Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Jobs Worldwide & Bottom prices, cheaper then Amazon & FB
( 17.905.982 jobs/vacatures worldwide) Beat the recession - crisis, order from country of origin, at bottom prices! Cheaper then from Amazon and from FB ads!
Become Careerjet affiliate

Topics - Prometheus

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 »
Greek Mythology / Greek & Roman Mythology
« on: August 04, 2019, 04:25:23 PM »


Volume I


Aphrodite the Mother

On Aphrodite's left arm originally rested an infant,
the fingers of whose little hand may still be seen on the
drapery of its mother's bosom. The goddess is look-
ing straight before her, not, however, with her vision
concentrated on a definite object, but rather abstract-
edly, as if serenely proud of her motherhood. She
seems to represent here that special development of
the earth goddess who typified the kindly, fostering
care of the soil, and reminds one of certain Asiatic
images of the divine mother and child. From a
marble statue of the fourth or third century b.c.^
found on the Greek mainland, and now in the Royal
Ontario Museum of Archaeology, Toronto (photo-
graph). See pp. 196^.



tSEORGE FOOT MOORE, A.M., D.D.y LL.D., Consulting Editor









Copyright, 1916
Bt Marshall Jones Company

Entered at Stationers' Hall, London
AU rights reserved

Printed June, 1916














THERE are many good books on the mythology of par-
ticular peoples or races, ancient and modern, and much
material accessible in books of travel and works on ethnology
and religion; for classical antiquity excellent dictionaries of
mythology exist. There are also books of narrower or wider
range on comparative mythology, besides many in which
myth and custom have been pressed into the service of theories
of society, civilization, and religion, or are adduced for the
illustration of art and archaeology. But a comprehensive
collection by competent scholars of myths from all quarters
of the earth and all ages has not hitherto been attempted;
for several important parts of the field, no satisfactory works
exist in English, while in some there is none in any language.
On the value of an undertaking like the Mythology of All
Races J therefore, no words need be spent.

The intrinsic interest of the subject is very great; for better
than almost anything else myths reveal men's first notions
about their world and the powers at work in it, and the rela-
tions between men and those powers. They show what things
in their surroundings early engaged men's attention; what
things seemed to them to need explanation; and how they
explained them.

For a myth is commonly an explanation of something, in
the form of a story — what happened once upon a time, or
what repeats itself from day to day — and in natural myths,
as distinct from the invented myths of philosophers and poets,
the story is not the artificial vesture of an idea but its spon-
taneous expression, not a fiction but a self-evident fact. The
student of the mind of man in its uniformity and its varia-




tions therefore finds in mythology a great fund of instructive
material. A comprehensive collection like the present lends
itself also to comparative study of single myths or systems of
myth among different and widely remote peoples, and this
use of the volumes will be facilitated by a suitable analytical

It is one of the merits of this collection that it is made for
its own sake, with no theory to maintain or illustrate. The
contributors have been given free hand to treat their subjects
by such methods as may be best adapted to the nature of the
sources and the peculiarities of the mythology itself, without
any attempt to impose upon either the material or the writers
a schematic plan.

The names of the contributors are a sufficient guarantee of
the thoroughness and trustworthiness of their work, while the
general editor is himself a scholar of wide attainments in this
field. The volumes will be amply illustrated, not for the sake
of making picture books, but for the legitimate purposes of
illustration — a feature which will add much to the useful-
ness as well as to the attractiveness of the series. Taken all in
all, therefore, the Mythology of All Races may safely be pro-
nounced one of the most important enterprises of this age of
co-operative scholarship,


Harvard UinvERsmr
March 20, 1916.




THE theme of mythology is of perennial interest, and,
more than this, it possesses a value that is very real. It
is a document and a record — existing not merely in the dim
past, but in the living present — of man's thought, of his
ceaseless endeavour to attain that very real happiness which,
as Vergil tells us, arises from "knowledge of the causes of
things.*' Even in his most primitive stages of development
man finds himself dwelling in a world filled with phenomena
that to him are strange, sometimes friendly, often hostile.
Why are these things so? Rightly mankind perceives that a
phenomenon is not a Thing in Itself, an Absolute, but that it
is an effect, the result of a cause. Now, the immediate cause
may often be found; but then it will be seen that this cause is
itself only a result of an anterior cause; and so, step by step,
the search for ultimate Cause proceeds. Thus mythology is
a very real phase — perhaps the most important primitive
phase — of that eternal quest of Truth which ever drives us
on, though we know that in its full beauty it may never be
revealed to mortal eye nor heard by ear of man — that quest
more precious than meat or raiment — that quest which we
may not abandon if we will still be men.

Mythology is not, then, a thing of mere academic interest;
its value is real — real to you and to me. It is the history of
the thought of early man, and of primitive man today. In it
we may find much to tell us how he lived, and how he had
lived in the ages of which his myths recount. As affording us
materials for a history of civilization mythology is of inestim-
able value. We know now that history is something more than




a matter of dates and events. "Magna Charta was signed by
King John at Runnimede in 121 5." What of it, if that be all?
The exact words of the document, the particular monarch who
signed it, the precise spot, the specific date are of no worth
in themselves. The real historical question is — What were the
causes which led the English Barons, at a certain point in the
development of the British Nation, to compel the King to sanc-
tion a document abridging the Royal prerogatives; and what
have been the consequences, not merely to the subsequent evo-
lution of the British Constitution, but to all States and Colonies
thereby affected? So, too, we read mythology, not only for
its specific statements — its legends of gods and of heroes, its
theories of the world, and its attempts to solve the mystery of
the destiny of each and every individual — but also, with a
wider purview, for the light which it sheds upon the infancy
and the childhood of the race to which we — you who read
and I who write — belong.

Science; has mythology aught to do with that? Assuredly,
yes. Mythology is science in its infancy. Does the geologist
seek to determine how the earth came into being, how the
mountains and the lakes were formed; does the astronomer
essay to know the stars and their natures; do the zoologist and
the botanist endeavour to explain why animals and trees are
as they are — the maker of myth does even the same. The
scientist today is the lineal descendant of the myth-maker of
olden days. To say this is to honour both alike — both, with
all the light at their command, have sought, and ever seek,
the Truth. The hypotheses of the myths, do they differ in
principle from the hypotheses of science? We think not.
There is no real scientist who does not know that the hypotheses
with which he needs must work and which seem thus far in-
fallible in providing explanations for all phenomena in his field
may some day be modified or even utterly destroyed by new
discoveries. The Ptolemaic Theory is gone, the Atomic Theory
is questioned. But no sane man will for that reason condemn




hypotheses in totOy neither will he despise those who, in their
day, held hypotheses then deemed irrefutable.

The connexion of mythology with religion is obvious, yet a
word of caution is needed here. Mythology is not synony-
mous with religion, but only a part of it. Religion consists
of at least three parts — the attitude of soul, which is religion
par excellence; the outward act of worship, which is ritual;
and the scientific explanation, which — in the very highest and
noblest sense of the term — is myth; and these three — which
we may call the attitude of soul, body, and mind — go to-
gether to make religion. Throughout our study of mythology
we must bear constantly in mind that we are dealing with
only one feature of religion — its causal aspect. We must
not take the part for the whole, else we shall be one-sided and
unjust in our appreciation of religion as a whole.

One attitude of mind is absolutely essential in reading my-
thology — sympathy — and almost as important a requisite
is that, while reading it, its premisses must be granted.
If we approach mythology with the preconception that it is
false or nonsensical or trivial, it will be but waste of time to
read it; indeed it will be better never to have read it, for read-
ing in such a spirit will only embitter. It is, perhaps, not
suflBciently recognized how important a factor one's attitude
of sympathy is, not merely in regard to religion or psychology
or philosophy, or any other "mental and moral science," but
also toward the "exact sciences." If, for example, I make up
my mind that spectral analysis is utterly impossible, the dis-
covery of a new element in the gaseous emanation of a distant
planet by such analysis will be to me nothing but folly. If,
again, I reject the mathematical concept of infinity, which
I have never seen, and which cannot be weighed or measured,
then I shall of course deny that parallel lines meet in infinity;
you cannot give me the precise location of infinity, and, be-
sides, all parallel lines that I have ever seen are equidistant at
all points from each other. This is a reductio ad ahsurdum of




an attitude which is far too common in regard to mythology
and religion. This does not, of course, mean that we must
implicitly believe all that we read; but it does mean that we
should approach with kindly hearts. With reverence, then,
and with love we take up myths. We may smile, at times, at
their naivete; but we shall never sneer at them. Unblushing,
sometimes, we shall find them, and cruel; but it is the un-
modesty and the cruelty of the child. Myths may be moral
or un-moral; they are not immoral, and only a morbid mind
will see uncleanness in them.

No attempt has hitherto been made to collect the myths
of the entire human race into a single series. Yet this is not
so strange as it might appear at first. Scattered in many
volumes both old and new, and in periodicals of many kinds
and languages, it is an impossible task for one man to know
all myths, or to master more than one or two specific mythol-
ogies or a few special themes in mythology as a whole. It is
quite true that countless volumes have been written on the
myths of individual peoples and on special mythic themes,
but their assemblage into a single unit has not thus far been
accomplished. This is the purpose of the present series of the
Mythology of All RaceSj and this the reason for its being.
Herein it differs from all other collections of mythologies in
that the mythology of each race is not merely given a special
volume or half-volume of its own; but, since the series is an
organic entity — not a chance collection of monographs —
the mythology of an individual race is seen to form a coherent
part of mythology. Moreover, the mythology of one people
will not infrequently be found to cast light upon problems con-
nected with the mythic system of quite another people, whence
an accurate and a thorough understanding of any individual
mythology whatever demands an acquaintance with the mythic
systems of mankind as a whole. On the other hand, by thus
taking a broad survey, and by considering primarily the simple
facts — as presented chiefly by travellers, missionaries, and




anthropologists — we may hope to escape some of the pecu-
liar dangers which beset the study of mythology, especially
preconceived theories and prejudices, and the risk of taking
for aboriginal what is really borrowed and vice versa. We shall
advance no special theory of mythology which shall seek to
solve each and every problem by one and the same formula;
we shall aim to present the facts in the case — and the theories
may safely be trusted to take care of themselves, being then
wisely built on solid foundations.

We have not attempted to make an encyclopaedia of myth-
<^ogy, nor have we planned a mere reference book, which would
have been, in many ways, an easier task. We have had con-
stantly in mind not only the technical student — though he,
too, if the editor's own experience be any criterion, will learn
much — but the more general reader who desires breadth of
understanding, and who would know what the childhood of
our race has thought of the mysteries of nature and of life,
and how it has endeavoured to resolve them. We have sought
to be scientific — in the best sense of the term — but we have
also sought to present a book that shall be eminently readable,
that shall set forth myths as living entities, and that — because
each writer knows and loves the mythology of which he treats
— will fill the reader with enthusiasm for them.

Much of the material here given appears for the first time
in the English language — Slavic and Finno-Ugric, Oceanic,
Armenian, and African. No survey of American mythology
as a whole has hitherto been written. Even where — as in
Indian, Teutonic, and Semitic — English monographs exist,
new points of view are presented. Taking our stand on the
best modern scholarship, we venture to hope that many cur-
rent misconceptions of mythology may be brought to an end.
Thus, within recent years, the science of Greek mythology
has been revolutionized by the discovery of the very simple
fact that Homer is not its ultimate authority, that, indeed,
he represents a comparatively late stage in its development;




80 that we must give full consideration to the non-Homeric
myths and see that here, too, there is the same underlying
primitive stratum common to all the race of man. This mod-
ern scientific treatment of Classical mythology has its initial
English presentation in our series. Perhaps, at first blush,
we shall seem to lose much both here and elsewhere; we may,
perchance, be disappointed when we find that the vaunted
wisdom of Egyptians and of Druids was not so very profound;
but if we must part with some false, though pretty, ideas,
we shall find ample compensation in knowing Egyptians and
Druids as they were. After all, which do we prefer — a fanciful
picture of our friend, or his actual portrait.^

Mythology may be written in either of two ways — pres-
entational or comparative. In the former the myths of each
people are presented separately; in the latter some special
theme — the deluge-legend, the afterworld, or the like —
is considered as it appears in myth throughout the world.

