening of his life was come, Deianeira 
received the tidings that her husband was returning in triumph from 
the Euboian Oichalia, not alone, but bringing with him the beautiful 
Iole, whom he had loved since the hour when he first put the shaft to 
his bow in the contest for that splendid prize. Now he had slain her 
father, as Perseus slew Akrisios and as Oidipous smote down Laios, 
and the maiden herself was coming to grace his home. Then the 
words of Nessos come back to the memory of the forsaken wife, who 
steeps in his blood the white garment which at the bidding of 
Herakles Lichas comes to fetch from Trachis. The hero is about to 
offer his sacrifice to the Kenaian Zeus, and he wishes to offer it up in 
peace, clad in a seemly robe of pure white, with the fair and gentle 
Iole standing by his side. But so it is not to be. Scarcely has he 
put on the robe which Lichas brings than the poison 1 begins to 
course through his veins and rack every limb with agony unspeakable, 
as the garment given by Helios to Medeia consumed the flash of 
Glauke and of Kreon. Once more the suffering hero is lashed into 
madness, and seizing the luckless Lichas he hurls him into the sea. 
Thus, borne at last to the heights of Oita, he gathers wood, and 
charges those who are around him to set the pile on fire, when he 
shall have laid himself down upon it. Only the shepherd Poias 
ventures to do the hero's will : but when the flame is kindled, the 
thunder crashes through the heaven, and a cloud comes down which 
bears him away to Olympos, there to dwell in everlasting youth with 

1 The poisoned Herakles answers to the leprous Chaldsean Izdubar, the 
(solar) lion, with the thorn in his foot. 


the radiant Hebe as his bride. 1 It is a myth in which " looms a mag- CHAP. 

nificent sunset," a the forked flames as they leap from the*smoke of "— — ' ' 

the kindled wood being the blood-red vapours which stream from the 
body of the dying sun. 8 It is the reverse of the picture which leaves 
Odysseus with Penelope in all the brightness of early youth, knowing 
indeed that the night must come, yet blessed in the profound calm 
which has followed the storms and troubles of the past. It is the 
picture of a sunset in wild confusion, the multitude of clouds hurrying 
hither and thither, now hiding, now revealing the mangled body of 
the sun, — of a sunset more awful yet not more sad than that which is 
seen in the last hours of Bellerophon, as he wanders through the 
Aleian plain in utter solitude, — the loneliness of the sun who has 
scattered the hostile vapours and then sinks slowly down the vast 
expanse of pale light with the ghastly hues of death upon his face. 4 

Of the Latin Hercules we need say but little here. The most The Latin 
prominent myth connected with the name in comparatively recent Hercllles - 
times is that of the punishment of Cacus for stealing the oxen of the 
hero ; and this story must be taken along with the other legends 
which reproduce the great contest between the powers of light and 
darkness set forth in the primitive myth of Indra and Ahi. The god 
or hero of whom the Latins told this story is certainly the same in 
character with the Hellenic son of Alkmene ; but, as Niebuhr insisted, 
it is not less certain that the story must have been told from the first 
not of the genuine Latin Hercules or Herculus, a deity who was the 
guardian of boundaries, like the Zeus Herkeios of the Greeks, but of 
some god in whose place Hercules has been intruded, from the pho- 
netic resemblance between his name and that of Herakles. Apart from 
this story the Latin Hercules, or rather Recaranus, has no genuine 
mythology, the story of the Potitii and Pinarii being, like a thousand 

1 There was no reason why the myth Brynhild in the Nibelung Song bids her 

should stop short here ; and the cycle maidens scatter about at her death, 
already so many times repeated is * It was easy to think of Herakles 

carried on by making Herakles and as never wearied and never dying, but 

HebS the parents of Alexiar6s and as journeying by the Ocean stream after 

Aniketos, names which again denote sun-down to the spot whence he comes 

the irresistible strength and the benig- again into sight in the morning. Hence 

nant nature of the parent whose blood in the Orphic hymns he is self-born, 

flows in their veins. The name Alexi- the wanderer along the path of light 

arts belongs to the same class with (Lykabas) in which he performs his 

Alexikakos, an epithet which Herald6s mighty exploits between the rising and 

shares with Zeus and Apollon, along the setting of the sun. He is of many 

with Daphnephoros, Olympios, Pange- shapes, he devours all things and pro- 

net6r and others.— Max Miiller, Chips, duces all things, he slays and he heals. 


Round his head he bears the Morning 
and the Night (xii.), and 
through the hours of darknes 
us in'' the "shower of gold corns which a robe of stars (aarpoxiruv). 

2 Max Miiller, ib. ii. 88. and the Night (xii.), and as living 

3 The same picture is brought before through the hours of darkness he wears 






others, a mere institutional legend, to account for ceremonies in the 
' later ritual. 

Still less is it necessary to give at length the points of likeness or 
difference between the Hellenic Herakles and the deities of whom 
Herodotos or other writers speak as the Herakles of Egypt or other 
countries. By their own admission their names at least had little in 
common ; and the affinity between the Greek hero and the Egyptian 
Som, Chon, or Makeris, must be one of attributes only. It is, indeed, 
obvious that, go where we will, we must find the outlines, at least, 
of the picture into which the Greek mind crowded such an astonish- 
ing variety of life and action. The sun, as toiling for others, not 
for himself, as serving beings who are as nothing in comparison with 
his own strength and splendour, as cherishing or destroying the fruits 
of the earth which is his bride, as faithful or fickle in his loves, as 
gentle or furious in his course, could not fail to be the subject of 
phrases which, as their original meaning grew fainter, must suggest 
the images wrought up with lavish but somewhat undiscerning zeal 
into the stories of the Hellenic Herakles. Not less certainly would 
these stories exhibit him under forms varying infinitely from the most 
exalted majesty to the coarsest burlesque. 

But although Egyptian mythology lies strictly beyond the limits of 
our present subject, it is yet worth while to note that, while some of 
the Egyptian myths seem to have a more direct reference to facts 
of astronomy than may be found generally in Greek tradition, they 
had their foundation, as a whole, in phrases which described the pheno- 
mena of the outward world in all its parts. The origin of the Egyptian 
people and of their civilisation is a question into which we cannot 
enter ; but probably none will be found to assert that the Egyptian 
people come from the stock which has produced the Aryan nations of 
Europe and Asia. The character of this wonderful valley would go 
far towards accounting for the forms assumed by the religion, laws, 
and customs which grew up within it; and it is enough for us to 
mark that their growth betrays no working of Aryan influences, while 
in their turn the institutions and traditions of the Aryan tribes were 
but little affected by those of Egypt. That there was some interchange 
of thought as well as of commerce in prehistoric ages between 
Greeks and Egyptians, is proved by the presence of Egyptian words 
in a dress which seems altogether Hellenic and Aryan; and such 
names as Harpokrates and Rhadamanthys justify a like inquiry to 
that which names like Melikertes, Athamas, and Kadmos warrant, 
when we deal with the myths and legends of Boiotia. Speaking 
generally, however, we may safely say that between the main body of 


the Greek and that of the Egyptian myths there was no direct connexion, chap. 
and no points of likeness, which cannot be explained by the working ' ' 
of independent minds on the same facts or the same materials. But 
after Egypt had been thrown open to Greek commerce, the Greeks 
were so impressed by the grandeur of the country and the elaborate 
mystical system of the priesthood, that they were soon tempted not 
only to identify their own deities with those of Egypt, but in some cases 
to fancy that their names as well as the actions ascribed to them were 
derived from that country. Thus Herodotos could quietly carry away 
with him the conviction that the name of the Greek and Aryan Athene 
was only that of the Egyptian Neith read, backwards. Nor need we 
hesitate to say that the mystical system of the Egyptian priests, which 
made so profound an impression on the mind of Herodotos, was 
grafted in the process of ages on simpler myths, which corresponded 
essentially with the phrases which lie at the root of Hindu, Greek, 
and Teutonic mythology. 1 Thus the sleep of Uasar (Osiris) during 
the winter, before his reappearance in the spring, is the sleep of the 
fair maiden who is waked up by Sigurd, and answers to the sojourn of 
Balder in the unseen world and to the imprisonment of Kore or 
Persephone in the house of Hades. It is of this Osiris that the horned 
maiden Isis is both the mother and the wife, and the dogheaded Anubis 
(Anpu) is their companion. Osiris is killed by his brother Set, or 
Sethi, as Balder is killed by Hodr; but after his imprisonment 
beneath the earth he rises to a new life and becomes the judge of 
the dead. This office was denoted by his title Rhot-amenti, a name 
manifestly borrowed by the Greeks under the form Rhadamanthys. 
The son of Isis and Osiris was Horos, who is represented as a boy on 
a lotus flower with a finger in his mouth. His name, again, Har-pi- 
chruti, Horus the Child, the Greeks threwinto the form of Harpokrates. 2 