The utmost care has been taken in the choice of collabora-
tors, and it is believed that to scholars their names will be in
themselves sufficient warrant that the volumes will possess
distinct scientific value. The ample bibliographies and ref-
erences appended to the pertinent sections will enhance the
technical worth of our series. In addition, we propose to give
in our index volume not merely the names and subjects dis-
cussed in the various volumes, but also a topical arrangement
by which the variant myths and mythic themes of the differ-
ent peoples upon a given subject may be found readily and

The selection of illustrations will, it is hoped, meet with
general favour. It would have been a very easy matter to
present fancy pictures or to reproduce paintings of great
modem artists. Instead of that, we have deemed it more in
harmony with the purpose of the series to choose for each
section pictures of the deities or of mythic incidents as delin-
eated by the people who themselves believed in those deities





Consulting Editor's Preface vii

Editor's Preface ix

Author's Preface xxi

Introduction to the Greek Myths xli

Sources for the Greek Myths Ix

Sources for the Roman Myths Ixi

Part I. Myths of the Beginning, the Heroes, and the

Afterworld I

Chapter I. Myths of the Beginning 3

The Creation of the World 4

The Regime of Ouranos 6

The Regime of Kronos 7

Establishment of the Regime of Zeus; the Titans ... 8

Typhon (or Typhoeus); the Giants 8

The Creation of Man 10

Prometheus 12

Pandora 14

Origins of Certain Animals and Plants 15

Beginnings of Civilization 16

The Ages of the World 17

The Great Flood 18

Chapter II. Myths of the Peloponnesos 20

I Arkadia:

Pelasgos 20

Lykaon 20

Kallisto 21

Arkas, Aleos, Auge 21

The Plague at Teuthis . .* 22



xxvi coNTE^^^s


II Lakonia and Messene:

Lelez and his Descendants 23

Hyakinthos 23

The Family of Perieres 24

Tyndareos, Helen, Kastor and Polydeukes .... 24

Idas and Marpessa 27

III Argos:

Inachos, lo 28

The Families of Danaos and Aigyptos 30

Proitos and his Daughters 32

Akrisios, Danae, and Perseus 33

IV Corinth:

The Divine Patrons of Corinth 36

Sisyphos 37

Glaukos 38

Bellerophon 39

Chapter III. Myths of the Northern Mainland. . . 42
I Boiotia and Euboia:

The First Inhabitants of Boiotia 42

Amphion and Zethos 43

Kadmos 44

The Daughters of Kadmos:

Semele 45

Ino 46

Autonoe 46

Agave 47

The Sorrows of the House of Labdakos; Oidipous . 48

The Sons of Oidipous, and the Seven against Thebes 5 1

The Epigonoi 54

Alkmaion 54

II Aitolia:

The Founding of Aitolia 55

Meleagros and Atalante 56

Chapter IV. Myths of Crete and Attike 60

I Crete:

Europe 60

Myths of Minos and his Sons; Minos 61


Japanese Mythology / Japanese Mythology
« on: August 04, 2019, 03:37:38 PM »






. ..U.. . ... . .... .1 . — . . :dik M


T HE purpose of this book is not to tell amusing stories for
the entertainment of the curious so much as to give to the
serious reader a general view of the nature and the variety of
Japanese myths and folk-tales. Therefore the stories are told
as concisely as possible, and care is always taken to point out the
connections, conceptual or historical, that exist between differ-
ent stories.

A good deal has been said about the religious beliefs that
underlie the stories, for the author deems the mythopoeic activ-
ity of the human mind to be inseparable from its religious be-
liefs. He does not, however, commit himself to any conclusion
as to the precise nature of the connection between the two, or
as to the priority of either over the other.

On the other hand, the author is fully aware that many an
idea or story must be traced to the circumstances of the people’s
social life, which varied with each epoch in their history. That
view of the subject has been touched upon in some places,
though not so fully as the author would have done if he had not
been limited by the space allowed. Something more will be
said concerning it in the author’s Japanese Art in its Relation to
Social Life (to be published by the Marshall Jones Company).

Many books have been written on the mythology and folk-
lore of the Japanese, but they are usually limited to a particu-
lar branch of the subject or else they aim merely to entertain.
The present book may perhaps claim to be a more or less sys-
tematic treatise on the whole subject. That fact, the author
hopes, may to a certain degree compensate the reader who finds
the book disappointingly unamusing.



The author intended to include a chapter on the epic Heike
Monogatariy because its story, both the main thread and epi-
sodes, was widely recited by the rhapsodists, and became the
source of much later story-telling and dramatic writing. But
the limits of space obliged the author to omit the chapter and to
leave the subject to a separate publication.

Cordial thanks are due to the authorities of the Museum of
Fine Arts, Boston, through whose courtesy most of the illus-
trations have been taken from the works of art in its possession.

Karuizawa, Japan,
January, 1927.




T HE long archipelago that skirts the eastern seas of Asia,
now known as Japan, was in early times inhabited by
hairy aborigines called Ainus. The word “ Ainu ” means
“ man ” in their own language. Between two and three thou-
sand years ago parties of invaders began to come from the
mainland, probably landing at more than one point and at
many different times. These invaders drove the aborigines
gradually before them, first to the east and then to the north.
It is not certain whence the conquerors came, but the most
probable hypothesis is that they came across the Sea of Japan
from the Asiatic continent by way of the Korean peninsula.
It must not be forgotten that the basic stock of the Japanese,
like that of the Koreans, differs in many respects from the
Chinese. The origin of the Japanese must be sought some-
where further north than the home of the Chinese or Han race.
On the other hand, the affinity of the Koreans with the Japan-
ese is well established , 1 and kinship may some day be satis-
factorily traced with other races that inhabit the north of

But the Japanese are a composite people, and the race seems
to have been modified by several immigrations, most frequently
from the eastern coasts of China, or from the southern islands,
and occasionally from the western side of the Sea of Japan.
These different stocks are distinguished by the majority of



scholars in this way: the true Japanese usually has an oblong
face and an aquiline nose; the Chinese element is seen in a
flatter face and more prominent cheek-bones ; and the southern
or Malaysian type is marked by a round, dumpling face and
narrow eyes. The predominance of the Chinese features in
the western islands is very naturally explained by the easy
connection by sea between that part of Japan and the mouth of
the Yang-tze River.

On the other hand, the existence of a southern element may
be deduced from the fact that the southern parts of the western
islands are said, in legendary history, to have been disturbed
from time to time by turbulent invaders from farther south
called the Falcon-men (Haya-to) and the Bear-race (Kuma-
so). It is in this part of the country too, chiefly in the province
of Satsuma, that personal names compounded with “ bear ”
occur most frequently. Moreover the southern coasts of the
island Shikoku are rich in such names as “ So and so Horse ”j
and these coasts were naturally the nearest stepping-stones for
the immigrants from the south. Besides these prehistoric ac-
cretions to the population of the archipelago, the semi-historical
and historical records frequently mention immigrations from
China and Korea ; and these later immigrants were active in
disseminating their more advanced civilization throughout the

Having said so much for the hypotheses of modern scholars,
let us see what the ancient legends 2 of the people tell us about
their origin and their arrival at their present abode.

The creators of the islands are said to be two of the “ heav-
enly gods.” We shall hear more about them when we come
to consider the cosmological myths. One of their children was
the Sun-goddess, who ruled the universe high in Heaven and
became the progenitrix of the ruling family of Japan. Once
in August the Sun-goddess looked down toward the “ Middle
Land where Reeds Grow Luxuriantly,” i.e. the Japanese


21 1

archipelago; she saw that the country was disturbed by various
“ evil spirits ” and that they rioted and surged “ like blue-
bottle hies.” She sent warning messages to these evil spirits,
and later several punitive expeditions were dispatched against
them and the earthly gods, who finally surrendered their lands
to the “ heavenly gods.” Among those who were thus subdued
were the descendants of the Storm-god, a brother of the Sun-
goddess, who ruled the coasts of the Sea of Japan, opposite the
eastern coasts of Korea.

After the way had thus been paved, the Sun-goddess sent
her grandson down to the islands, in order “ to rule the country
for eternity.” The party reached the island of Tsukushi
(modern Kyushu) at the summit of a high peak, and settled
down in the region of Himukai (the land “ facing the sun ”)
on the Pacific coast of the western island. As a matter of fact
that region is rich in old mounds, which are now being ex-
cavated, and a great many interesting relics of prehistoric
antiquity are being brought to light.

From the region “ Facing the Sun ” the waves of migration
and conquest swept eastward, along the coasts of the Inland
Sea. The objective was the central region, known as Yamato , 3
which was finally reached by Jimmu Tenno, the legendary
founder of the Imperial dynasty. Here again the conquerors
encountered the resistance of the “ Earth-spiders,” the
“ Eighty-owls,” the “ Long-legged-fellow,” the “ Fury-
giants,” etc.; but there were on their side, it is said, others who
belonged to the same tribe as the conquerors and who had
earlier settled down in the central region. In these battles the
descendants of the Sun-goddess were once defeated, because
they fought facing the sun, and thereafter they fought with the
sun at their backs. In the end, the solar descendants were vic-
torious and they settled in the region of Yamato which re-
mained the seat of Imperial residence up to the end of the
eighth century. The principal stock of the Japanese, repre-



seated by the descendants of these conquerors, is therefore
called the Yamato race.

Whatever the mythical significance or historical value of
these stories may be, the Yamato race always believed in its
descent from Heaven and worshipped the Sun-goddess as the
ancestress of the ruling family, if not of all the people. They
also endeavoured to force this belief on the subjugated peoples,
and partly succeeded in impressing them with that and other
associated ideas. These legends and beliefs, together with the
accompanying religious practices, make up the original religion
of the Yamato race, now known as Shinto, of which we shall
presently speak further. The ancient records of Shinto 4 were
compiled early in the eighth century, for the purpose of con-
firming the celestial origin of the Yamato race and perpetuating
the history of that people. They contain cosmological myths
and legendary histories, chiefly drawn from oral tradition, but
modified by Chinese ideas, and a great deal of folk-lore is also
embroidered on the legends of the race, for the Japanese have
always reverenced ancestral traditions of any sort. These offi-
cial records of Shinto contain the chief stock of ancient mythol-
ogy, and they have been kept comparatively free from the
foreign influences which, in later years, had so much effect on
Japanese literature and art.

Naturally, the people’s propensity to tell stories and to use
mythopceically their own ideas about natural and social phe-
nomena added much mythic material to that found in the offi-
cial records. Some of it, no doubt, was introduced by immi-
grants from other lands and was therefore foreign to the
original traditions of the race. We shall not make any positive
assertions about the “ racial character ” or “ innate inclination ”
of the people as manifested in their native ideas or imagery.
Yet no one can deny that different peoples show clearly differ-
ent mental and spiritual traits in viewing their own life and in
reacting toward their environment. The natural features and



climate of the land inhabited by a people no doubt have a great
influence upon their myth-making activity. But the way in
which they react to these external conditions is determined by
their temperament, their traditional stock of ideas and the alien
influences to which they have been subjected. The Japanese
were always susceptible to the impressions of nature, sensitive
to the varied aspects of human life, and ready to accept foreign
suggestion. Let us consider how these conditions influenced
the development of Japanese mythology and folk-lore.

Nature seems to have favoured the Japanese people by pre-
senting to them her most soothing and charming aspects. The
islands exhibit nearly all stages of geological formation, and
the climate ranges from the semi-tropical heat of the south-
west to the severe winters of the north. Continental magnitude
is, of course, lacking, but the landscape is richly diversified by
mountains and streams, inlets and promontories, plains and
forests. Fairies may well be imagined to roam in the woods
and by the many waterfalls 5 in the spring haze and in the sum-
mer clouds semi-celestial beings may easily be visualized ; the
dark surface of lakes surrounded by steep cliffs and soaring
peaks is well adapted to be the abode of gloomy spirits or to be
the scene of conflicts among fantastic genii. The cloud-like
blossoms of the cherry-trees are said to be produced by the
inspiration of a Lady-who-makes-the-trees-bloom, and the
crimson leaves of the maples are conceived to be the work of
a Brocade-weaving-Lady. The spirit of the butterfly appears
in the spring night, wearing pink robes and veiled in greenish
wreaths. In the plaintive singing of the “ pine insect ” the
people hear the voice of the dear one who has been reborn
among the withering bushes of the fields. On the lofty sum-
mits of snow-covered peaks great deities may dwell, and among
the iridescent clouds may be heard celestial music. Beyond the
distant horizon of the sea is the land of perpetual green of the
palace of the Sea King.