1 Renouf, Hibbei-t lectures, 1879, the night. But "although all myths 

Lecture iii. are strictly true, they can be harmonised 

1 It is well to know that an exami- only when transliterated into the lan- 
nation of Egyptian mythology amply guage of physical reality." It was, 
bears out the conclusions reached by however, the climate of the Nile valley 
those who have worked in the wider which determined the character of 
domain of Aryan tradition. It matters Egyptian mythology, and confined it 
not where we may go, we are every- almost entirely to phenomena of regu- 
where, as Mr. Renouf remarks, con- lar and perpetual occurrence. Mr. 
fronted with the fact that, as soon as Renouf thus reaches the definite con- 
the nature of the myth is understood, elusion, "Whatever may be the case in 
all anomalies and seeming immoralities other mythologies, I look upon the 
in the popular stories of the gods are sunrise and sunset, on the daily return 
at once explained. In Egyptian myths, of day and night, on the battle between 
as elsewhere, the birth of the sun may light and darkness, on the whole solar 
be ascribed to ever so many different drama in all its details, that is acted 
mothers. He may be the son of the every day, every month, every year, in 
sky, or of the dawn, or of the sea, or of heaven and in earth, as the ' principal 




of the 
myth of 

The story 
of Perseus, 

But the mythical history of Herakles is bound up with that of 
his progenitors and his descendants, and furnishes many a link in 
the twisted chain presented to us in the prehistoric annals of Greece. 
The myth might have stopped short with the death of the hero; but 
a new cycle is, as we have seen, begun when Hebe becomes the 
mother of his children in Olympos, and Herakl£s, it is said, had in 
his last moments charged his son Hyllus on earth to marry the 
beautiful Iole. The ever-moving wheels, in short, may not tarry. 
The children of the sun may return as conquerors in the morning, 
bringing with them the radiant woman who with her treasures had 
been stolen away in the evening. After long toils and weary conflicts 
they may succeed in bearing her back to her ancient home, as 
Perseus bears Danae to Argos; but not less certainly must the 
triumph of the powers of darkness come round again, and the sun- 
children be driven from their rightful heritage. Thus was framed 
that woeful tale of expulsion and dreary banishment, of efforts to 
return many times defeated but at last successful, which make up 
the mythical history of the descendants of Herakles. But the 
phenomena which rendered their expulsion necessary determined 
also the direction in which they must move, and the land in which 
they should find a refuge. The children of the sun can rest only 
in the land of the morning, and accordingly it is at Athens alone 
and from the children of the dawn-goddess that the Herakleids can 
be sheltered from their enemies, who press them on every side. 
Thus we find ourselves in a cycle of myths which might be repeated 
at will, which in fact were repeated many times in the so-called 
prehistoric annals of Greece, and which doubtless would have been 
repeated again and again, had not the magic series been cut short 
by the dawn of the historical sense and the rise of a real historical 

In the Argive tradition the myth of Perseus 1 is made to embrace 
the whole legend of Herakles, the mightiest and the most widely 
known of all the mythical heroes of the Greeks. It is as belonging 

subject' of Egyptian mythology." — 
Hibbert Lectures, 109. Speaking of the 
Babylonian mythology, Mr. Sayce comes 
to the same conclusion. " The more 
the Babylonian mythology is examined, 
the more solar is its origin found to be, 
thus confirming the results arrived at in 
the Aryan and Semitic fields of research. " 
With two exceptions only "the great 
deities seem all to go back to the sun." 
1 The name Perseus is one as to 
which, if we regard it as an Aryan word, 

we can scarcely venture to speak posi- 
tively. It may mean simply the de- 
stroyer ; but it is also possible that it 
may point to the Parsoudos of Ktesias, 
and therefore be a Babylonian name. 
If it be so, . it would be only one of 
many instances in which, in Mr. Brown's 
words (The Unicorn, 55), "an Aryan 
and a non-Aryan name, of somewhat 
similar sound, have become united like 
a double star." 


to the race of Perseus, and as being by the arts of Here brought CHAP, 
into the world before his cousin, that Eurystheus becomes the tyrant •■ • ' ■ • 
of Herakles. Yet the story of Perseus is essentially the same as 
the story of his more illustrious descendant; and the profound 
unconsciousness of the Argives that the two narratives are in their 
groundwork identical is a singular illustration of the extent to which 
men can have all their critical faculties lulled to sleep by mere 
difference of names or of local colouring in legends which are only 
modifications of a single myth. In either case we have a hero whose 
life, beginning in disasters, is a long series of labours undertaken at 
the behest of one who is in every way his inferior, and who comes 
triumphantly out of these fearful ordeals, because he is armed with 
the invincible weapons of the dawn, the sun, and the winds. Nor 
is there perhaps a single feature or incident in the whole myth to 
which a parallel is not furnished by other Hellenic, or even other 
Argive, legends. Before his birth, Akrisios, his mother's father, 
learns at Delphoi, like the Theban Laios, that if his daughter has 
a child, that child will be his destroyer. At once then he orders 
that Danae shall be shut up in a brazen tower, an imprisonment 
answering to that of Persephone in the land of Hades, or of Brynhild 
in Niflheim. But here, as with them, a deliverer is wanted ; and this 
deliverer is Zeus, the lord of the life-giving ether, who had wooed 
Leda in the form of the white swan, the spotless cloud, and who now 
enters the dungeon of Danae in a golden shower, the glittering rays 
which herald the approach of spring with its new life for the trees and 
flowers. Thus in his mother's dreary prison-house the golden child l 
is born; and Akrisios in his wrath decrees that his daughter and her 
babe shall share the doom of Oidipous and Dionysos. Like Semele, 
she is placed with the infant in a chest or ark, which is thrust out 
into the sea, and carried by the waves and tide to the island of 
Seriphos, where the vessel is seen by Diktys, who of course is fishing, 
and by him Danae' and her child are taken to the house of his brother 
Polydektes, the chief of the island, a myth which we have to compare 
with those of Artemis Diktynna and Persephone. Throughout the 
story, Diktys is the kindly being whose heart is filled with pity for 
the sorrowing mother, while Polydektes, a name identical with that 
of Hades Polydegmon, is her unrelenting persecutor. He is thus 
a champion of the lord of light, which is reflected in his name as in 
that of Diktynna and the Diktaian cave in Crete ; and the equivoca- 
tion in the one case is precisely the same as in the other. Polydektes 
now tries all his arts to win Danae, and his efforts at once recall the 

' XpvtrJiraTpos, the Gold Child, in Grimm's collection of Teutonic stories. 


BOOK temptation of Sarama by Pani; but Danae is true to her child and to 
' his father, and Polydektes resolves to be rid of the youth who stands 
thus in his way. So, like Eurystheus, he sends him away with a strict 
charge that he is not to return unless he brings with him the Gorgon's 
head, the sight of which can freeze every living being into stone. 
Thus the dawn is parted from her son, for Phoibos himself must 
leave his mother Leto and begin his westward journey. 1 He starts 
alone, and as he thinks unbefriended, but with the high and generous 
spirit which marks the youthful Herakles in the apologue of Prodikos, 
and heavenly beings come to his aid as Arete promises to strengthen 
the son of Alkm£ne\ From the dawn-goddess, Athene, he receives 
the mirror into which he is to gaze when he draws his sword to smite 
the mortal Gorgon, the fiend of darkness; from Hermes he obtains 
the sword which never falls in vain ; and the Nymphs bring him the 
bag in which he is to carry away the head of Medousa, the tarn- 
kappe or invisible helmet of Hades, and the golden sandals which 
will bear him along as swiftly as a dream, — in other words, the 
golden chariot of Helios, or the armour of Achilleus, which bears 
him up as a bird upon the wing. He is now the Chrysaor, armed 
for the battle 2 and ready for his journey; and like the sun, he may 
veil himself in clouds when he wishes not to be seen. But he 
cannot reach the Gorgon's den until he has first passed the home 
of the Graiai, the land of the gloaming, whose solitary eye and tooth 
he refuses to restore until they have pointed out the road which 
shall bring him to his journey's end. In other words, the sun must 
go through the twilight-land before he can pierce the regions of utter 
darkness and reappear in the beautiful gardens of the Hyperboreans, 
the asphodel meadows of the tinted heavens of morning. When at 
length his task is done, and he turns to go to the upper world, the 
Gorgon sisters (the clouds of darkness) start up in fury, and their 
brazen talons almost seize him as he reaches the clear blue heaven, 
which is called the land of the brilliant Ethiopians. Here, again, 
the same war is going on in which he has already been the conqueror. 
The storm-cloud is seeking to devour the dawn and to blot out its 

1 If Niebuhr is right in connecting for their conflict with the dragon, who 
together the names Daunos, Danaos, represents both chaos and darkness, 
Lavinus, Lakinus, Latinus, &c, the " and the chief weapon of the god who 
name Danae is only another form of maintains nocturnal Kosmic order is, 
Ahanft and Athene, of Dahana and as of course, the sickle-shaped moon." 
Daphne. Hence Perseus with the crescent moon 

2 Pherekydes speaks of Perseus as cuts off the Gorgo, or full moon. This 
armed with the Harpe, the sickle which principle of reduplication has, as Mr. 
Kronos bore in his hand when he Brown remarks, largely influenced the 
assailed Ouranos. It is the weapon growth of myths. — The Unicorn, 54. ' 
with which Bel and Merodach are armed 

dana£ and aithra. 305 

tender light; in other words, the Libyan dragon seeks to make CHAP. 

Andromeda his prey, as the maiden stands motionless on the rock - — . 

to which she has been fastened. The monster is soon destroyed, as 
the Sphinx is soon discomfited by Oidipous; and the awful power 
of the Gorgon's glance is seen in the death of Phineus, and in the 
merciful ending of the long labours of Atlas. But the great work 
remains yet to be done, the avenging of the wrongs of Danae, as 
the Achaians fought to avenge the griefs and woes of Helen. The 
vengeance of Perseus must be as terrible as that of Achilleus or the 
stern chieftain of Ithaka. But when Polydektes and his abettors 
have been turned into stone and Diktys made king of the land, 
Perseus yields up his magic weapons to the gods who gave them, and 
departs with his mother to the old home in Argos. Once more 
Danae treads her native soil, as Helen graces the halls of Menelaos 
when Paris the thief has been slain. But the doom pronounced by 
the Delphian priestess was still unfulfilled; and Akrisios no sooner 
hears that Perseus is coming than he flies to Larissa. Thither 
Perseus follows him, not as a foe, but as a friend, and takes part in 
the games which Teutamidas the chief holds in his honour. Presently 
a quoit hurled by Perseus lights on the foot of Akrisios, and the 
prophecy is accomplished which makes Oidipous, Romulus, and 
Cyrus slay their parents or their grandsires. The sequel is given in 
two versions, corresponding to the choice given to Achilleus. 1 In 
the one Perseus returns to Argos, and there dies in peace; in the 
other grief and shame for the death of Akrisios drive him to abandon 
his Argive sovereignty for that of Tiryns, where his kinsman 
Megapenthes is king. In the latter, he may be compared with 
Bellerophon wandering in gloom and loneliness through the Aleian 
plain; in the former we have the tranquil time which follows the 
great vengeance of Achilleus and Odysseus. Thus as the unwilling 
destroyer even of those whom he loves, as the conqueror of monstrous 
beasts and serpents, as toiling for a mean and cruel master, yet as 
coming forth in the end victorious over all his enemies, Perseus is at 
once the forefather and the counterpart of Herakles. He is himself 
born in Argos the bright land, as Phoibos springs to life in Delos or 
Artemis in Ortygia; but his mother Danae is almost as neutral and 
colourless as Leto or Iokaste or Hekabe or Semele. The Argive 
tradition runs in a circle, and the Athenian myth, jealously prized 
as a wholly independent history, is made up of the same materials. 
The practical identity of the Athenian legend of Theseus and the 
Argive legend of the son of Alkmene suggested the proverb " Another 

1 //. ix. 411 ; xvi. 685. 



BOOK Herakles;" nor, if attention had been specially fixed on the task of 

• ^— ■ tracing out such resemblances, would very keen powers of criticism 

have been needed to show that the same process might be applied 
to the legends of all the Hellenic tribes. 
Birth and The myth of Theseus is indeed more transparent than that of his 

youth of two great kinsmen. As Perseus is the son of the golden shower, so 


is Theseus the child of Aithra, the pure air • and if in one version he 
is said to be a son of Aigeus, king of Athens, in another he is called 
a son of Poseidon, as Athene is Tritogeneia, and Aphrodite comes up 
from the sea ; but Aigeus himself is only Poseidon under a name 
denoting the dash of the waves on the shore, and when Apollodoros 
speaks of Aigeus as a son not of Pandion but of Skyrios, we are still 
in the same magic circle, for the island of Skyros seems to have been 
noted especially for the worship of the Ionian Poseidon. 1 In some 
of its earlier incidents the myth carries us to the story of Sigurd and 
Brynhild. As he grows up his mother tells him that a mighty work lay 
before him so soon as he could lift the great stone beneath which lay 
his father's sword and sandals, the sword and sandals which Perseus 
had worn when he went to the Gorgons' land Thus gaining these 
prizes as Sigmund obtained the good sword Gram, Theseus started 
on that career of adventure and conquest which, with differences of 
local colouring and detail, is the career of Oidipous, Meleagros, Belle- 
rophon, Odysseus, Sigurd, Grettir, and other mythical heroes, as well 
as of Herakles and Perseus. Like these, he fights with and over- 
comes robbers, murderers, dragons, and other monsters. Like some 
of them, also, he is capricious and faithless. Like them, he is the 
terror not only of the evil men but of the gods of the under world. 
The six At his birth Poseidon gave to his son the three wishes which 

h2first° f a PP ear again and again in Teutonic folk-lore, and sometimes in a 
journey. ludicrous form. 2 The favour of the sea-deities is also shown in the 
anecdote told by Pausanias s that when Minos cast doubts on his 
being a son of Poseidon, and bade him, if he were such, to bring up a 
ring thrown into the sea, Theseus dived and reappeared not only 
with the ring but with a golden crown, which Aphrodite had placed 
upon his head. His journey from Troizen to Athens is signalised 
by exploits which later mythographers regarded as six in number, as 
twelve were assigned to Herakles. They are all, as. we might expect, 
merely different forms of the great fight waged by Indra and Oidipous 

1 Preller, Gr. Myth. ii. 287. The 2 Eur. Hipp. 46 ; Preller, Gr. Myth. 

name Pandion is manifestly a masculine ii. 288. 
form of Pandia, an epithet of Sel6n * i. 16, 3 ; Preller, ii. 

the moon, when at its full. 


against Vritra, Ahi, or the Sphinx. Thus the robber Periphetes is CHAP. 

the club-bearing son of Hephaistos, who, being weak in the # feet, uses ■ ' 

his weapon to smite down the passers-by. But Sinis the robber, or 
plunderer, is his kinsman, being like himself a son of Poseidon, and 
from his name Pityokamptes is the stormwind which bends the pine 
trees. The myth went that he slew his victims by compelling them 
to bend a fir tree which he allowed to fly back upon them, and that 
Theseus who caught him in his own trap nevertheless felt that he 
needed to purify himself for the death of one who was also a son of 
the sea. 1 The same idea gave rise to the myth of Phaia, the dark or 
ashen-coloured sow of Krommyon, who shares the fate of all such 
monsters, and again to that of Skeiron, who hurls from the cliffs the 
travellers whom he has constrained to kneel and wash his feet, 2 and 
who in his turn is in like manner destroyed by Theseus. In Kerkyon, 
whose name apparently connects him with the Kerkopes, we have a 
reflexion of Laios, Akrisios, Amulius, and other beings who seek 
from fear for themselves to destroy their children or their children's 
children. The story of his daughter AlopS is simply the story of 
Auge, Semele, Danae, and many others ; but Kerkyon himself is the 
Eleusinian wrestler, who is defeated by Theseus in his own art and 
slain. The robber Prokroustes is a being of the same kind ; but the 
myth attached to his name does not explain itself like the rest, and 
may perhaps have been suggested by the meaning of the word which 
may denote either the process of beating or hammering out, or simply 
a downright blow. In the latter case Prokroustes would simply be 
Sinis or Periphetes under another name ; in the former, the story of 
a bed to which he fitted the limbs of his victims by stretching them 
or cutting them off might not unnaturally spring up. 3 

Theseus now enters the dawn city with a long flowing robe, and These-is at 
with his golden hair tied gracefully behind his head; and his soft" tlens " 
beauty excites the mockery of some workmen, who pause in their 
work of building to jest upon the maiden who is unseemly enough to 
walk about alone. It is the story of the young Dionysos or Achilleus 

1 See further, Brown, Great Diony- 3 The story is told of the men of 
siak Myth, ii. 260. Mr. Brown sees Sodom in the Arabian myth. — Gould, 
in the story of Sinis a picture of Phe- Legends of Old Testament Characters, i. 
nician barbarity and its overthrow. 200. The notion seems scarcely Greek. 

2 Preller has no doubt on this head. But generally in stories in which Po- 
"Esscheint wohldassdieserSkeiron. . . seidon is prominent, the existence of 
ein Bild fiir die heftigen Sturmc ist, Semitic influence is at least possible ; and 
welche den Wanderer von den Skeiron- this possibility should be always taken 
ischen Felsen, so hiess dieser Pass, into account in the examination of 
leicht in die See himmterstiessen, wo details which seem to be non-Aryan in 
die Kiippen seine Glieder zerschellten." character. 