Vffl— IS



The susceptibility of the people’s mind to their surroundings
is shown in the early growth of a poetry in which they sang the
beauty of nature and the pathos of human life, of love and of
war. That early poetry is simple in form and naive in senti-
ment, yet it is touching and delicate. The people felt in har-
mony with the changing aspects of nature, exhibited in the phe-
nomena of the seasons, in the varieties of the flora, in the
concerts of singing birds or insects. Their sentiment toward na-
ture was always expressed in terms of human emotions} things
of nature were personified, as men were represented as living in
the heart of nature. Man and nature were so close to each
other that the personified phenomena were never totally dis-
sociated from their natural originals. This circumstance has
often been misinterpreted by Western observers, who declare
that the Japanese lack the personifying power of imagination.
But the truth is that the degree of personification is not so
complete as it is in Greek mythology, and that the imagination
never went so far as to obscure its source in the actual physical

It is also true that the Japanese myths and stories are not so
well connected and systematized as they are with the Aryan
peoples. There is in Japanese mythology a certain cycle of
cosmological ideas, but the links are often missing and many
single stories remain quite dissociated. Lightness of touch is
characteristic of Japanese imagination, and readiness in impro-
vising is no less conspicuous. The careful insistence on the
official account of the ancestry of the people may seem to
conflict with the lack of system that appears elsewhere, and
Buddhist influence certainly modified the peculiar character-
istics which determined the mythology of the race. Yet
Buddhism was adapted by the Japanese to their own mental
disposition, and the great system of Buddhist mythology was
broken up into single tales or brought down to the humbler
level of actual human experience. Delicate, imaginative, pleas-


21 5

ing, but never lofty, sensitive but scarcely penetrating, so we
may characterize the temperament of the people as manifested
in their mythology and poetry, art and music. In consequence
of these traits there is a lack of tragic strength in their mythol-
ogy. They have no idea of a tremendous catastrophe of the
world; the conflicts that occur almost never end in sublime
tragedy but in a compromise. Even the tragedies found in
the later tales and dramas are characterized by the mournful
submission of the heroes, and only exceptionally by the conflict
of a demoniac will with fate. This may be partly owing to the
mild influence of the land and the climate, but it is largely the
result of the temperament of the people, as we shall see if we
consider their native religious ideas.

The primitive religion of the people is called Shinto, which
means the “ Way of the Gods ” or “ Spirits.” This belief
amounts to an animistic view of the world, associated with the
tribal cult of the clan deities. The word animism is used here
to mean the doctrine that the things of nature are animated like
ourselves, either by a soul or by a peculiar kind of vitality.
Seeing the world in this light, the Japanese used to revere any-
thing, whether a natural object or a human being, that seemed
to manifest an unusual power or beauty. Every one of these
objects or beings is called a kaml , a deity or spirit. Nature is
inhabited by an infinite host of these deities and spirits, and
human life is always closely associated with their thoughts and
actions. The genius of an awe-inspiring mountain is called the
deity of the mountain; it may at the same time be regarded as
the progenitor of the tribe which inhabits the foot of the moun-
tain, or, if not the ancestor, it may at least be invoked as the
tutelary god of the tribe.

Therefore the Shinto religion is a combination of nature-
worship and ancestor-cult, and in most cases the nature-myth
is inseparable from the story concerning the ancestral deity and
from his worship, because the curiosity to know the origins of

21 6


things works as strongly toward the physical world as toward
one’s own individual and social life. That is the reason why
Shinto traditions combine the simple poetry of nature with
philosophic speculations about the origins of things. These
two aspects of Shinto are inextricably mingled in the existing
communal cults and they have given rise to many local legends
and myths. In these stories fancy played a part, but never to
the exclusion of earnest religious belief. This is the cause of
the curious tenacity of the Shinto legends among the people.

The most important foreign influence that reached Japan,
certainly so far as religion, art and literature are concerned, was
that of Buddhism. In the domain of mythology Buddhism
introduced into Japan a great deal of the Hindu imagination,
which is characterized by grandeur of scale, by richness of
imagery, by lofty flights of fancy. Buddhist literature, im-
ported into Japan and welcomed by the people, belonged to
the branch of Buddhism known as Mahayana, or the “ Broader
Communion.” In those books an infinite number of Buddha-
lands, or paradises, is said to exist, and each of them is de-
scribed in gorgeous and fanciful language. In a paradise there
are avenues of trees decorated with jewels, ponds full of lotus
flowers, birds singing perpetually in concert with the music
played by celestial beings. The air is filled with miraculous
scents and the earth is paved with precious stones. Innumer-
able varieties of celestial beings, Buddhas, saints, angels and
deities inhabit these paradises. When a large number is re-
ferred to it is spoken of as “ billions of myriads ” ( koti-niuta -
asankhya). A long time is described thus: Suppose you grind
the “ great thousand ” of worlds into fine dust and bring each
one of the particles to one of the innumerable worlds scattered
over the vast cosmos j the time required for that endless task
will perhaps compare to the number of the world-periods passed
by Buddha in his work.

Not only did the lofty flights of Buddhistic imagination ex-

Chinese Mythology / Chinese Mythology
« on: August 04, 2019, 02:58:03 PM »


Volume VIII


Eight Genii Crossing the Sea

See p. 1 1 8.



GEORGE FOOT MOORE, A.M., D.D., LL.D., Consulting Editor










Copyright, 1928
By Marshall Jones Company

Copyrighted in Great Britain

All rights reserved

Printed May, 1928






Author’s Preface 3

Introduction 5

Chapter I. Taoism 13

II. The Three Emperors 25

III. Other Prehistoric Emperors 33

IV. Intermixture of Early Religious Beliefs. 46

V. Cosmogony and Cosmological Theories . . 52

VI. Spirits of Nature 61

VII. Domestic Rites 74

VIII. Great National Heroes 85

IX. The Animal and Vegetable Worlds . ... 98

X. Supernatural Beings 108

XI. Occultism 133

XII. Folk-lore 148

XIII. Exemplary Tales 16 1

XIV. Theatrical Tales 174

XV. Buddhist Myths 188

XVI. Criticism 199



Author’s Preface 207

Introduction 209

Chapter I. Cosmological Myths and Tales of Origins. 221

I Spontaneous Generation: Life and Death 221

II The Rulers of the World: The Contest between the

Sun-Goddess and Storm-God 225

III Further Conflicts and Compromises 228

IV Episodes and Myths of Origins 231




V The Beliefs Concerning the Soul 237

VI The Buddhist Paradise and the Guardians of the

World 240

Chapter II. Local Legends and Communal Cults . . 244

Topography and the Division into Clans . . . 244

Chapter III. Fairies, Celestial Beings, the Men of the

Mountain 256

I The Sources of Fairy Tales 256

II The Fairy-Maiden 257

III The Buddhist Fairies, the Tennin and the Ryujin . . 267

IV The Taoist Immortals 274

Chapter IV. Demons, Vampires and other Ghostly

Beings 281

I The Devil 282

II The Hungry Ghost and the Furious Spirit 287

III Other Ghostly Beings 289

Chapter V. Romantic Stories 293

Chapter VI. Heroic Stories 303

Chapter VII. Stories of Animals 316

I Grateful Animals 318

II Revengeful and Malicious Animals 324

III The Serpent 33 1

IV Love and Marriage of Animals 333

V The Insects, especially the Butterfly 335

Chapter VIII. Stories of Plants and Flowers .... 338

I Mythical Trees 339

II The Genii of the Plants 34 °

III The Flower Fairies 34 2

IV The Floral Calendar 34&

Chapter IX. Didactic Stories, Humour and Satire . 354

I The Adaptation of Stories to Didactic Purposes . . . 354

II The Story of Bontenkoku 35 ^

III Humour and Satire .... 3 ^°

IV An Age of Discontent and Satire 3 ^ 2



Appendix, Folk-Lore in Folk-Songs 369

Notes, Japanese 377

Bibliography, Chinese 391

Bibliography, Japanese 395

Index, Chinese 403





I Eight Genii Crossing the Sea — Coloured . . Frontispiece

II Central Hall, Po Yiin Kuan 22

III i. Third Court, Po Yiin Kuan 50

2. Fourth Court, Po Yiin Kuan 50

IV Court of the Tung Yo Temple 136

V Court of the Tung Yo Temple 136

VI Chang Tao-lin, Taoist Patriarch — Coloured ... 154

VII The Primeval Couple Creating Islands 222

VIII The Sun-goddess — Coloured 226

IX The Lady-who-makes-the-trees-bloom 232

X The Star Festival of Tana-bata 236

XI A Ghost 240

XII Shozu-ga no Baba, Guardian of the Cross-road . . . 240

XIII Jizo, Guardian of the Children’s Souls 240

XIV Emma, the Pluto of the Buddhist Hells 240

XV Furu no Yashiro, a Shinto Shrine 246

XVI Mount Tsukuba 250

XVII Mount Fuji 250

XVIII The Fairies of the Cherry Blossoms and the Emperor

Temmu 260

XIX A Female Immortal Riding on a Mythical Peacock . 276

XX A View of the Gathering Place of the Immortals . . 276

XXI A Male Immortal Riding on a Chinese Dragon . . . 276

XXII The Sennin of Kume 276

XXIII Uzume and the Seven Deities of Good Fortune . . . 280

XXIV Daikoku, God of Good Fortune 280

XXV Ebisu, God of Good Fortune 280

XXVI Fuku-roku-ju, God of Good Fortune 280

XXVII Frolic of Demons 284





XXVIII Shoki, the Devil Hunter 286

XXIX Sojo-bo, the Chief of the Gengu or Vampires . . 288

XXX Rai-jin, Thunder 288

XXXI Fu-jin, Wind 288

XXXII Yama-uba, the Mountain Woman and her Son,

Kintaro 288

XXXIII The Maiden of Unai 296

XXXIV Shuten Doji, The Drunkard Boy 306

XXXV Ushiwaka and Benkei on Gojo Bridge in Miyako . 310

XXXVI Momotaro, the Peachling Boy, on the Isle of

Devils — Coloured 314

XXXVII Momotaro, the Peachling Boy, on the Isle of

Devils — Coloured 314

XXXVIII A Badger in the Disguise of a Buddhist Monk . . 326

XXXIX Wedding of the Monkeys 332

XL The Classical Dance of the Butterflies — Coloured 336

XLI New Year’s Day 348

XLII May Day 348

XLIII Tortoises, Symbolizing Longevity 348

XLIV Cranes, Symbolizing Prosperity 348



1 Hou-chi 6

2 Meeting of Confucius and Lao Tzu 15

3 Kuang Ch’eng-tzu 22

4 The Three Emperors; Huang Ti, Fu Hsi and Shen Nung . 26

5 Goddess of the Lo, Lo Shen 34

6 Pi Kan 4 °

7 Lieh Tzu 53

8 Yii Huang, the Jade Emperor 58

9 T’u-ti and his Wife 64

10 Hou-t’u 67

1 1 Ch’eng Huang 68

12 Sa Chen-jen 69

13 Jade Lady, Yii Nii 7 1




14 T’ien Hou 72

15 Tsao Shen, God of the Hearth 74

16 Men Shen, Guardians of the Portals 77

17 Ts’ai Shen, God of Riches 78

18 Chao Kung-ming, God of Riches 79

19 Chiang Tzu-ya 80

20 Shou Hsing, Nan-chi lao-jen, God of Longevity .... 81

21 Chang Hsien 83

22 Ta Ssu Ming 85

23 Hsiao Ssu Ming 86

24 Tung Huang T’ai I 87

25 Yiin Chung Chun 88

26 Hsiang Chiin 89

27 Hsiang Fu-jen 90

28 Tung Chiin 91

29 Ho Po 92

30 Shan Kuei 93

31 Kuo Shang 94

32 Kuan Yii, God of War 95

33 Kuo Tzu-i 96

34 The Phoenix 99

35 The Dragon, Lung 102

36 The Fox 103

37 Hua T’o, the Great Physician 107

38 The Taoist Trinity, T’ien Pao, Ling Pao, Shen Pao . . . 108

39 Yuan Shih T’ien Tsun 109

40 Tao Chiin 110

41 Chen Wu Ill

42 Wen Ch’ang, God of Literature 112

43 Tung Wang Kung and Hsi Wang Mu 1 15

44 Four of the Eight Immortals; Lan Ts’ai-ho, Li T’ieh-kuai,

Lii Tung-pin, Chung-li Ch’iian 118

45 Li T’ieh-kuai 119

46 Chung-li Ch’iian 120

47 Lii Tung-pin 121

48 Lii Tung-pin, Chung-li Ch’iian 122




49 Lan Ts’ai-ho 124

50 Chang-kuo 125

51 Han Hsiang 126

52 Ts’ao Kuo-chiu 127

53 Ho Hsien-ku 129

54 Ho Hsien-ku, Chang Kuo 130

55 Weaving Damsel and Shepherd Boy, Chih Nu and Niu Lang 131

56 Control of the Breath 146

57 Chung K’uei 152

58 Shih Kan Tang 153

59 The Goddess of T’ai-shan, Niang Niang 154

60 Yo Fei 180

61 A Hermit’s Mountain Hut 195



Illustrating the Story of the Addition of Pieces of Land to

Izumo by Omi-tsu-nu 248





T HIS volume should be called “ Outlines of Chinese My-
thology.” It lays no claim to consideration as being an
exhaustive study of Chinese mythology, which would require
many volumes. It has been possible to condense the essential
facts into this small space by an exclusion of all myths which
have any suspicion of a foreign origin and by avoiding all com-
parisons between those of China and those of other countries.
Only such traditional stories have been examined as are con-
cerned with the powers of nature, the origin of created things,
or the growth of governmental institutions and popular customs
among the Chinese people.

When the earliest written records of China were made, es-
tablished government and an orderly life among the people
already existed. There must have been also a vast store of oral
traditions. The task of those who were able to transmit their
opinions by means of writing was to explain established govern-
ment and organized life in the light of oral tradition. Out of
this attempt grew all the myths which centre around the early
rulers, celestial and terrestrial. Although the form of these
myths may have suffered many changes as they were being
transcribed to writing, their content has, without doubt, been
accurately preserved} it is with written traditions that this
study is concerned.

The sources are numerous and are too well-known to those
who are versed in Chinese literature to need mentioning, while
a detailed list would be of no help to the general reader. The
index will serve as a guide to those who wish to go further into
Chinese literary sources, as well as an aid to those to whom the
system of transliteration of Chinese sounds may be unfamiliar.



On the part of the author the approach to the subject has been
made with full recognition that pitfalls for the unwary were
waiting at every turn. The extent of Chinese literature, the
niceties of verbal distinction, the various versions of stories
which have gradually developed into fixed accounts, the free
use of imaginative details by authors who agree only concerning
central facts, these and many other similar conditions make the
path of one working in this field slippery and dangerous. The
hope of the author is that the aid of scholarly Chinese friends
has helped him to avoid many mistakes and has enabled him to
give a presentation of the outlines of a vast subject which no
one up to the present writing has ventured to treat.


January, 1927

vm — 1


T HE origin of the tribes which first settled along the valley
of the Yellow River and expanded into the Chinese race,
is still a subject for future investigators. Wherever these early
settlers came from, they possessed strong physiques and must
have been fond of adventure, for we find them scattered along
the Yangtze River in the neighbourhood of the present city of
Hankow and far east of the hills of Chehkiang, as well as
having pushed their way to the country north and south of the
mouth of the Yellow River. The courses of the great rivers
of China being eastward, it is reasonable to suppose that the
drift of the mainland population of China has been from west
to east.

The coast provinces of China, Kuangtung, Fukien, and the
southern half of Chehkiang, give evidences of having been pop-
ulated in the first instance by seafaring people, probably of
Malay origin. They were allied to the early populations of the
Philippine Islands and Japan, spoke many dialects, and per-
sisted for a long time in their inherent tendency to split up into
small divisions. The mainland civilization of China gradually
spread south-eastward among these illiterate people, and from
the time of the T’ang dynasty in the seventh century a.d.,
absorbed them not only into the political domain, but also in-
fused into them its dominating spirit. China furnished these
tribes with literature, art and government institutions so com-
pletely that in a few generations nearly all traces of their exotic
origin had been obliterated, the only persisting reminder being
in the name “ Men of T’ang ” by which the people of Canton
still call themselves, thus remembering that they came into the

VIII — 2



realm of Chinese civilization in the T’ang dynasty, and that this
event was the beginning of their ordered life under established

There was no attempt among the early annalists of China to
trace their national origin to a divine or supernatural source.
The nearest approach to such extravagance is in the account of

the birth of the legendary
founder of the Chow dynasty.
Hou-chi, to whom sacrifices were
offered by the House of Chow,
was the son of Chiang Yuan.
His mother, who had been child-
less for some time, trod on a toe-
print made by God, was moved
thereby to become pregnant, and
later gave birth to Hou-chi.
This wonderful son was reared
with the aid of sheep and oxen
who protected him with loving
care. Birds screened and sup-
ported him with their wings.
He was able to feed himself at
an early age by planting beans
and wheat. It was he who gave
to his people the beautiful grains
of the millet which was reaped in abundance and stacked up on
the ground for the support of his dependent people. This tale
has been recognized in historical times as a fable, and treated
with good-natured tolerance, though not with belief. There
has been a surprising lack of interest among Chinese writers
concerning this subject of the origin of their race, and it will be
noted in this account of Hou-chi that nothing is said about the
origin of his mother. The keen common sense of the Chinese
race, which has been one of their most prominent characteristics



in all ages, has kept them from the folly of ascribing a divine
origin to their particular race.

The historian Ssu-ma Ch’ien commences his Annals with
Huang Ti, the first of the Five Sovereigns, 2704-2595 b . c .
Some other writers go back to the earlier period of the mythical
Three Emperors, but the period in which events may be re-
garded as having historical foundations is much later even than
the time of Huang Ti. With the information which is at pres-
ent available to the world, it is not safe to place the commence-
ment of the historical period of China earlier than the fall of
the Shang dynasty, and the rise of the House of Chow, 1122 b . c .
It is better still to place the beginning of reliable history as
841 b . c ., which is the first exact date with which Ssu-ma Ch’ien
starts in the Shih Chi. At this period we are met with a civiliza-
tion already well established. The people not only were good
agriculturists, but also understood the art of writing. Such
remains as we have of an earlier time are ideographs incised on
bones or cast as inscriptions on bronze sacrificial vessels. The
amount of historical knowledge gained from these is very small
and has made little contribution to our understanding of the
early civilization of China. Their chief value has been in fur-
nishing evidence that the civilization of China as we know it
in the Chow dynasty, is a continuous development from the
early civilization of the original inhabitants of China, and that
it is not an importation from outside sources. China developed
for herself a civilization distinct from that of any other nation
of antiquity, and this civilization with many changes and wide
development has remained down to our present time. It has
had a longer continuous existence than any other that the world
has ever known.

The practice of divination and the observance of ceremonies,
family and tribal, are the two outstanding features of the ancient
civilization of China. They represent the contrasting ideals of
individualistic and of social development. The conception of



the individual, governed by his own innate sense of right and
wrong, as forming the basis of the state, is associated with the
practices of divination by means of which the immediate actions
of the individual should be determined and the results of his
actions foretold. The conception of the state, personified by its
tutelary head, as determining right or wrong for the individual,
is associated with ceremonial observances. The former system,
being individualistic, is liberal, while the latter is conservative.
The former provides for change amidst changing circumstances}
the latter contemplates rigidity based upon existing tradition.

It has been customary among Chinese writers to divide the
philosophic concepts of the nation into nine schools. These
are: (i) The School of Dualism, (2) The School of Letters,
(3) The School of Equality, (4) The School of Words, (5)
The School of Laws, (6) The School of Doctrine, (7) The
School of Agriculturists, (8) The School of Tolerance, and (9)
The Eclectic School. There is no need of following the intri-
cate philosophic distinctions of these nine schools in this present
discussion} it is sufficient to note that they can be classified under
the two general headings of Liberalism, as exemplified by Lao
Tzu, Tao Chia, and of Conservatism, as typified by Confucius,
Ju Chia. The development and tendencies of these two schools
circumscribe the entire body of Chinese thought, both ancient
and modern.

The line of demarcation between these two schools may be
illustrated by the adherence of the one to the Eight Diagrams
reputed to have been evolved by Fu Hsi from marks found on
the back of a dragon horse} and of the other to the ceremonial
Nine Tripods recognized by Confucius as the emblem of Impe-
rial authority. The Liberal School found ancient authorization
in “ The Book of Changes,” the Conservative in “ The Spring
and Autumn Annals.” The former was free to range over the
whole field of animal and plant life in search of an explanation
of man’s relation to the universe} the latter confined itself to



Volume XI



Top face of the monolith known as the “ Dragon ”
or the “ Great Turtle ” of Quirigua. This is one of
the group of stelae and “ altars ” which mark the
ceremonial courts of this vanished Maya city (see
Plate XXIII); and is perhaps the master-work
not only of Mayan, but of aboriginal American art.
The top of the stone here figured shows a highly
conventionalized daemon or dragon mask, sur-
rounded by a complication of ornament. The
north and south (here lower and upper) faces of the
monument contain representations of divinities; on
the south face is a mask of the “ god with the orna-
mented nose ” (possibly Ahpuch, the death god),
and on the north, seated within the open mouth
of the Dragon, the teeth of whose upper jaw appear
on the top face of the monument, is carved a serene,
Buddha-like divinity shown in Plate XXV. The
Maya date corresponding, probably, to 525 A. D.
appears in a glyphic inscription on the shoulder of
the Dragon. The monument is fully described by
W. H. Holmes, Art and Archaeology, Vol. IV, No. 6.


GEORGE FOOT MOORE, A.M., D.D., LL.D., Consulting Editor








> \


I l




Copyright, 1920
By Marshall Jones Company

Entered at Stationers’ Hall, London
All rights reserved

First printing, April, 1920






Jl. O' Ks O

IN aim and plan the present volume is made to accord as
nearly as may be with the earlier-written volume on the
mythology of the North American Indians. Owing to diver-
gence of the materials, some deviations of method have been
necessary, but in their main lines the two books correspond
in form as they are continuous in matter. In each case the
author has aimed primarily at a descriptive treatment, follow-
ing regional divisions, and directed to essential conceptions
rather than to exhaustive classification; and in each case it
has been, not the specialist in the field, but the scholar with kin-
dred interests and the reader of broadly humane tastes whom
the author has had before him.

The difficulties besetting the composition of both books have
been analogous, growing chiefly from the vast diversities of the
sources of material; but these difficulties are decidedly greater
for the Latin-American field. The matter of spelling is one of
the more immediate. In general, the author has endeavoured
to adhere to such of the rules given in Note i of Mythology of
All Races, Vol. X (pp. 267-68), as may be applicable, seeking
the simplest plausible English forms and continuing literary
usage wherever it is well established, both for native and for
Spanish names (as Montezuma, Cortez). Consistency is prag-
matically impossible in such a matter; but it is hoped that the
foundational need, that of identification, is not evaded.

The problem of an appropriate bibliography has proven to
be of the hardest. To the best of the author’s belief, there
exists, aside from that here given, no bibliography aiming at a
systematic classification of the sources and discussions of the
mythology of the Latin-American Indians, as a whole. There



are, indeed, a considerable number of special bibliographies,
regional in character, for which every student must be grate-
ful; and it is hoped that not many of the more important of
these have failed of inclusion in the bibliographical division
devoted to “Guides”; but for the whole field, the appended
bibliography is pioneer work, and subject to the weaknesses
of all such attempts. The principles of inclusion are: (i) All
works upon which the text of the volume directly rests. These
will be found cited in the Notes, where are also a few references
to works cited for points of an adventitious character, and
therefore not included in the general bibliography. (2) A
more liberal inclusion of English and Spanish than of works in
other languages, the one for accessibility, the other for source
importance. (3) An effort to select only such works as have
material directly pertinent to the mythology, not such as deal
with the general culture, of the peoples under consideration, —
a line most difficult to draw. In respect to bibliography, it
should be further stated that it is the intent to enter the names
of Spanish authors in the forms approved by the rules of the
Real Academia, while it has not seemed important to follow
other than the English custom in either text or notes. It is
certainly the author’s hope that the labour devoted to the
assembling of the bibliography will prove helpful to students
generally, and it is his belief that those wishing an introduction
to the more important sources for the various regions will find
of immediate help the select bibliographies given in the Notes,
for each region and chapter.

The illustrations should speak for themselves. Care has been
taken to reproduce works which are characteristic of the art
as well as of the mythic conceptions of the several peoples;
and since, in the more civilized localities, architecture also is
significantly associated with mythic elements, a certain num-
ber of pictures are of architectural subjects.

It remains to express the numerous forms of indebtedness
which pertain to a work of the present character. Where they


are a matter of authority, it is believed that the references to
the Notes will be found fully to cover them; and where illus-
trations are the subject, the derivation is indicated on the
tissues. In the way of courtesies extended, the author owes
recognition to staff-members of the libraries of Harvard
and Northwestern Universities, to the Peabody Museum,
the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the American Museum
of Natural History, and the Museum of the University of
Nebraska. His personal obligations are due to Professor
Frank S. Philbrick, of the Northwestern University Law
School, and to the Assistant Curator of the Academy of
Pacific Coast History, Dr. Herbert I. Priestley, for valuable
suggestions anent the bibliography, and to Dr. Hiram Bing-
ham, of the Yale Peruvian Expedition, for his courtesy in
furnishing for reproduction the photographs represented by
Plates XXX and XXXVIII. His obligations to the editor
of the series are, it is trusted, understood.

The manuscript of the present volume was prepared for the
printer by November of 1916. The ensuing outbreak of war
delayed publication until the present hour. In the intervening
period a number of works of some importance appeared, and
the author has endeavoured to incorporate as much as was
essential of this later criticism into the body of his work, a
matter difficult to make sure. The war also has been respon-
sible for the editor’s absence in Europe during the period in
which the book has been put through the press, and the duty
of oversight has fallen upon the author who is, therefore,
responsible for such editorial delinquencies as may be found.


Lincoln, Nebraska,

November 17, 1919.