— Gr. Myth, ii 290. 




and the 
taur os. 

in woman's garb ; but Theseus is mightier than they, and without 
- saying a word, he unspans the oxen of the builders' wagon, and hurls 
the vehicle as high above the temple pillars as these rose above the 
ground. 1 In the house of his fathers he was still surrounded by 
enemies. Aigeus was now wedded to the wise woman Medeia, who 
in her instinctive jealousy of the beautiful youth makes Aigeus an 
accomplice in her scheme for poisoning him. The deadly draught 
is placed on the banquet-table, but Aigeus recognises the sword which 
Theseus bears, and, embracing him as his, bids Medeia depart with 
her children to her own land. He encounters foes more formidable 
in the fifty gigantic sons of Pallas, who have thrust themselves into 
the place of Aigeus, as the suitors in Ithaka usurp the authority of 
Odysseus ; but by the aid of the herald Leos, who betrays them, 
Theseus is again the conqueror. 2 He is, however, scarcely more than 
at the beginning of his toils. The fields of Marathon are being 
ravaged by a bull, 3 in whom we see a being akin to the terrible 
Cretan Minotauros, the malignant power of darkness hidden away in 
its labyrinth of stars. In his struggle with this monster he is aided 
by the prayers and offerings of the benign and aged Hekale, whose 
eyes are not permitted to look again on the youth whom she has so 
tenderly loved — a myth which brings before us the gentle Telephassa 
sinking down in utter weariness, before her heart can be gladdened 
once more by the sight of her child Europe. 4 

He has now before him a still harder task. The bull which now 
fills Athenian hearts with grief and fear has his abode not at Mara- 
thon, but at Knossos. In the war waged by Minos in revenge for 
the death of his son Androgeos, who had been slain on Attic soil, 
the Cretan king was the conqueror. 6 With the war had come 
famine and pestilence ; and thus the men of Athens were driven to 
accept terms which bound them for nine years to send yearly a 
tribute of seven youths and seven maidens, as victims to feed the 

* Paus. i. 19, 1 ; Preller, Gr. Myth. 
ii. 291. 

2 These fifty sons of Pallas must 
be compared with the fifty sons and 
daughters of ^Egyptos, Danaos, Aster- 
odia, and Selene. But these are clearly 
images of the starry heavens ; and thus 
the myth of the Pallantides is simply a 
story of the night vieing with, or usurp- 
ing the prerogatives of, the day. 

3 In the story of Krishna this bull 
is animated by the demon Arishta. — 
Vishnu Purana, H. II. Wilson, 530. 

• 4 The name Hekale is the same as 
Hekate and Hekatos, and thus, like 
Telephassa, has simply the meaning of 

rays shot from a distant orb. 

s The myth of Androgeos has many 
versions. The most important exhibits 
him as a youth of great beauty and 
promise, unable to achieve the tasks 
which may be done only by the greatest 
heroes. On this account, he is torn by 
the Marathonian bull whom Aigeus has 
charged him to slay: in other words, 
he is Patroklos striving to slay an 
enemy who can be conquered only by 
Achilleus ; and the war which Minos 
wages answers to the bloody vengeance 
of Achilleus for the death of his com- 


Minotauros. The period named is the nine years' cycle, while the CHAP. 

tribute children may represent the months of the lunar year. Twice ' 

had the black-sailed ship departed from the haven with its doomed 
freight when Theseus offered himself as one of the tribute children, 
to do battle with the monster. In this task he succeeds only 
through the aid of Ariadng, as Iason does the bidding of Aietes only 
because he has the help of Medeia. The thread which the maiden 
places in his hand leads him through all the mazes of the murky 
labyrinth, 1 and when the beast is slain, she leaves her home with the 
man to whom she has given her love. But she herself must share 
the woes of all who love the bright sun. Beautiful as she is, she 
must be abandoned in Naxos, while Theseus, like Sigurd, goes upon 
his way ; and in his place must come the vine-crowned Dionysos, 
who shall place on her head a glittering diadem to shine among the 
everlasting stars. Theseus himself fulfils the doom which places him 
among the fatal children. He forgets to hoist the white sails in 
token of victory, and Aigeus, seeing the black hue of the ship, throws 
himself into the sea which bears his name. 2 

In another adventure he is the enemy of the Amazons, mysterious Theseus 
beings of whom it is enough to say that they are opposed or AmaSma. 
slaughtered not only by Theseus, but by Herakles, Achilleus, and 
Bellerophon, and that thus they must be classed with the other beings 
in whom are seen reflected the features of the cloud enemy of Indra. 
Their beauty, their ferocity, their seclusion, all harmonise with the 
phenomena of the clouds in their varying aspects of storm and sun- 
shine ; 3 and thus their fight with Theseus in the streets of Athens 
would be the struggle of dark vapours to throw a veil over the city of 
the dawn, and their defeat the victory of the sun which drives away 
the clouds. They are thus at once the natural allies of the king of 
Ilion, the stronghold of the robber Paris, and the friends of his 

1 This is the work of Daidalos, the Ephesian Artemis whose images answer 
cunning smith, for Pasiphae, to whom to this description, and who was 
corresponds Fair Rosamond for whom worshipped as Amazo. The Amazon 
Henry builds the labyrinth of Wood- would thus be further identified with 
stock. In Icelandic Volundurshus, the Isis, the horned moon ; and her wander- 
house of Wayland, means a labyrinth. ings would follow as a matter of course, 

s This incident precedes the death as in the myth of 16. With this must 
of Tristram in the Arthur cycle. . be compared the Fortuna Mammosa of 

3 If the name be Greek at all, it the Latins, and seemingly the Teutonic 

seems to suggest a comparison with Ciza, Zizi, who was worshipped under 

&$eh<pos ; and the story of the cutting the same form as the Ephesian Artemis, 

off the breasts would thus be the result Some have supposed that Tacitus meant 

of a mistaken etymology. It should be this deity, when he spoke of German 

added that some see in the name an tribes as worshipping lsis : others iden- 

intensive force which makes it the tify the name with the Greek tIt6ti. 

equivalent of the German " vielbebriis- Work. s.V. 
tete," and thus identify it with the 




in the 

enemies ; for Antiope, who is stolen away by Herakles, becomes the 
1 bride of Theseus and the mother of Hippolytos, 1 whose story exhibits 
the action of a moral sentiment which has impressed itself even more 
deeply on the traditions of Thebes. Hippolytos is to Theseus what 
Patroklos is to Achilleus, or Phaethon to Helios, or Little John to 
Robin Hood, the reflexion of the sun in all its beauty, but without its 
strength and power ; and the love of Phaidra (the gleaming) for the 
glorious youth is simply the love of Aphrodite for Adonis, and, like 
that of Aphrodite, it is repulsed. But Phaidra is the wife of Theseus, 
and thus her love for Hippolytos becomes doubly a crime, while the 
recoil of her feelings tempts her to follow the example of Anteia in 
the myth of Bellerophon. Her trick is successful -, and Hippolytos, ^ 
going forth under his father's curse, is slain by a bull which Poseidon 
sends up from the sea, the storm-cloud which Theseus had fought 
with on the plains of Marathon. But Hippolytos, like Adonis, is a 
being whom death cannot hold in his power, and Asklepios raises 
him to life, as in the Italian tradition Virbius, the darling of the 
goddess of the groves, is brought back from the dead and entrusted 
to the care of the nymph Egeria. 

Theseus, indeed, like Herakles, is seen almost everywhere. He 
is one of the chiefs who sail in the divine Argo to recover the golden 
fleece ; he joins the princes of Aitolia in the hunt of the Kalydonian 
boar, and takes part in the war of the Epigonoi before Thebes. But 
a more noteworthy myth is that which takes him, like Orpheus, into 
the nether world to bring back another Eurydike in the form of the 
maiden Persephone. This legend exhibits another reflexion of 
Theseus in Peirithoos, a son of Zeus or Ixion, the heaven or the 
proud sun, and Dia, the clear-shining dawn. 2 Peirithoos had already 
aided Theseus when he took Helen from Sparta and placed her in 
the hands of his mother Aithra, an act requited in the myth which 
carries Aithra to Ilion and makes her the handmaid of Helen. The 
attempt of Peirithoos ends as disastrously as the last exploits of 
Patroklos, and Theseus himself is shut up in Hades until Herakles 
comes to his rescue, as he does also to that of Prometheus. The 
presence of the Dioskouroi, the bright Asvins or horsemen, com- 
plicates the story. These carry away Helen and Aithra, and when 
Theseus comes back from the unseen land, he finds that his strong- 

1 Others make Hippolytos a son of 
Hippolyt£, the Amazonian queen, whose 
girdle Herakles brings to Eurystheus, 
and who is thus not the enemy of The- 
seus, as in some versions, but his bride. 

2 The carrying off of Hippodameia, 

the bride of Peirithoos, at her wedding- 
feast, by the drunken Kentaur Eurytion, 
is a myth of the wind-driven and stag- 
gering cloud bearing away the golden 
light into the distant heavens. 


hold of Aphidnai has been destroyed, and that Menestheus is king in CHAP. 

Athens. He therefore sends his sons to Euboia, and hastens to ■ : — • 

Skyros, where the chief Lykomedes hurls him from a cliff into the 
sea, a death which Kephalos inflicted upon himself at the Leukadian 
or White Cape. But though his own life closes in gloom, his 
children return at length with Aithra from Ilion, and are restored, 
like the Herakleids, to their ancient inheritance. 

This is the Theseus who, in the pages of Thucydides, consolidates The The- 
the independent Attic Demoi into one Athenian state, over which he xhucy- 
rules as a constitutional sovereign, confining himself strictly to his dides. 
definite functions. There is nothing more to be said against the 
method by which this satisfactory result is obfained than that it may 
be applied with equal profit, if not with equal pleasure, to the stories, 
of Boots and Jack the Giant-Killer. 