Author’s Preface.........................................  vii

Introduction................................................ i

Chapter I. The Antilles.................................... 15

I   The Islanders................................. 15

II   The First Encounters.............................. 18

III   Zemiism.......................................... 21

IV   Taino Myths...................................... 28

V   The Areitos....................................... 32

VI   Carib Lore........................................ 36

Chapter II. Mexico......................................... 41

I   Middle America.................................... 41

II   Conquistadores.................................... 44

III   The Aztec Pantheon............................... 49

IV   The Great Gods................................... 57

1   Huitzilopochtli............................... 58

2   Tezcatlipoca................................. 61

3   Quetzalcoatl................................. 66

4   Tlaloc and Chalchiuhtlicue................... 71

V   The Powers of Life................................ 74

VI   The Powers of Death.............................. 79

Chapter III. Mexico (continued)............................ 85

I   Cosmogony......................................... 85

II   The Four Suns.................................... 91

III   The Calendar and its   Cycles...................... 96

IV   Legendary History................................105

V   Aztec Migration-Myths............................ 111

VI   Surviving Paganism................................118

Chapter IV. Yucatan........................................124

I   The Maya......................................... 124

II   Votan, Zamna, and Kukulcan.....................131

III   Yucatec Deities..................................136


IV   Rites and Symbols...............................142

V   The Maya Cycles.................................146

VI   The Creation..........•......................152

Chapter V. Central America...............................156

I   Quiche and Cakchiquel...........•............156

II   The Popul Vuh....................................159

III   The Hero Brothers...............................168

IV   The Annals of the Cakchiquel....................177

V   Honduras and Nicaragua..........................183

Chapter VI. The Andean North.............................187

I   The Cultured Peoples of the Andes...............187

II   The Isthmians....................................189

III   El Dorado.......................................194

IV   Myths of the Chibcha........................... 198

V   The Men from the Sea............................204

Chapter VII. The Andean South............................210

I   The Empire of the Incas.........................210

II   The Yunca Pantheons..............................220

III   The Myths of the Chincha........................227

IV   Viracocha and Tonapa............................232

V   The Children of the Sun.........................242

VI   Legends of the Incas............................248

Chapter VIII. The Tropical Forests: the Orinoco and


I   Lands and Peoples...............................253

II   Spirits and Shamans..............................256

III   How Evils Befell Mankind........................261

IV   Creation and Cataclysm..........................266

V   Nature and Human Nature.........................275

Chapter IX. The Tropical Forests: the Amazon and


I   The Amazons.....................................281

II   Food-Makers and Dance-Masks......................287

III   Gods, Ghosts, and Bogeys........................295

IV   Imps, Were-Beasts, and Cannibals................300

V   Sun, Moon, and Stars............................304

VI   Fire, Flood, and Transformations.............311



Chapter X. The Pampas   to the Land of Fire............316

I The Far South....................................316

II   El Chaco and the Pampeans.......................318

III   The Araucanians.................................324

IV   The Patagonians.................................331

V   The Fuegians....................................338






I The Dragon of Quirigua — Photogravure . Frontispiece
II Antillean Triangular Stone Images...... 24

III   Antillean Stone Ring........................ 28

IV   Dance in Honor of the Earth Goddess, Haiti ...   34

V   Aztec Goddess, probably Coatlicue........... 46

VI   Tutelaries of the Quarters, Codex Ferjervary-Mayer

— Coloured................................... 56

VII   Coyolxauhqui, Xochipilli, and Xiuhcoatl....... 60

VIII   Tezcatlipoca, Codex Borgia — Coloured.......... 64

IX   Quetzalcoatl, Macuilxochitl, Huitzilopochtli, Codex

Borgia — Coloured............................ 70

X   Mask of Xipe Totec............................. 76

XI   Mictlantecutli, God of Death................... 80

XII   Heavenly Bodies, Codex Vaticanus B and Codex

Borgia — Coloured............................ 88

XIII   Ends of Suns, or Ages of the World, Codex Vatica-

nus A — Coloured............................. 94

XIV   Aztec Calendar Stone..........................100

XV   Temple of Xochicalco..........................106

XVI   Section of the Tezcucan “Map Tlotzin” — Col-
oured ...............................................112

XVII   Interior of Chamber, Mitla.....................118

XVIII   Temple 3, Ruins of Tikal......................*126

XIX   Map of Yucatan Showing Location of   Maya Cities 130

XX   B as-relief Tablets, Palenque................ 136

XXI   B as-relief Lintel, Menche, Showing Priest and


XXII   “Serpent Numbers,” Codex Dresdensis   — Coloured 152

XXIII   Ceremonial Precinct, Quirigua..................160



XXIV   Image in Mouth of the Dragon of Quirigua . . .   168

XXV   Stela 12, Piedras Negras........................178

XXVI   Amulet in the Form of a Vampire................190

XXVII   Colombian Goldwork.............................196

XXVIII   Mother Goddess and Ceremonial Dish, Colombia .   200

XXIX   Vase Painting of Balsa, Truxillo................206

XXX   Machu Picchu...................................212

XXXI   Monolith, Chavin de Huantar.....................218

XXXII   Nasca Vase, Showing Multi-Headed Deity ....   222

XXXIII   Nasca Deity, in Embroidery — Coloured ....   226

XXXIV   Nasca Vase, Showing Sky Deity..................230

XXXV   Monolithic Gateway, Tiahuanaco..................234

XXXVI   Plaque, probably Representing Viracocha ....   236

XXXVII   Vase Painting from Pachacamac — Coloured . . .   240

XXXVIII   Temple of the Windows, Machu Picchu.............248

XXXIX   Carved Seats and Metate........................264

XL Vase from the Island of Marajo....................286

XLI Brazilian Dance Masks.............................294

XLII Trophy Head, from Ecuador........................304



1   Chart showing Culture Sequences in Mexico and Peru . . .   367

2   Figure from a Potsherd, Calchaqui Region............369

THERE is an element of obvious incongruity in the use
of the term “Latin American” to designate the native
Indian myths of Mexico and of Central and South America.
Unfortunately, we have no convenient geographical term
which embraces all those portions of America which fell to
Spanish and Portuguese conquerors, and in default of this,
the term designating their culture, Latin in character, has
come into use — aptly enough when its application is to
transplanted Iberian institutions and peoples, but in no
logical mode relating to the aborigines of these regions. More
than this, there are no aboriginal unities of native culture
and ideas which follow the divisions made by the several
Caucasian conquests of the Americas. It is primarily as
consequence of their conquest by Spaniards that Mexico and
Central America fall with the southern continent in our
thought; from the point of view of their primitive ethnology
there is little evidence (at least for recent times) 1 of southern
influence until Yucatan and Guatemala are passed. There
are, to be sure, striking resemblances between the Mexican
and Andean aboriginal civilizations; and there are, again,
broad similarities between the ideas and customs of the less
advanced tribes of the two continents, such that we may
correctly infer a certain racial character as typical of all Amer-
ican Indians; but amid these similarities there are grouped
differences which, as between the continents, are scarcely less
distinctive than are their fauna and flora, — say, calumet
and eagle’s plume as against blowgun and parrot’s feather, —
and these hold level for level: the Amazonian and the Inca


are as distinctively South American as the Mississippian and
the Aztec are distinctively North American.

Were the divisions in a treatment of American Indian myth
to follow the rationale of pre-Columbian ethnography,2 the
key-group would be found in the series of civilized or semi-
civilized peoples of the mainly mountainous and plateau
regions of the western continental ridge, roughly from Cancer to
Capricorn, or with outlying spurs from about 350 North
(Zuni and Hopi) to near 350 South (Calchaqui-Diaguite).
Within this region native American agriculture originated;
and along with agriculture were developed the arts of civiliza-
tion in the forms characteristic of America; while from the
several centres of the key-group agriculture and attendant
arts passed on into the plains and forests regions and the great
alluvial valleys of the two continents and into the archipelago
which lies between them. In each continent there is a region
— the Boreal and the Austral — beyond the boundaries of
the native agriculture, and untouched by the arts of the
central civilizations, yet showing an unmistakable community
of ideas, of which (primitive and vague as they are) recurrent
instances are to be found among the intervening groups. Thus
the plat and configuration of autochthonous America divides
into cultural zones that are almost those of the hemispherical
projection, and into altitudes that are curiously parallel to'
the continental altitudes: the higher civilizations of the
plateaux, the more or less barbarous cultures of the unstable
tribes of the great river basins, and the primitive development
of the wandering hordes of the frigid coasts. The primitive
stage may be assumed to be the foundational one throughout
both continents, and it is virtually repeated in the least ad-
vanced groups of all regions; the intermediate stage (except
in such enigmatical groups as that of the North-West Coast
Indians of North America) appears to owe much to definite
acculturation as a consequence of the spread of the arts and
industries developed by the most advanced peoples. More-


North American Mythology / North American Mythology
« on: July 24, 2019, 01:42:05 PM »

GEORGE FOOT MOORE, A.M., D.D., LL.D., Consulting Editor








Copyright, 1916
By Marshall Jones Company

Entered at Stationers’ Hall, London
All fights reserved

Printed April, 1916




N O one can be more keenly aware of the sketchy nature
of the study here undertaken than is the author. The
literature of the subject, already very great, is being aug-
mented at a rate hitherto unequalled; and it is needless to
say that this fact alone renders any general analysis at present
provisional. As far as possible the author has endeavoured
to confine himself to a descriptive study and to base this
study upon regional divisions. Criticism has been limited to
the indication of suggestive analogies, to summaries in the
shape of notes, and to the formulation of a general plan of
selection (indicated in the Introduction), without which no
book could be written. The time will certainly come for
a closely analytical comparative study of North American
myths, but at the present time a general description is surely
the work which is needed.

Bibliographical references have been almost entirely rele-
gated to the Notes, where the sources for each section will be
found, thus avoiding the typographical disfigurement which
footnotes entail. The plan, it is believed, will enable a ready
identification of any passage desired, and at the same time
will give a convenient key for the several treatments of related
topics. The Bibliography gives the sources upon which the text
Is chiefly based, chapter for chapter. Other references, inci-
dentally quoted, are given in the Notes. The critical reader’s
attention is called, in particular, to Note i, dealing with the
difficult question of nomenclature and spelling. The author
has made no attempt to present a complete bibliography of
American Indian mythology. For further references the litera-
ture given in the “Bibliographical Guides ” should be consulted;



important works which have appeared since the publication
of these “Guides” are, of course, duly mentioned.

For the form and spelling of the names of tribes and of
linguistic stocks the usage of the Handbook of American
Indians is followed, and the same form is used for both the
singular and for the collective plural. Mythic names of In-
dian origin are capitalized, italics being employed for a few
Indian words which are not names. The names of various
objects regarded as persons or mythic beings — sun, moon,
earth, various animals, etc. — are capitalized when the per-
sonified reference is clear; otherwise not. This rule is difficult
to maintain consistently, and the usage in the volume doubt-
less varies somewhat.

The word “corn,” occurring in proper names, must be under-
stood in its distinctively American meaning of “maize.”
Maize being the one indigenous cereal of importance in Ameri-
can ritual and myth, “Spirits of the Corn” (to use Sir J. G.
Frazer’s classic phrase) are, properly speaking, in America
“ Spirits of the Maize.” A like ambiguity attaches to “ buffalo,”
which in America is almost universally applied to the bison.

The illustrations for the volume have been selected with a
view to creating a clear impression of the art of the North
American Indians, as well as for their pertinency to mythic
ideas. This art varies in character in the several regions quite
as much as does the thought which it reflects. It is interesting
to note the variety in the treatment of similar themes or in
the construction of similar ceremonial articles; for this reason
representations of different modes of presenting like ideas
have been chosen from diverse sources: thus, the Thunderbird
conception appears in Plates III, VI, XVI, and Figure l;
the ceremonial pole in Plates XII, XVII, XXX; and masks
from widely separate areas are shown in the Frontispiece and in
Plates IV, VII, XXV, XXXI. In a few cases (as Plates II,
VIII, IX, XI, XVIII, and probably XIX) the art is modified
by white influence; in the majority of examples it is purely



aboriginal. The motives which prompt the several treatments
are interestingly various: thus, the impulse which lies behind
Plates II, VIII, IX, XVIII, XIX is purely the desire for pic-
torial illustration of a mythic story; mnemonic, historical, or
heraldic in character — prompted by the desire for record —
while the majority of the remaining examples are representa-
tions of cult-objects. Through all, however, is to be observed
the keen aesthetic instinct which is so marked a trait of North
American tribes.

The author desires to express his sense of obligation to the
editor of this series. Dr. Louis H. Gray, for numerous and
valuable emendations, and to Dr. Melvin R. Gilmore, recently
of the Nebraska State Historical Society, now Curator of the
State Historical Society of North Dakota, especially for the
materials appearing in Note 58 and Plate XIV.


Marcb 1, 1916.