In the Corinthian tradition, Hipponoos, the son of Glaukos or of Hipponoos-. 
Poseidon, is known especially as the slayer of Belleros, whom the pontes, 
same tradition converted into a near kinsman, but in whom we are 
now able to discern a being whose features much resemble those of 
the gloomy Vritra. Like Perseus, Theseus, Phoibos, he is a son of 
the heaven or the sea ; 1 and his career is throughout that of the sun 
journeying through thunderstorms and clouds. In his youth he 
attracts the love of Anteia, the wife of Proitos, who on his refusal 
deals with him as Phaidra deals with Hippolytos ; and Proitos, 
believing her lies, sends him as the bearer of woeful signs which are 
to bid Iobates, the Lykian king, to put the messenger to death. The- 
fight with the monster Chimaira which ensues must come before us- 
among the many forms assumed by the struggle between the darkness- 
and the light ; and in the winged steed Pegasos, on which Bellero- 
phon is mounted, we see the light-crowned cloud soaring with or 
above the sun into the highest heavens. But although he returns 
thus a conqueror, Iobates has other toils still in store for him. He 
must fight with the Amazons and the Solymoi, and last of all must be 
assailed by the bravest of the Lykians, who, by the king's orders, lurk 
in ambush for him. These are all slain by his unerring spear ; and 
Hipponoos is welcomed once more to the house of Proitos. But the 
doom is not yet accomplished. The hatred of the gods lies heavy 
upon him. Although we are not told the reason, we have not far to 
seek it. The slaughter of the Kyklopes roused the anger of Zeus 
against Phoibos : the blinding of Polyphemos excited the rage of 

1 " Als Sonnenheld gilt Bellerophon Meere aufsteigt." — Preller, Gr. Myth. 
fur einen Sohn des Glaukos, oder des ii. 78. 
Posei.-ion, weil die Sonne aus dem 


BOOK Poseidon against Odysseus : and these victims of the sun-god are all 

" ■ ' murky vapours which arise from the sea. The wrath of Athene 1 and 

Poseidon added sorely to the length and weariness of the wanderings 
of Odysseus ; nor could it leave Bellerophon at rest. Like Odysseus, 
he too must roam through many lands, and thus we find him wander- 
ing sadly along the Aleian plain, avoiding the paths of men, treading, 
in other words, that sea of pale light in which, after a day of storms, 
the sun sometimes goes down without a cloud to break its monotonous 
T t h Oid' rth When at the close of his disastrous life Oidipous draws near to die 

pous. in the sacred grove of the Erinyes, it is Theseus who stands by his 

side to guide him, where no other mortal man might dare to tread ; 
and thus the Theban king is at once seen as a being of the same race 
with the son of Aigeus and Aithra. Nor does the connexion cease 
here. If Aigeus deserts his wife and leaves the infant Theseus to her 
sole care, Oidipous also suffers from the hatred of his father, who, like 
Akrisios and Astyages, has learnt from the Delphic oracle that if he 
has a son that son will be his destroyer. Hence no sooner is 
Oidipous born than the decree goes forth that the child must be 
slain ; but the servant to whom he is intrusted contents himself with 
exposing the babe on the slopes of Kithairon, where a shepherd finds 
him, and carries him, like Cyrus or Romulus, to his wife, who 
cherishes the child with a mother's care. After a while, Oidipous is 
taken to Corinth and brought up as the son of Polybos and Merope, 
and all things go smoothly until some one at a feast throws out a 
hint that he is not the son of his supposed parents. To the questions 
which he is thus driven to put to Merope the answers returned satisfy 
him for a time, but for a time only. The anxious doubts return ; and 
in his utter perplexity he hastens to Delphoi and there learns, as 
Laios had learnt already, that his doom would make him the 
destroyer of his father and the husband of his mother. Gloomy and 
sick at heart, he takes the way towards Thebes, being resolved not to 
run the risk of killing Polybos (whom he supposed to be his father), 
if he returned to Corinth, and as he journeys, he falls in with a 
chariot in which rides an old man. The servant insolently bids 
Oidipous to stand aside, and on his refusal the old man strikes at 
him with his staff. Oidipous, thoroughly angered, slays both, and 
goes on his way, unconscious that he has fulfilled the prediction of 
Phoibos, the murdered man being Laios the king of Thebes. 
The career Laios is thus a being whose nature closely resembles that of Leto 
pous. or of Leda, the night which is the parent of the sun, and which may 

be regarded with equal justice as hating its offspring or loving it. 


Apart from his fear of the son of Iokaste, his character is as neutral chap. 

as that of the mother of Phoibos ; indeed, we can scarcely be said ' ■ — ' 

to know anything of him beyond the tale that he stole away the 
beautiful Chrysippos with his golden steeds, as the eagle of Zeus 
carried Ganymedes up to Olympos, the latter being an image of the 
tinted clouds of morning bearing the dawn to the high heaven, 
the former a picture of the night robbing the sky of its splendour. 
The story of his cruel treatment of his son was regarded as accounting 
for the name Oidipous, or Swellfoot, from the tight bandages which 
hurt his limbs as he lay exposed on Kithairon. The explanation has 
about the same value as that by which the nurse Eurykleia professed 
to account to Odysseus for the name which he bore. 1 The sequel 
of the myth furnished another explanation, to which probably less 
exception may be taken. When Oidipous drew near to Thebes, 
he found the city full of misery and mourning. The Sphinx had 
taken up her abode on a rock which overhung the town, and there 
sat watching the people as they died of famine and wasting sickness. 
Only when the man came who could expound her mysterious riddle 
would she free them of her hateful presence ; and so in their 
perplexity the chiefs of the city had decreed that he who discomfited 
the monster should be made king and have Iokaste as his bride. 
Meanwhile the Sphinx sat motionless on the cliff, uttering from time 
to time the mysterious sounds which conveyed no sense to the ears 
of mortal men. This dreadful being who shut up the waters is, 
it may be enough to say here, only another Vritra, and her name 
has the exact meaning of Ahi, the choking or throttling snake ; and 
the hero who answers her riddle may thus not unnaturally receive 
his name from his wisdom. Thus much is certain, that the son 
of Laios speaks of himself as knowing nothing when he first drew 
near to encounter the Sphinx, while afterwards he admits that his 
name is a familiar word in all mouths, 3 and thus Oidipous becomes 
the counterpart of the wise Medeia. With the death of the Sphinx 

1 M. Breal thinks that if the name with not less truth that the swelling of 

really belongs to this root, it must be the sun has reference to his rising, and 

taken as denoting the sun when it to its apparent enlargement at the base 

touches the horizon, "lorsque, par 1'effet until half its disk becomes visible. Mr. 

de vapeurs qui flottent dans les couches Paley regards the name Odysseus as 

inferieures de l'atmosphere, il semble equivalent to S Svcrdfiems (using this 

de moment au moment augmenter le word not as the future but the epic 

volume." He thinks also that the aorist participle), and to Endymion 

wounds thus inflicted on Oidipous must the o in the word being the prefix as in 

be compared with those of Achilleus in onfiptnos, oSoiis, &c. 
the Hellenic mythology, of Baldur and * 6 itr/iey eiS&s OlSiwous.— Soph. Oid. 

Sigurd in the Teutonic legends, and of Tyr, 397. 1 

Isfendiyar and Rustem in the Persian 6 irairi Kheivbs OlSlmvs KaKov/ti-i/os. 

story. It might, however, be said — ib. 8. 


BOOK ends the terrible drought. Oidipous has understood and interpreted 
the divine voices of Typhon, or the thunder, which the gods alone 

can comprehend. 1 The sun appears once more in the blue heaven, 
in which he sprang into life in the morning; in other words, Oidipous 
is wedded to his mother Iokaste, and the long train of woes which 
had their root in this awful union now began to fill the land with 
a misery as great as that from which Oidipous had just delivered it a 
As told by ^Eschylos and Sophokles, it is a fearful tale ; and yet if 
the poets had' but taken any other of the many versions in which 
the myth has come down to us, it could never have come into 
existence. They might, had they pleased, have made Euryganeia, 
the broad shining dawn, the mother of Antigone and Ismeng, of 
Eteokles and Polyneikes, instead of Iokaste, the violet light, which 
reappears in the names Iole, Iamos, Iolaos, Iasion, and Iobates. 
Undoubtedly the mother of Oidipous might be either Euryganeia, 
Iokaste or Astymedousa, who are all assigned to him as his wives ; 
but only by giving the same name to his mother and his wife could 
the moral horrors of the story be developed, and the idea once 
awakened took too strong a hold on their imagination to be lightly 
The Thus far the story resolves itself into a few simple phrases, which 

Oidipous. spoke of the thundercloud as looming over the city from day to day, 
while the waters remained imprisoned in its gloomy dungeons, like 
the rock which seemed ever going to fall on Tantalos, — of the sun 
as alone being able to understand her mysterious mutterings and 
so to defeat her scheme, and of his union with the mother from 
whom he had been parted in his infancy. The sequel is not less 
transparent. Iokaste, on learning the sin of which she has un- 
wittingly been guilty, brings her life to an end, and Oidipous tears' 
out the eyes which he declares to be unworthy to look any longer 
on the things which had thus far filled him with delight. In other 
words, the sun has blinded himself. Clouds and darkness have 
closed in about him, and the clear light is blotted out of the heaven. 8 

1 The conduct of Signy, mother of winter), but the tears of Rapunzel (the 

Sinfjotli in the Helgi Saga, stands out tears which Eos sheds on the death of 

in marked contrast with that of Oidipous Memn6n) fall on the sightless eyeballs, 

and Iokaste". and his sight is given to him again. In 

s Breal, Le Mythe d 'Edife, 17. the story of the Two Wanderers (the 

3 So in the German story of Rapun- Dioskouroi or Asvins, the Babes in the 

zel, the prince, when his bride is torn Wood) one of the brothers, who is u 

from him, loses his senses with grief, tailor, and who is thrust out to starve, 

and springing from the tower (like falls into the hands of a shoemaker who 

Kephalos from the Leukadian cliff) gives him some bread only on condition 

falls into, thorns which put out his eyes. that he will consent to lose his eyes. 

Thus he wa'-.ders blind in the forest (of His sight is, of course, restored as in the 


Nor is this blinding of the sun recorded only in this Theban story, chap. 

Bellerophon, when thrown from his winged steed Peg^sos, is said ' ' 

to have been both lamed and blinded, and the story may be com- 
pared with the blinding of Samson before he bends the pillars of the 
temple and brings death and darkness on all who are around him. 1 
The feuds and crimes which disgrace his family when he has yielded 
up his sceptre to his sons are the results of a moral process, and 
not of the strictly mythical developement which makes him the slayer 
of Laios, a name which, denoting simply the enmity of the darkness 
to the light, is found again in Leophontes as an epithet of Hipponoos, 
who is also called Bellerophon. 2 

But if IokastS, the tender mother who had watched over him at Oidipous 


his birth, is gone, the evening of his life is not without its consolation. Antigone. 
His sons may fill the city with strife and bloodshed ; his daughter 
Ismene may w.aver in her filial allegiance ; but there yet remains one 
who will never forsake him, and whose voice shall cheer him in his 
last hour. In this beautiful being, over whom Sophokles has thrown 
a singular charm, M. Breal sees the light which sometimes flushes 
the eastern sky as the sun sinks to sleep in the west. 8 The word 
must certainly be compared with such names as Anteia, Antiope, 
Antikleia ; while the love of Antigong for Oidipous seems to carry 
us to the love of Selene for Endymion or of Echo for the dying 
Narkissos. With the death of Oidipous, her own life draws towards 
its close. It is brought about indeed by the despotic cruelty of 
Kreon; but the poet could scarcely withstand the force of the feeling, 
which in accordance with the common phenomena of the heavens 
bound up the existence of Oinong, Kleopatra, Brynhild, Althaia, with 

other story. In the story of the "Prince unnecessary to say that the evidence 
who was afraid of Nothing " (the Sigurd for the historical existence of Zaleukos 
of Brynhild), the hero is blinded by a is worth as much and as little as that 
giant, but the lion sprinkling some which is adduced for the historical 
water on his eyes restores the sight in character of Minos, Manu, Lykourgos, 
part, and bathing himself in the stream and Numa. The story told of Zaleukos 
which he finds near him, the prince himself that he agreed to have one of 
necessarily comes out of the water able his own eyes put out rather than allow 
to see as well as ever. In the Norse his son, who had been convicted of 
Tales (Dasent) Oidipous appears as the adultery, to lose both his eyes, points 
blinded brother in the story of True to the myths of the blinded Oidipous 
and Untrue, and as the blinded prince and the one-eyed Kyklops or Wuotan. 
in that of the Blue Belt. The law by which the punishment is 
1 In the same way the Athenian inflicted simply reflects the story of 
Drakon, whose name corresponds pre- Oidipous, who is strictly punished for 
cisely to that of the Spartan Lykourgos incest by the loss of his eyes ; and the 
and the Lokrian (Epizephyrian) law- name Zaleukos, the glistening or gleam- 
giver Zaleukos, has but one indiscrimi- ing, carries us to Apollon Lykios, the 
nate punishment of death for all offences. Latin Lucius, Lucna, Luna, &c. 
In the code of the Lokrian Zaleukos, * See the section on Bellerophon. 
the punishment of adulterers is said a Breal, Le Mythe (PEdipe, 21. 
to have been loss of the eyes. It is 


BOOK the life of the being whom they had loved and lost. Here again 
Antigone, betrothed to the youthful Haimon, dies in the dark cave, 
like the bright clouds which Vritra shuts up in his horrid dungeons. 
But before this last catastrophe is brought about, there is a time of 
brief respite in which Oidipous reposes after all the griefs and sorrows 
which have come upon him, some at the rising of the sun or its 
setting, some at noonday or when the stars twinkled out in the sky. 
All these had burst as in a deluge* on his devoted head ; 1 but now 
he draws nigh to the haven of rest. His feet tread the grass-grown 
pathway; over his head the branches sigh in the evening breeze; and 
when an Athenian in holy horror bids him begone from the sacred 
grove of the Eumenides, Oidipous replies that their sanctuary can 
never be violated by him. He is not merely their suppliant, but their 
friend ; and they it is who will guide him peacefully through the dark 
valley of the shadow of death. One prayer only he ha§ to make, and 
this is that some one will bring Theseus, the Athenian king, to his 
side before he dies. The wish is realised ; and we see before us 
perhaps the most striking of all mythical groups, — the blinded 
Oidipous sinking peacefully into his last sleep, as he listens to the 
voice of the man who rules in the city of the dawn-goddess Athene, 
and feels the gentle touch of his daughter's hand, while over him 
wave the branches in the grove of the Eumenides, benignant always 
to him, and now reflecting more than ever the loveliness of the Eastern 
Saranyu. Then comes the signal of departure, that voice of the 
divine thunder which now, as before, when he encountered the 
Sphinx, Oidipous alone can understand. Without a murmur he 
prepares to obey the summons, and with Theseus alone, the son 
of the sea and air, by his side, calmly awaits the end. With wonder- 
ful fidelity to the old mythical phrases, the poet tells us of the hero 
who has passed away, by no touch of disease, for sickness could 
not fasten on his glorious form, by no thunderstroke or sea-roused 
whirlwind, but guided by some heaven-sent messenger, or descending 
into the kindly earth where pain and grief may never afflict him 
more. Well may the poet speak as though he were scarcely telling 
the story of the death of mortal man. 2 

1 Soph. Oid. Kol. 1248. across the blue heaven, which, growing 

2 Ibid. 1665. We have here the darker every moment, seems to be 
image of the wise and beneficent king lulled in the profoundest slumber, 
smitten by the stroke of an unulter- Here the sky is passive, while the 
able woe, yet going down blinded to twilight with its lovely clouds is active ; 
his grave with incommunicable dig- but when we remember that the twi- 
nity and majesty. But there might be light is the daughter of the heaven, we 
another side to the picture. The ex- have, Dr. Goldziher insists (Mythology 
quisite tints of evening twilight are seen among the Hebrews, p. 189, et seq. ), the 
to spread themselves languishingly framework of the story of Lot and his 


The tomb of Endymion was shown in Elis, and the Cretans chap. 
pointed to the grave of Zeus ; but no man could say in what precise ■ — ■ 
spot the bones of Oidipous reposed. It was enough to know that 
a special blessing would rest on the land which contained his 
sepulchre ; and what place could be more meet for this his last abode 
than the dearest inheritance of Athene ? 

The Theban myth of Oidipous is repeated substantially in the The story 
Arkadian tradition. As Oidipous is the son of Laios and Iokaste, ph™ e " 
the darkness and the violet-tinted sky, so is Telephos (who has the 
same name with Telephassa, the far-shining) the child of Aleos 
the blind, and Auge the brilliant: and as Oidipous is left to die 
on the slopes of Kithairon, so Telephos is exposed on mount 
Parthenion. There the babe is suckled by a doe, 1 which represents 
the wolf in the myth of Romulus and the dog of the Persian story 
of Cyrus, and is afterwards brought up by the Arkadian king 
Korythos. Like Oidipous, he goes to Delphoi to learn who is his 
mother, and is there bidden to go to Teuthras, king of Mysia. But 
thither Auge had gone before him, and thus in one version Teuthras 
promised her to Telephos as his wife, if he would help him against 
his enemy Idas. This service he performs, and Auge differs from 
Iokaste only in the steadiness with which she refuses to wed Telephos, 
although she knows not who he is. Telephos now determines to 
slay her, but Herakles reveals the mother to the child, and like 
Perseus, Tele'phos leads his mother back to her own land. In 
another version he becomes the husband not of Auge, but of 
a daughter of Teuthras, whose name Argiope shows that she is" but 
Auge under another form. In this tradition he is king of Mysia 

daughters — a story which may be corresponds exactly to that of the 
matched with a hundred others. When Vedic Varuna and the Hellenic Ou- 
in the Vedic hymn Prajapati seeks to ranos. What then, he argues, would 
do violence to his daughter Ushas, the they behold, who looked up to the 
myth is transparent ; for Prajapati is sombre heaven and saw spread on its 
literally the lord of light, and Ushas is unbroken surface the tender light be- 
the dawn. It is scarcely less obvious coming gradually fainter and fainter in 
in the Volsung story, where the sister the west ? Would not this bright flush- 
deceives the brother and becomes the be the glow on the cheeks of the dawn- 
mother of Sinfjotli. But the hero who maiden, now left in abs*lute solitude 
slays the slayer of the sun must himself with its parent the dark heaven ? and 
be the offspring of his murdered father, would not the next thought be that of 
and of the beautiful maiden whom he the union from which must spring the 
loves in the morning and greets" again days that were to come? 
at eventide. Like that of Signy, the * Tylor, Primitive Culture, i. 255. 
purpose of Lot's daughters is avowed. The only legend, perhaps, which speaks 
Besides themselves and their father no of the beast as intent on devouring 
human being is left, and the race must instead of fostering the child is that of 
not be suffered to die out. In both Hugdietrich. — Introduction to Com- 
stories there is the same necessity. parative Mythology, 296 ; Popular 
Etymologically, Lot, Dr. Goldziher as- Romances of the Middle Ages, 333. 
serts, is the coverer, and thus the name 