Author’s Preface v

Introduction xv

Chapter L The Far North i

I Norseman and Skraeling i

II The Eskimo’s World 3

III The World-Powers 5

IV The World’s Regions 6

V The Beginnings 8

VI Life and Death * 10

CHAPtER IL The Forest Tribes

I The Forest Region

II Priest and Pagan

' III The Manitos

IV The Great Spirit

V The Frame of the World

VI The Powers Above

VII The Powers Below

VIII The Elders of the Kinds

Chapter IIL The Forest Tribes

I Iroquoian Cosmogony

II Algonquian Cosmogony

III The Deluge

IV The Slaying of the Dragon

Y The Theft of Fire


VII The Village of Souls

VIII Hiawatha

Chapter IV. The Gulf Region

I Tribes and Lands

























III The New Maize S 7

IV Cosmogonies 6o

V Animal Stories 64

VI Tricksters and Wonder-Folk 67

VII Mythic History 69

Chapter V. The Great Plains 74

I The Tribal Stocks 74

II An Athapascan Pantheon 77

III The Great Gods of the Plains 80

IV The Life of the World 82

V “Medicine” 85

Father Sun 87

VII Mother Earth and Daughter Corn 91

VIII The Morning Star 93

IX The Gods of the Elements 97

Chapter VI. The Great Plains (continued) 102

I Athapascan Cosmogonies 102

II Siouan Cosmogonies 105

III Ca.ddban Cosmogonies 107

X^JJf^-The Son of the Sun iiz.

V The Mystery of Death 115

VI Prophets and Wonder-Workers 120

VII Migration-Legends and Year-Counts 1 24

Chapter VIL Mountain and Desert 129

I The Great Divide 129

II The Gods of the Mountains 132

III The World and its Denizens 135

IV Shahaptian and Shoshonean World-Shapers .... 139

V Coyote 141

VI Spirits, Ghosts, and Bogies 145

VII Prophets and the Ghost-Dance 149

Chapter VIIL Mountain and Desert .... 154

I The Navaho and their Gods 154

II The Navaho Genesis ijg

III The Creation of the Sun 166

IV Navaho Ritual Myths igg




V Apache and PIman Mythologf 175

VI Yuman Mythology 179

Chapter IX. The Pueblo Dwellers 182

I The Pueblos 182

11 Pueblo Cosmology 185

III Gods and Katcinas 187

IV The Calendar 192

V The Great Rites and their Myths 196

VI Sia and Hopi Cosmogonies 202

VII Zuni Cosmogony 206

Chapter X. The Pacific Coast, West 212

I The California-Oregon Tribes 212

II Religion and Ceremonies 215

III The Creator 217

IV Cataclysms 221

V The First People 225

VI Fire and Light 230

VII Death and the Ghost-World 233

Chapter XL The Pacific Coast, North 237

I Peoples of the North-West Coast 237

II Totemism and Totemic Spirits 240

III Secret Societies and their Tutelaries 245

IV The World and its Rulers 249

V The Sun and the Moon 254

VI The Raven Cycle 258

VII Souls and their Powers 262

Notes 267

Bibliography 315



plate facing page

I Zuni masks for ceremonial dances — Coloured Fro^itispiece

II Encounter of Eskimo and Kablunait 2

III Harpoon-rest with sketch of a mythic bird capturing a

whale 8

III Dancing gorget 8

IV Ceremonial mask of the Iroquois Indians 14

V Chippewa pictograph — Coloured 18

VI Ojibway (Chippewa) quill-work pouch 22

VII Seneca mask 26

VIII Iroquois drawing of a Great Head — Coloured ... 30

IX Iroquois drawing of Stone Giants — Coloured ... 38

X Onondaga wampum belt 44

XI Iroquois drawing of Atotarho — Coloured 52

XII Florida Indians offering a stag to the Sun 56

XIII Fluman figure in stone 62

XIV Sacrifice to the Morning Star, pencil sketch by Charles

Knifechief 76

XV Portrait of Tahirussawichi, a Pawnee priest — ^Col-
oured 80

XVI Thunderbird fetish 84

XVII Sioux drawing — Coloured 90

XVIII Kiowa drawing — Coloured 112

XIX Cheyenne drawing 124

XX Kiowa calendar 128

XXI Ghost-Dance, painted on buckskin — Coloured . . 150

XXII Navaho gods, from a dry- or sand-painting — Col-
oured 156

XXIir Navaho dry- or sand-painting connected with the

Night Chant ceremony — Coloured. ....... 170



plate facing page

XXIV Apache medicine-shirt — Coloured 178

XXV Zuhi masks for ceremonial dances — Coloured ... 188

XXVI Wall decoration in the room of a Rain Priest, Zuni . 192

XXVII Altar of the Antelope Priests of the Hopi — Coloured 200

XXVIII Maidu image for a woman 216

XXIX Maidu image for a man 216

XXX Frame of Haida house with totem-pole 240

XXXI Kwakiutl ceremonial masks — Coloured 246

XXXII Haida crests, from tatu designs 256

XXXIII Chilkat blanket — Coloured 260



1 Birdlike deity 71

2 Map of the world as drawn by a Thompson River Indian 148



Map of the Linguistic Stocks of North America — Coloured • . 326


I F the term be understood as signifying a systematic and
conscious arrangement of mythic characters and events,
it is certainly a misnomer to speak of the stories of the
North American Indians as “mythology.” To be sure, cer-
tain tribes and groups (as the Iroquois, the Pawnee, the Zuni,
the Bella Coola, to mention widely separate examples) have
attained to something like consistency and uniformity in
their mythic beliefs (and it is significant that in just these
groups the process of anthropomorphization has gone farthest);
but nowhere on the continent can we find anything like the
sense for system which in the Old World is in part evidenced
and in part introduced by the epic literatures — Aryan,
Babylonian, Greek, Norse.

Mythology in the classic acceptation, therefore, can scarcely
be said to exist in North America; but in quite another sense
— belief in more or less clearly personified nature-powers and
the possession of stories narrating the deeds and adventures
of these persons — the Indians own, not one, but many
mythologies; for every tribe, and often, within the tribe, each
clan and society, has its individual mythic lore. Here again
the statement needs qualifying. Beliefs vary from tribe to
tribe, even from clan to clan, and yet throughout, if one’s
attention be broadly directed, there are fundamental similari-
ties and uniformities that afford a basis for a kind of critical
reconstruction of a North American Indian mythology. No
single tribe and no group of tribes has completely expressed
this mythology — much less has any realized its form; but the
student of Indian lore can scarcely fail to become conscious of
a coherent system of myths, of which the Indians themselves



might have become aware in course of time, if the intervention
of Old-World ideas had not confused them.

A number of distinctions are the necessary introduction to
any study of Indian myth. In the first place, in America, no
more than in the Old World, are we to identify religion with
mythology. The two are intimately related; every mythology
is in some degree an effort to define a religion; and yet there is
no profound parallelism between god and hero, no immutable
relation between religious ceremony and mythic tale, even
when the tale be told to explain the ceremony. No illustra-
tion could be better than is afforded by the fact that the great-
est of Indian mythic heroes, the Trickster-Transformer, now
Hare, now Coyote, now Raven, is nowhere important in ritual ;
while the powers which evoke the Indian’s deepest veneration.
Father Sky and Mother Earth, are of rare appearance in the

The Indian’s religion must be studied in his rites rather than
in his myths; and it may be worth while here to designate the
most significant and general of these rites. Foremost is the
calumet ceremony, in which smoke-offering is made to the sky,
the earth, and the rulers of earth’s quarters, constituting a kind
of ritualistic definition of the Indian’s cosmos. Hardly second
to this is the rite of the sweat-bath, which is not merely a means
of healing disease, but a prayer for strength and purification
addressed to the elements — earth, fire, water, air, in which
resides the life-giving power of the universe. Third in order
are ceremonies, such as fasting and vigil, for the purpose of
inducing visions that shall direct the way of life; for among the
Indian’s deepest convictions is his belief that the whole en-
vironment of physical life is one of strength-imbuing powers
only thinly veiled from sight and touch. Shamanistic or me-
diumistic rites, resting upon belief in the power of unseen
beings to possess and inspire the mortal body, form a fourth
group of ceremonies. A fifth is composed of the great com-
munal ceremonies, commonly called “dances” by white men.

introduction xvii

These arc<ahnosl invariably in the fonai of dramatic prayers -
combinations ot sacnhcc, song, and symbolic personation —
addressed tc' the great nature-powers, to sun and earth, to the
rain-bringers, and to tlic givers of food and game. A final
group is formed of rites honour of the dead or of ancestral
tutelari<-s, eereinomes usually annual and varying in purpose
from solicitude bn- the welfare of the departed to desire for
their assistance aitd propitiation of their possible ill will.

In these rituals are defined the essential beings of the In-
dian s pagan religion. There is the Great Spirit, represented
by Father Sky or by the sky’s great incarnation, the Sun
Father. Ihcic are Mother Earth and her daughter, the Corn
Mother. 1 here arc the intermediaries between the powers be-
low and those above, iitcluding the birds and the great mythic
Thunderbird, the winds and the clouds and the celestial bodies.
There are the Elders, or Guardians, of the animal kinds, who
replenish the earth with game and come as helpers to the hunts-
men; and llicre is the vast congeries of things potent, belong-
ing both to the seen and to the unseen world, whose help may
be won in the form of “medicine” by the man who knows the
usages of Nature.

Inevitably these powers find a fluctuating representation in
the varying imagery of myth. Consistency is not demanded,
for the Indian’s mode of thought is too deeply symbolic for
him to regard his own stories as literal: they are neither alle-
gory nor history; they are myth, with a truth midway between
that of allegory and that of history. Myth can properly be
defined only with reference to its sources and motives. Now
the motives of Indian stories are in general not difficult to
determine. The vast majority are obviously told for enter-
tainment; they represent an art, the art of fiction; and they
fall into the classes of fiction, satire and humour, romance,
adventure. Again, not a few are moral allegories, or they are
fables with obvious lessons, such as often appear in the story
of the theft of fire when it details the kinds of wood from which

X — ' .



fire can best be kindled. A third naotive is our universally
human curiosity: we desire to know the causes of things,
whether they be the forces that underlie recurrent phenomena
or the seeming purposes that mark the beginnings and govern
the course of history. Myths that detail causes are science in
infancy, and they are perhaps the only stories that may
properly be called myths. They may be simply fanciful ex-
planations of the origin of animal traits — telling why the
dog’s nose is cold or why the robin’s breast is red; and then we
have the beast fable. They may be no less fanciful accounts of
the institution of some rite or custom whose sanction is deeper
than reason; and we have the so-called aetiological myth.
They may be semi-historical reminiscences of the inauguration
of new ways of life, of the conquest of fire or the introduc-
tion of maize by mythical wise men; or they may portray re-
coverable tribal histories through the distorted perspective of
legend. In the most significant group of all, they seek to con-
ceptualize the beginnings of all things in those cosmogonic
allegories of which the nebular hypothesis is only the most
recently outgrown example.

Stories which satisfy curiosity about causes are true myths.
With this criterion it should perhaps seem an easy task for the
student to separate mythology from fiction, and to select or
reject from his materials. But the thing is not so simple.
Human motives, in whatever grade of society, are seldom un-
mixed; it is much easier to analyze them in kind than to
distinguish them in example. Take such a theme as the well-
nigh universally North American account of the origin of
death. On the face of it, it is a causal explanation; but in very
many examples it is a moral tale, while in not a few instances
both the scientific and the moral interest disappear before the
aesthetic. In a Wikeno story death came into the world by the
will of a little bird, — “How should I nest me in your warm
graves if ye men live forever?” — and however grim the fancy,
it is difficult to see anything but art in its motive; but in the

Oceanic Mythology / Oceanic Mythology
« on: July 23, 2019, 08:09:32 PM »

IX. Oceanic, by R.B. Dixon. 1916.--


Volume IX


Image' of Kuila-moku, one of the Hawaiian patron
deities of medicine. Prayers and offerings were made
to him by the Kahunas, or shamans, when trying to cure
patients. Peabody Museum, Salem, Massachusetts,



GEORGE FOOT MOORE^ A.M., D.D,, LL.D,, Consulting Editor








Copyright, 1916
By Marshall Jones Company

Entered at Stationers’ Hall, London

All rights reserved

Printed September, 1916

Aco» , A





r j the following pages we shall seek to present an outline of
the mythology of the Oceanic peoples. Although certain
aspects of the mythic system of this area, as well as the myths
of separate portions of it, have been treated by others, the
present writer does not know of any recent endeavour to gather
all available materials from the whole region, or to discuss the
relationship of the mythologies of the various portions of
Oceania to one another, and to the adj acent lands. The attempt
has been made to go over all the myths of worth which have
been published; but it is not impossible that valuable and im-
portant material has been overlooked. Some omissions, how-
ever, have been due to circumstances beyond control. A num-
ber of volumes containing material, probably of considerable
value, were not to be found in the' libraries of the United States,
and disturbances consequent upfen- the' European War have
made it impossible to secure them; while other gaps are due
to the author’s insufficient knowledge of Malay languages,
which prevented the use of some collections of tales, published
without translations.