BOOK when the Achaians come to Ilion to avenge the wrongs of Helen, 

• - J ' and he resists them with all his power. In the ensuing strife he 

is smitten by Achilleus, and all efforts to heal the wound are vain. 
In his misery he betakes himself again to the oracle, and learns that 
only the man who has inflicted the wound can heal it. In the end, 
Agamemnon prevails on Achilleus to undo his own work, and to 
falsify in the case of Telephos the proverb which made use of his 
name to describe an incurable wound. The means employed is 
the rust of the spear which had pierced him, — an explanation which 
turns on the equivocal meaning of the words tos, ion, as denoting rust, 
poison, an arrow, and the violet colour. 
Twofold As we read the story of Telephos we can scarcely fail to think of 

the Trojin tne stor y °^ the Trojan Paris, for like Telephos Paris is exposed as a 
Paris. babe on the mountain side, and like him he receives at the hands of 
Achilleus a wound which is either incurable or which Oinone either 
will not or cannot heal. Paris is the great malefactor who by taking 
Helen from Sparta brings the Achaian chiefs to the assault of Troy ; 
and as Helen is manifestly the Vedic Sarami, the beautiful light of 
the morning or the evening, Paris as conveying her to his stronghold 
is the robber who drives off the shining cattle of Indra to his dungeon 
The fight at Troy is thus the struggle of the children of the Sun to 
recover from the dreary caves of night the treasure of which the 
darkness deprived them in the evening ; in other words, Ilion is 
the fortress of Vritra or Ahi, and Paris the successful seducer of 
Helen represents the unsuccessful seducer of Sarama. But even in 
the eyes of Sarama the Pani is not altogether repulsive; and the 
Gorgon Medousa shares the beauty of Asterodia and Selene, of Ursula 
and the Fairy Queen. Hence to a large extent a parallel may be 
drawn between the career of the bright heroes and that of the dark 
beings who oppose them. In his capriciousness, his moody sullenness, 
his self-imposed inaction, Paris resembles Meleagros and Achilleus. 
The cause also is the same. Achilleus is angry because Briseis is 
taken away : Paris is indignant because he is desired to give up 
Helen. But if the Trojans as a whole represent the enemies of Indra, 
many of those chiefs who take his part are heroes whose solar origin 
is beyond all question. On his side may be seen the Ethiopian 
Memnon, over whose body the morning weeps tears of dew, and who, 
rising from the dead, is exalted for ever to the bright halls of Olympos. 
With them are ranged the chieftains of the bright Lykian land ; and 
assuredly in Glaukos and Sarpgdon we discern not a single point 
of likeness with the dark troops of the Panis. There is nothing in 
the history of mythology which should make this result a matter of 


surprise. The materials for the great epic poems of the Aryan world CHAP. 

are the aggregations of single phrases which have been^gradually ■ ' 

welded into a coherent narrative; and the sayings which spoke of 
the light as stolen away in the evening from the western sky and 
carried away to the robber's stronghold far away towards the east, of 
the children of the light as banding together to go and search out 
the thief, of their struggle with the seducer and his kinsfolk, of the 
return of the light from the eastern sky back again to its home in the 
west, were represented by the mythical statements that Paris stole 
Helen from the Western Sparta and took her away to Ilion, that the 
kinsfolk of Helen roused the Achaian chiefs to seek out the robber 
and do battle with him and his people, and that after a hard fight 
Helen was rescued from their grasp and brought back to the house 
of Menelaos. But there was a constant and an irresistible tendency 
to invest every local hero with the attributes which are reflected upon 
Herakles, Theseus, and Perseus from Phoibos and Helios the lords 
of light; and the several chiefs whose homes were localised in 
Western Asia would as naturally be gathered to the help of Hektor 
as the Achaian princes to the rescue and avenging of Helen. Over 
every one of these the poet might throw the rich colours of the heroic 
ideal, while a free play might also be given to purely human instincts 
and sympathies in the portraits of the actors on either side. If Paris 
was guilty of great crimes, his guilt was not shared by those who 
would have made him yield up his prey if they could. He might be 
a thief, but they were fighting for their homes, their wives, and their 
children : and thus in Hektor we have the embodiment of the highest 
patriotism and the most disinterested self-devotion, — a character, in 
fact, infinitely higher than that of the sensitive, sullen, selfish and 
savage Achilleus, because it is drawn from human life, and not, like 
the other, from traditions which rendered such a portrait in his case 
impossible. 1 

The eastern myth then begins with incidents parallel to those The birth 
which mark the birth and childhood of Dionysos, Telephos, Oidipous, ? nd ln " f 
Romulus, Perseus, and many others. Before he is born, there are Paris, 
portents of the ruin which, like Oidipous, he is to bring upon his house 
and people. His mother Hekabe dreams that her child will be a torch 

1 e< -yffe Aphrodite' und Helena, so ist ganz der Orientalische Held, zu- 

erschien auch Paris in den Kyprien, ver- gleich mannhaft und weichjich \vie 

muthlich nach Anleitung ortlicher Tra- Dionysos, wie Sardanapal, wie der Ly- 

ditionen, in einem andern Lichte und dische Herakles, gross in der Schlacht 

als Mittelspunkt eines grosseren Sagen- und gross im Harem, die gerade Gegen- 

complexes, welcher gleichfalls bei den satz zu den Griechischen Helden, na- 

spiiteren Dichtern und Kunstlern einen mentlich zu Menelaos und zum Achill." 

lebhaften Anklang gefunden hat. Er — Preller, Cr. Myth. ii. 413. 




The judg- 
ment of 

to set Ilion in flames ; and Priam, like Laios, decrees that the child 
- shall be left to die on the hillside. But the babe lies on the slopes of 
Ida (the Vedic name for the earth as the bride of Dyaus the sky), and 
is nourished by a she-bear. 1 The child grows up, like Cyrus, among the 
shepherds and their flocks, and for his boldness and skill in defending 
them against the attacks of thieves and enemies he is said to have 
been called Alexandros, the helper of men. In this his early life he 
has the love of Oinone, the child of the river-god Kebren, 2 and thus 
a being akin to the maidens who, like Athene' and Aphrodite, are born 
from the waters. Meanwhile, he had not been forgotten in Ilion. 
His mother's heart was still full of grief, and Priam at length ordered 
that a solemn sacrifice should be offered to enable his dead son to 
cross the dark stream of Hades. The victim chosen is a favourite 
bull of Paris, who follows it in indignation, as the men lead it away. 
In the games now held he puts forth his strength, and is the victor 
in every contest, even over Hektor. His brothers seek to slay the 
intruder, but the voice of Kasandra his sister is heard, telling them 
that this is the very Paris for whose repose they were now about to 
slay the victim, — and the long-lost son is welcomed to his home. 

At this point the legend carries us to the Thessalian myth. When 
Thetis rose from the sea to become the bride of Peleus, Eris, who 
alone was not invited with the other deities to the marriage-feast, 
threw on the banquet-table a golden apple, 8 with the simple inscrip- 
tion that it was a gift for the fairest Her task of sowing the seeds 
of strife was done. The golden apple is the golden ball which the 
Frog-prince brings up from the water, the golden egg which the red 
hen lays in the Teutonic story, the gleaming sun which is born of the 
morning ; and the prize is claimed, as it must be claimed, by Here, 
Athene, and Aphrodite, the queens of heaven and the goddesses of 
the dawn. For the time the dispute is settled by the words of Zeus, 
who bids them carry their quarrel before the Idaian Paris, who shall 
decide between them. As the three bright beings draw near, the 
shepherd youth is abashed and scared, and it is only after long 
encouragement that he summons spirit to listen to the rival claims. 
Here, as reigning over the blue ether, promises him the lordship of 
Asia, if he will adjudge the prize to her ; Athene, the morning in its 
character as the awakener of men's minds and souls, assures him of 

1 The equivocal meaning of the 
name Arktos, the bear, has already 
come before us in the myths of the seven 
arkshas and the seven rishis ; and pro- 
bably all the animals selected to perform 
this office of nourishing exposed children 
will be found to have names which, like 

the Greek hiicos, a wolf, denote the 
glossiness of their coats. 