The selection of the legends to be presented has offered con-
siderable difficulty, this being especially marked in the class of
what may be denominated, for convenience, miscellaneous
tales. No two persons would probably make the same choice,
but it is believed that those which are here given serve as a
fair sample of the various types and include those which are
of widest interest and distribution. In the majority of cases
the tales have been retold in our own words. For strictly
scientific purposes exact reproductions of the originals would,
of course, be required; but the general purpose of this series.




and the limitations of space, have made this method impossi-
ble. References have in every case, however, been given; so
that those who wish to consult the fuller or original forms of
the tales can do so easily. These references, and all notes, have
been put into an Appendix at the end of the volume, thus
leaving the pages unencumbered for those who wish only to
get a general idea of the subject. The Bibliography has, with
few exceptions, been restricted to the titles of original pub-
lications; reprints and popular and semi-popular articles and
volumes have been omitted. Every care has been taken to
make the large number of references correct, though it is too
much to hope that errors have not crept in.

In the brief discussions at the end of each section, and again
at the end of the volume, we have sought to draw conclusions in
regard to the probable origin of some of the myths and to point
out the evidences of transmission and historical contact which
they show. Merely to present the tales without offering any
suggestions as to how they had come to be what they are and
where they are, seemed to fail of attaining the full purpose of
this series. No one is more conscious than the author that the
hypotheses offered will not meet with universal acceptance;
that they rest, in many cases, upon uncertain foundations;
and that, plausible as they may look today, they may be funda-
mentally modified by new material and further study. Should
this essay only serve to stimulate interest in this field, and lead
to greater activity in gathering new material while yet there
is time, he will be quite content.


Harvard University, June I, 1916.



Autho3r.’s Preface v

Introduction xi

Part I. Polynesia i

Chapter I Myths of Origins and the Deluge 4

II The Maui Cycle \ , 41

III Miscellaneous Tales . 57

IV Summary 92

Part IL Melanesia loi

Chapter I Myths of Origins and the Deluge 105

II Culture Hero Tales 122

III Miscellaneous Tales 130

IV Summary 148

Part IIL Indonesia 151

Chapter I Myths of Origins and the Deluge 155

II Trickster Tales 186

III Miscellaneous Tales 206

IV Summary 240

Part IV. Micronesia 245

Chapter I Myths of Origins and the Deluge 248

II Miscellaneous Tales 258

III Summary 263

Part V. Australia 265

Chapter I Myths of Origins and the Deluge . 270

II Animal and Miscellaneous Tales . 288

III Summary . 301

Conclusion . . ...... . . . . . ... . .304

Notes . . ... . . ... 309

B.IBLIOGRAPHY' . " . . .. ' .. ; . ?" ^ .. .. ,. 345




I Image of Kuila-Moku, Hawaii — "PhLOtogtSiVViXt Frontispiece
II Wooden Figure of Tangaroa Upao Vahu, Austral Island 5

III Carved Club Head, Marquesas Islands 10

IV Wooden Figure of Taria-Nui, Rarotonga, Cook Islands 18

V Carved End of Wooden Staff, Cook Islands ..... 26

VI ^^Hei-Tiki,” Jadeite Amulet, New Zealand — Coloured 37

VII Carved Wooden Figure, New Zealand 48

VIII Carved Wooden Panel, Mythological Subjects, New

Zealand 58

IX Mythical Animal, Carved from Drift-Wood, Easter

Island 69

X Tapa Figure, Easter Island — Coloured 76

XI Monolithic Ancestral Image, Easter Island 88

XII Wood Carving, New Ireland — Coloured 105

XIII Mask from Elema, British New Guinea — Coloured . 117

XIV Ancestral Mask Made of a Skull, New Hebrides —

Coloured 125

XV Wooden Dance-Mask, New Ireland — Coloured . . . 138

XVI Wooden Ghost-Mask, Borneo — Coloured 158

XVII Image of Bugan, the Sister-Wife of Wigan, Philippine

Islands 171

XVIII Dyak Drawing on Bamboo, Borneo 183

XIX Ifugao Ancestral Image, Philippine Islands 199

XX Wooden Ancestral Image, Nias Island 220

XXI A. Native Carving Representing Mythological Sub-

jects, Pelew Islands 250

B. Native Carving Representing Mythological Sub-
jects, Pelew Islands. . . 250

XXII Aborigmal Drawing of Totemic Being, Australia . . . 271

XXIII Native Drawing of an Evil Spirit, called Auuenau,

? Australia . . . . . . . . '. . . 285



XXIV Wurruna Spearing EmuSj Aboriginal Drawing, Aus-
tralia . 295



1 Native Drawing of a Sea-Spirit 135

2 Native Drawing of a ^^Dogaiy^^ or Female Bogey .... 142

3 Native Drawing of a ^^Bunyip^^ 280



Oceania . 364


T he myths and tales in this volume have been gathered
from all parts of Oceania, and it may be wise, therefore,
at the outset to indicate just what area is included in our sur-
vey; to sketch very briefly the character of the peoples and
the environment in which they live; and to state the general
plan and purpose of the book.

The use of the term Oceania is, and has been, rather variable.
By some it is taken to include only the smaller islands of the
Pacific Ocean, comprised for the most part within the limits
of Polynesia and Micronesia, while others extend the applica-
tion of the term so as to include also Melanesia as well as the
whole group of the East Indies. In the present case it is this
latter usage which is followed, and the great island-continent
of Australia, together with its appendage of Tasmania, is fur-
ther added. Thus by Oceania will be meant all island areas,
great or small, from Easter Island to Sumatra and from
Hawaii to New Zealand.

This great region may, for our purposes, be conveniently
divided into five sections: (l) Polynesia, which may be roughly
defined as including all the islands lying east of the 180th me-
ridian, together with New Zealand; (2) Melanesia, comprising
the huge island of New Guinea, together with all the islands
and archipelagos extending therefrom to the east and south-
east as far as Fiji and New Caledonia; (3) Indonesia, which
includes all the islands often spoken of as the East Indies, and
extends from the Moluccas on the east to Sumatra on the west,
and from Java and Timor in the south to the northern ex-
tremity of the Philippines; (4) Micronesia, composed, as its
name implies, mainly of small islands, and occupying the area



north of Melanesia and east of the 130th meridian of east longi-
tude; and lastly (5), but by no means least in importance,
Australia, together with Tasmania.

As compared with all the other great divisions of the world,
Oceania is unique in that, if we exclude Australia (which, al-
though an island, is so enormous in size as to lose all insular
characteristics), it is composed wholly of islands. These vary
in size from mere reefs or islets, only a mile or so in diameter,
to great land masses, like New Zealand or Borneo, whose
areas are to be measured by hundreds of thousands of square
miles. Some are low coral atolls elevated only a few feet above
the surface of the sea; others are volcanic and mountainous,
their summits rising into the realms of perpetual snow. Al-
though the greater part of Oceania lies within the tropics and
has the usual features of tropical environment in the way of
climate, flora, and fauna, it extends here and there far into the
temperate zone, and the snowy New Zealand Alps, with their
huge glaciers, suggest Switzerland and Norway rather than
anything else. In New Guinea, Borneo, and (to a less degree)
in a few other islands the same great contrast in environment
is produced by elevation alone, and one may thus pass from
the barren peaks and snows of the highest ranges down through
all the intermediate stages to the hot tropical jungle and fever-
laden swamps of the coasts. Australia, in its vast expanses of
terrible deserts, again presents a striking contrast to the other
parts of the area, although one of a different sort.

The native peoples of the Oceanic area are almost as varied
as are its natural features and environment. Some, like the
recently discovered New Guinea pygmies or the now extinct
Tasmanians, serve as examples of the lowest stages known in
human culture. With their black skins, ugly faces, and short
woolly hair they are in striking contrast to the often little more
than brunette Polynesians, with their voluptuously beautiful
forms and faces and long, wavy hair, or to the lithe, keen-faced,
straight-haired Malay, both of whom attained to no mean



development on the material as well as on the Intellectual
side of their respective cultures.

The origiuj evolution, and affiliation of the various peoples
of Oceania is a problem whose complexity becomes more and
more apparent with increasing knowledge. While anthropol-
ogists are still far from satisfactorily explaining these matters,
it is patent to all that the ethnic history of the region involves
the recognition of a series of waves of migration from the west-
ward, each spreading itself more or less completely over its
predecessors, modifying them, and In turn modified by them,
until the result is a complex web, the unravelling of which leads
us inevitably back to the Asiatic mainland. It is obvious that,
while migrations on land are not necessarily conditioned by
the stage of culture of a people, in an island area, especially
where the islands are separated by wide stretches of ocean,
movement is Impossible, or at least very difficult, for peoples
who have attained only the rudiments of the art of seaman-
ship. A glance at the map will show that, so far as Indonesia,
much of Melanesia, and Australia are concerned, the diffi-
culties in the way of the migration of a primitive people are
far less than in the case of Micronesia and Polynesia. In the
former areas, indeed, some land masses now separated were In
comparatively recent times joined together, so that migrations
were then possible which now would be difficult for a people
without knowledge of any means of navigation; but to reach
the widely separated Islands farther out in the Pacific would
have been impossible to those unprovided with adequate
vessels and skill to use them. Thus we are forced to assume
that It was not until man had attained a considerably higher
development than that shown by the Tasmanians or Austra-
lians that these outlying and isolated parts of the Oceanic
area could have been inhabited. It is indeed probable that
they were, of all the occupied portions of the globe, the last
to be settled.

From what has been said it may be seen how fertile and



fascinating a field Oceania presents to the student of anthro-
pology. In the following pages we are concerned, however, with
one aspect only of the whole complex of human culture, namely,
mythology. In order to make clear the differences between
the various portions of the area, each of the five subdivisions
will be considered by itself alone, and also in its relation to the
others, while, in conclusion, an attempt will be made to sum up
these results and to point out their wider bearings. Through-
out the purpose has been, not only to sketch the more im-
portant types of myths, but to draw attention to resemblances
and similarities between the myth-incidents of one area and
another. In the present state of our knowledge the conclu-
sions which are drawn are, it cannot be too strongly empha-
sized, only tentative — they must stand or fall according as
they are substantiated or disproved by further material, both
mythological and other.

A word may be said In regard to the method of treatment
and point of view here adopted. In indicating similarities
and suggesting possible relationships, individual incidents in
myths have been largely taken as the basis. The author is
well aware how easily such a method may lead to wild and im-
possible conclusions; the literature of mythology and folk-lore
affords only too many examples of such amazing discoveries;
but where caution is observed, and due regard is paid to known
or probable historical associations, the evidence to be derived
from a study of the distribution of myth-incidents is often re-
liable and corroborated by collateral information derived from
other fields. It should also be pointed out that in the follow-
ing pages we have endeavoured to present only the myths them-
selves, and have purposely refrained from all attempts at
rationalizing them or explaining this as a lunar, that as a solar,
myth. Such attempts are, we believe, almost wholly futile in
the present state of our knowledge of Oceanic mythology,
culture, and history. A dextrous imagination can evolve either
a lunar or a solar explanation for any myth, and one needs to



have but little personal experience with native peoples to
realize how hopeless it is for the civilized inquirer to predicate
what the symbolism of anything really is to the native mind.
The study of mythology has, in the last few years, also demon-
strated to what a degree all myths are in a state of flux, new
elements and incidents being borrowed and incorporated into
old tales and modified to accord with local beliefs and predis-
positions. Thus, what starts out, perhaps, as a solar incident
may come to be embodied in another myth of quite different
origin, and in so doing may wholly lose its former significance;
or an entire myth, originally accounting for one thing, may
become so modified by transmission that its first meaning
becomes lost.

Lastly, we may again point out that at present the available
material is still so imperfect that all conclusions must be ac-
cepted with reserve. Not only are there large areas from which
no data whatever have been collected (and even some from
which, owing either to the extinction of the population or their
greatly changed manner of life, none can ever be obtained),
but very little, comparatively, of what has been gathered has
been recorded in the language of the people themselves. Mis-
understandings, conscious or unconscious colouring of state-
ments to accord with preconceived ideas of what the people
ought to think, statements made by natives who obligingly tell
the investigator just what they think he wants to hear — these
and other sources of error must be eliminated so far as possible
before we can be sure of our ground. In spite of all this, how-
ever, it is worth while to take account of stock, as it were, and
to see, as well as we can, where we stand. By so doing we may
at least recognize the gaps in our knowledge and be spurred
on to try to fill them while yet there is time.







T hat portion of Oceania whose mytholog7 is both most
widely known and to which reference is most frequently
made is undoubtedly Polynesia. One of the chief reasons for
this lies in the character of the legends themselves, for they
are both pleasing and in many respects unusual. We may
well begin then with Polynesia in presenting an outline of
Oceanic mythology.