2 That this name Kebren is probably 
the same as Severn, the intermediate 
forms leave little room for doubting. 

» See Campbell's Tales of the West 
Highlands, i. lxxxii., &c. 


renown in war and fame in peace ; but Paris is unable to resist the CHAP. 

laughter-loving goddess, who tells him that if his verdict is* for her he ^— - 

shall have the fairest bride that ever the world has seen. Hence- 
forth Paris becomes the darling of Aphrodite, but the wrath of Here 
and Athene lies heavy on the doomed city of Ilion. Fresh fuel was 
soon to be supplied for the fire. A famine was slaying the people 
of Sparta, and Menelaos the king learnt at Delphoi that the plague 
could not cease until an offering should be made to appease the sons 
of Prometheus, who were buried in Trojan soil. Thus Menelaos 
came to Ilion, whence Paris went with him first to Delphoi, then to 
Sparta. The second stage in the work of Eris was reached. The 
shepherd of Ida was brought face to face with the fairest of all the 
daughters of men. He came armed with the magic powers of 
Aphrodite, whose anger had been kindled against Tyndareos, because 
he had forgotten to make her an offering ; and so, when Menelaos 
had departed to Crete and the Dioskouroi were busied in their 
struggle with the sons of Aphareus, Paris poured his honied words 
into the ears of Helen, who yielded herself to him with all her 
treasures, and sailed with him to Ilion in a bark which Aphrodite 
wafted over a peaceful sea. 

There is scarcely a point in this legend which fails of finding a Paris and 
parallel in other Aryan myths. The beautiful stranger, who beguiles Helen - 
the young wife when her husband is gone away, is seen again in the 
Arkadian Ischys who takes the place of Phoibos in the story of 
Koronis, in the disguised Kephalos who returns to win the love of 
Prokris. The departure of Menelaos for Crete is the voyage of the 
sun in his golden cup from west to east when he has reached the 
waters of Okeanos ; * and the treasures which Paris takes away are 
the treasures of the Volsung tale and the Nibelung song in all their 
many versions, the treasures of light and life which are bound up 
with the glory of morning and evening, the fatal temptation to the 
marauding chiefs, who in the end are always overcome by the men 
whom they have wronged. There is absolutely no difference between 
the quarrel of Paris and Menelaos, and those of Sigurd and Hogni, 
of Hagen and Walthar of Aquitaine. In each case the representative 
of the dark power comes in seeming alliance with the husband or the 
lover of the woman who is to be stolen away ; in other words, the 
first shades of night thrown across the heaven add only to its beauty 
and its charm, like Satan clothed as an angel of light In each case 
the wealth to be obtained is scarcely less the incitement than the 
loveliness of Helen, Brynhild, or Kriemhild. Nor must we forget the 
1 Helios leaves E6s behind him. 



B °°K stress laid in the Iliad on these stolen treasures. All are taken : 

' ' Paris leaves none behind him ; * and the proposals of Antenor and 

Hektor embrace the surrender of these riches not less than that of 
Helen. The narrative of the war which avenges this crime belongs 
rather to the legend of Achilleus ; and the eastern story of Paris 
is resumed only when, at the sack of Troy, he is wounded by 
Philoktetes in the Skaian or western gates, and with his blood on 
fire from the poisoned wound, hastens to Ida and his early love. 
Long ago, before Aphrodite' helped him to build the fatal ship which 
was to take him to Sparta, Oinong had warned him not to approach 
the house of Menelaos, and when he refused to listen to her counsels 
she had told him to come to her if hereafter he should be wounded. 2 
But now when he appears before her, resentment for the great wrong 
done to her by Paris for the moment overmasters her love, and she 
refuses to heal him. Her anger lives but for a moment ; still when 
she comes with the healing medicine it is too late, and with him she 
lies down to die. 8 Eos cannot save Memnon from death, though 
she is happier than Oinone, in that she prevails on Zeus to bring 
her son back from the land of the dead. 

T Frv d A at » ^° en ^ s t ' le l e S en( i °f t ' ie Trojan Alexandros, with an incident 

which recalls the stories of Meleagros and Sigurd, and the doom of 
Kleopatra and Brynhild; and such are the materials from which 
Thucydides has extracted a military history quite as plausible as that 
of the siege of Sebastopol. 
Iamos the A happier fate than that of Telephos or Paris attends the 
child. Arkadian Iamos, the child of Evadne and Phoibos. Like his father 
and like Hermes, he is weak and puny at his birth, and EvadnS in 
her misery and shame leaves the child to die. But he is destined 
for great things, and the office of the dog and wolf in the legends 
of Cyrus and Romulus is here performed by two dragons, not the 
horrid snakes which seek to strangle the infant Herakles, but the 
glistening creatures who bear a name of like meaning with that of 
Athene, and who feed the child with honey. But Aipytos, the 
chieftain of Phaisana, and the father of EvadnS, had learnt at 
Delphoi that a child of Phoibos had been born who should become 
the greatest of all the seers and prophets of the earth, and he asked 
all his people where the babe was : but none had heard or seen him, 
for he lay far away amid the thick bushes, with his soft body bathed 
in the golden and purple rays of the violets. 4 So when he was 

* //.iii. 7o, 91. ■ Apollod. iii. 12, 6. 

So m the cycle of the Arthur myths, « In this myth Pindar uses the word 

Ysolde alone can heal Tristram. ios, twice, as denoting in the one case 


found, they called him Iamos, the violet child ; and as he grew in chap. 

years and strength, he went down into the Alpheian stream, and ' ' 

prayed to his father that he would glorify his son. Then the voice 
of Zeus Poseidon was heard, bidding him come to the heights of 
Olympos, where he should receive the gift of prophecy and the 
power to understand the voices of the birds. The local legend 
made him, of course, the soothsayer of the Eleian Olympia, where 
Herakles had founded the great games. 

The myth of Pelias and Neleus has the same beginning with Pelias and 
the stories of Oidipous, Telephos, and Paris. Their mother Tyro 
loves the Enipean stream, and thus she becomes the wife of 
Poseidon; in other words, her twin sons Pelias and Neleus are, 
like Aphrodite 1 and Athene, the children of the waters. These 
Dioskouroi, or sons of Zeus Poseidon, are left to die, but a mare 
suckles the one, a dog the other ; and in due course they avenge 
the wrongs of Tyro by putting to death the iron-hearted Sidero, 
whom her father Salmoneus had married. The sequel of the tale, 
which makes Pelias drive his brother from the throne of Iolkos, 
belongs rather to the history of Ias6n. 

This myth which has now come before us so often is the ground- Romulus 
work of the great Roman traditions. Here also we have the Remus 
Dioskouroi, Romulus and Remus, the children of Mars and the 
priestess Rhea Ilia or Silvia. Like Perseus and Dionysos, the babes 
are exposed on the waters ; but a wolf is drawn to them by their 
cries, and suckles them until they are found by Acca Larentia, and 
taken to the house of her husband the shepherd Faustulus. There 
they grow up renowned for their prowess in all manly exercises, and, 
like Cyrus, the acknowledged leaders of all their youthful neighbours ; 
and when at length Remus falls into the hands of king Amulius, 
Romulus hastens to his rescue, and the tyrant undergoes the doom 
of Laios and Akrisios. These two brothers bear the same name, 
for Remus and Romus are only another and an older form of 
Romulus j 1 and thus a foundation might be furnished for the story 
of their rivalry, even if this feature were not prominent in the myths 
of Pelias and Neleus and the Dioskouroi who are the sons of Zeus 

honey, in the other the violet flower. as applied to colour is traced by Prof. 

But the phrase which he uses, Ptfipey- Max Muller to the root z, as denoting a 

lihos aK-rlaw tuv (01. vi. 92), leads us crying hue, i.e. a loud colour. The 

to another meaning of ios, which, as story of Iamos is the institutional le- 

a spear, represents the far-darting rays gend of the Iamidai, on whom Pindar 

of the sun; and a further equivoca- bestows the highest praise alike for 

tion was the result of the other mean- their wisdom and their truthfulness, 
jng of poison attached to the same ' Hence they are mere eponymoi, 

word. Hence the poisoned arrows of like Boiotos, Orchomenos, &c. 
Achilleus and Philoktetes. The word 



BOOK and Leda, as well as in the rivalry of Eos and Prokris, of NiobS and 
Leto, of Athene and Medousa. Nor does Romulus resemble 
Oidipous less in the close of his life than at his birth. He is taken 
away in a thunderstorm, wrapped in the clouds which are to bear 
him in a fiery chariot to the palace of Jupiter, just as Olaf of Sweden 
disappears in the din of battle. 
Cyrus and The myth of Cyrus differs from the Romulean legend only in the 
fact that here it has gathered round an unquestionable historical 
person. But it cannot be too often repeated that from the myth we 
learn nothing of his history, and his history confers no sort of credi- 
bility on the myth. So far as the latter is concerned, in other words, 
in all that relates to his earlier years, he remains wholly unknown to 
us, while t