The people of these Happy Isles have, from the beginning,
been of great interest to anthropologists; but although much
has been learned regarding them, the problems of their origin
and ethnic history are still far from being settled. Most stu-
dents of the subject, however, are now agreed that in the
Polynesians we must see a somewhat complex blending of
several waves of immigration, bringing relatively fair-skinned
peoples from the Indonesian area (or perhaps from still far-
ther west) eastward through Melanesia into the Pacific. That
there have been at least two, and probably more, such great
waves, and that these have in varying degree mixed with the
dark-skinned people of Melanesia in transit, seems clear; but
whether other racial elements also enter into the question is
not yet certain. Although older and younger waves are prob-
ably represented in all the island-groups of Polynesia, the
oldest seems especially noticeable in two of the most outlying
portions of the whole region, i. e. New Zealand and Hawaii.
The detailed study of the spread of these waves can as yet
however be said only to have begun.

African Mythology / African Mythology
« on: July 13, 2019, 04:38:53 PM »




Sometime Scholar and Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge
Professor of Swahili and Bantu Languages, University of London


To E. T. C. W.


Go, little Book, and pass to Kambalu

Greet him who dwells beside the Peaceful Gate,

Hard by the sheep-mart, in the ancient town.

May Peace be his, and happy springs renew
Earth’s beauty, marred by foolish strife and hate: —
On his fair garth sweet dews glide gently down.

He loves the ancient lore of Chou and Han
And eke the science of the farthest West;

High thought he broods on ever — yet maybe
He will not grudge an idle hour, to scan
These childlike dreams — these gropings for the Best
Of simple men beyond the Indian sea.


HERE may perhaps be an impression in the minds of

most readers that Africa, with its practically unwritten
languages and comparatively undeveloped religious ideas, can
have little or nothing which can properly be described as myth-
ology, or at any rate that the existing material is too scanty to
justify a volume on the subject.

I must confess that, until I actually undertook the work, I
had no conception of the enormous amount of material that
is in fact available — a great deal of it in German periodicals
not always readily accessible. The limitations of time, space,
and human faculties have prevented my making full use of
these materials: I can only hope to supply clues which other in-
vestigators may follow up if I cannot do so. I intend, however,
should I live long enough, to work out in detail some of the
subjects here presented in a very imperfect sketch — for in-
stance, the distribution of the Chameleon-myth in Africa;
the “ Exchanges ” story (fresh material having come to
hand since I wrote the article in the African Monthly , 1911)5
the Swallower-myth as exemplified in Kholumolumo of
the Basuto and its various African modifications; and several

I have not attempted to state any theories or to work out
comparisons with any folklore outside Africa, though here
and there obvious parallels have suggested themselves. Any
approaches to theorising — such as the occasional protests I
have felt compelled to make against the assumption that simi-
larity necessarily implies borrowing — must be regarded as
merely tentative.



Since completing the chapter on the “ Origin of Death,”
I have found among my papers a Duruma Chameleon-story
(kindly supplied to me in MS., with interlinear translations
into Swahili, by Mr. A. C. Hollis), which is so interesting that
I may perhaps be excused for inserting it here. The Duruma
are one of the so-called “ Nyika ” tribes living inland
from Mombasa, neighboured on the east by the Rabai and
on the southwest (more or less) by the Digo: they have not
been very fully studied up to the present. The legend is as

When man was first made, the Chameleon and the Lizard
(dzonzoko or gae — called in the Swahili translation mjusika-
firi ) were asked their views about his ultimate fate. The Cha-
meleon answered : “ I should like all the people to live and not
to die,” while the dzonzoko said: “ I wish all people to die.”
The matter was settled by the two running a race, a stool ( chin )
being set up as the goal; the one who reached it first was to have
his desire granted. As might be expected, the Lizard won, and
ever since, the Chameleon walks slowly and softly, grieving
because he could not save men from death.

The mention of the stool is curious, because it affords a point
of contact with a Chameleon-story of a widely different type,
current both in East and West Africa, but hitherto, so far as I
am aware, not much noticed by folklorists. It seems to be an
independent form of the idea contained in the well-known
Hare and Tortoise race. Pre-eminence among the animals is
to be decided by a race to a stool (the chief’s seat of honour) :
the Dog thinks he has won, but the Chameleon gets in first by
clinging to his tail and leaping in front of him at the last mo-
ment. Of course this folklore tale has, so far as one can see,
nothing to do with the older myth.

The author desires to express her most cordial thanks to all
who have contributed to the embellishment of this volume:
in the first place to Miss Alice Woodward for her beautiful



drawings ; then to Messrs. E. Torday, P. Amaury Talbot, and
F. W. H. Migeod, for the use of original photographs 5 and to
the Clarendon Press for permitting the reproduction of plates
from Bushman Paintings copied by Miss M. H. Tongue.


School of Oriental Studies
London, January 23, 1922


T O TREAT the mythology of a whole continent is a task
not to be lightly undertaken. In the case of Africa,
however, there are certain features which make the enterprise
less formidable than it would be if directed elsewhere. The
uniformity of Africa has become a commonplace with some
writers; and, indeed, when we compare its almost unbroken
coast-line and huge, undifferentiated tracts of plain or table-
land, with Europe and Asia, we cannot picture it as divided into
countries occupied by separate nations. This feeling is intensi-
fied, if we confine our view to Africa south of the Sahara, as we
shall practically have to do for the purposes of this book, which
omits from consideration both Egypt and (except for incidental
references) the Islamised culture of the Barbary States.
Broadly speaking, the whole of this area (which we might de-
scribe as a triangle surmounted by the irregular band extending
from Cape Verde to Cape Guardafui) is occupied by the black
race, and as, to the casual European, all black faces are as much
alike as the faces of a flock of sheep, it is a natural infer-
ence that their characters are the same. The shepherd, of
course, knows better; so does the white man who has lived long
enough among “ black ” people (comparatively few are black
in the literal sense) to discriminate between the individual and
the type . 1 But, in any case, the inhabitants, even of the limited
Africa we are taking for our province, are not all of one kind.
We have not only the black Africans, but the tall, light-com-
plexioned Galla, Somali, and Fula, with their Hamitic speech,
the Hottentots, whose Hamitic affinities, suspected by Moffat,
have been strikingly demonstrated in recent years, the little



yellow Bushmen, who are probably responsible for the non-
Hamitic elements in the Hottentots, and others. Moreover,
there is a very distinct cleavage of speech — though not, per-
haps, of race, among the black Africans themselves: between
the monosyllabic, uninflected languages of the Gold Coast and
the upper Nile, and the symmetrically-developed grammati-
cal structure of the Bantu tongues. And, even taking the
Bantu by themselves, we may expect to find great local differ-
ences. As the late Heli Chatelain remarked, speaking of a
writer who has not greatly advanced the cause of research:
“ The material on which he worked consisted of but a few
volumes on South African tribes, and he often fell into the
common error of predicating of the whole race, the Bantu, and
even of all Africans, what he had found to hold true in several
South African tribes. To this habit of unwarranted generali-
sation must be attributed, very largely, the distressing inaccu-
racy and the contradictory statements with which books and
articles on Africa are replete.” 2

At the same time, a study of African folk-lore extending
over many years has gradually produced the conviction that
both sections of the African race, the Bantu-speaking and the
Sudanic, have many ideas, customs and beliefs in common.
Some of these may be due to independent development , 3 others
to recent borrowing, but there is a great deal which, I feel
certain, can only be accounted for by some original community
of thought and practice. This will appear, over and over again,
in connection with various stories which we shall have to dis-
cuss. But this is not all. We shall find that both Negro and
Bantu have some elements in common with Galla, Masai, and
other Hamitic or quasi-Hamitic peoples (I here leave out
of account matter demonstrably introduced by Arabs or Euro-
peans at a more recent date) ; and some very interesting prob-
lems of diffusion are connected with tales originating, perhaps,
in the Mediterranean basin and carried to the extreme south of



the continent by the nomad herdsmen whom Van Riebeek
found in possession at the Cape of Good Hope. The Hausa,
whose linguistic and racial affinities have long been a puzzle,
have evidently been influenced from both sides — the black
aboriginal tribes from whom they are in great part descended,
and the pastoral Hamitic immigrants.

Here let me remark in passing that I use the word “ aborig-
inal ” in a purely relative sense and without intending to ex-
press any opinion on this point. Neither shall I attempt to deal
with the vexed question of race. What really constitutes
“ race ” is by no means clear to me, nor, I imagine, can the ex-
perts agree on a definition. Whether there is any real distinc-
tion of race between Bantu-speaking and other (Sudanic)
Negroes , 4 I very much doubt, and, in any case, the problem;
lies outside our present scope.

As suggesting a common fund of primitive ideas in widely
separated parts of the continent, let us take the case of the
Zulu word inkata and the thing denoted by it. The word is
also found in Nyanja as nkata , in Swahili khata (with aspir-
ated k ), in Chwana as khare (kx#re), in Herero as ongata ,
and in similar or cognate forms elsewhere. Its original
meaning seems to be a “ coil ” or “ twist but it generally
stands for the twisted pad of grass or leaves used by people
who carry heavy loads on the head. But the Zulu inkata
has another and more recondite meaning. The inkata yezwe
( u coil of the country ”) or inkata yomuzi (“ coil of the
clan ”) is both “ a symbol of unity and federation of the
people ” 6 and an actual talisman to ensure the same, together
with the personal safety of the chief. It is a large twist or
cushion of grass, impregnated with powerful u medicines ”
and made with special ceremonies by professional “ doctors ”
( izinnyanga ), on which the chief, at his installation, has to
stand. At other times it is kept, carefully hidden from view,
in the hut of the chief wife. I do not know whether the inkata

; ir: : . ... ; i

: : ? [ ' ; • ? Ti<! il l A

1 it. ' -


A Somali, member of a typically Hamitic tribe,
who inhabit the “ Eastern Horn of Africa.” After
a photograph by Dr. Aders.



has everywhere the same ritual significance: I strongly suspect
that, where such is not recorded, it has either become obsolete
or escaped the notice of inquirers, as — belonging to the most
intimate and sacred customs of the people — it would be quite
likely to do. But, in Uganda, enkata means, not only the
porter’s head-pad, but the topmost of the grass rings forming
the framework of the house and supporting the thatch. This
“ was of equal importance with the foundation of a brick
house,” 6 and, in building the house of the King’s first wife —
the Kadulubare — had to be put in position with special cere-
monies. Now, we find that, on the Gold Coast, where the
head-pad is called ekar in Twi, it has some ritual connection
with the succession to the chieftainship, while it (or something
representing it) figures in some curious magical ceremonies of
the Ibibio (Calabar), described by the late Mrs. Amaury
Talbot . 7

Some other facts, interesting in this connection, will come in
more fittingly when considering the numerous animal-stories
of the “ Uncle Remus ” type, which are found in these areas.

Whether one studies Africa geographically, ethnologically,
or psychologically, one feels the absence of definite frontiers
more and more acutely as one goes on. We can recognize
Abyssinia or Basutoland as a separate country, just like Switzer-
land or Denmark; but such cases are infrequent, and this ap-
plies even more strongly to thought, belief and custom, than to
physical configuration. Hence I have been forced to give up
as hopeless the geographical or “ regional ” treatment of the
subject, and shall attempt, instead, to trace a few main groups
and ideas through the different strata of which the African
population is made up.

It will make clearer what I have been trying to say, if we
picture these strata, not as regular, superimposed beds of hard
stone, but as composed of different coloured sands, spread in
successive layers, some of each penetrating those below

1 12


and the lighter particles of the lower beds working up
into the higher at every jar or disturbance. And here we come
back to our starting-point. With all the diversity to be found
in Africa, on which, as we have seen, it is necessary to insist,
there is some indefinable quality inherent in the whole of it, as
though the continent imparted its own colour and flavor to
whatever enters it from the outside. The white man who has
grown up among the Zulus very quickly feels at home with
Yaos or Giryama, though he may know nothing of their lan-
guage j and there is always a certain community of feeling be-
tween “ old Africans,” in whatever part of the continent their
experiences may have lain.

Without wasting time in speculation on the past, we may
now briefly survey the state of things as known at present.
In the main, the area we have mapped out, from the Cape of
Good Hope to Lake Victoria, and thence eastward to the Tana
River and westward to the Cameroons, is occupied by Bantu-
speaking tribes. North of these, the peoples of “ Negro,”
“ Sudanic,” or “ Nigritian ” speech extend in an irregular
band from Cape Verde to the confines of Abyssinia, even to
some extent penetrating the latter. The “ Eastern Horn,”
which ends in Cape Guardafui, is inhabited by the Hamitic
Somali, while their kinsmen the Galla, and other tribes, prob-
ably more or less allied to them (Samburu, Rendile, Turkana,
Nandi), spread out to the north, west, and south, their fringes
touching on the areas of Bantu and Negro tribes — Pokomo,
Kikuyu, Kavirondo, and others.

But these areas are not completely uniform. In South
Africa we have two non-Bantu elements, though both are now
almost negligible except within a very limited area. The
Bushmen, who would seem to have been the oldest inhabitants,
are now practically confined to the Kalahari Desert and the ad-
jacent regions, though a few fwho have quite lost all memory
of their own language and traditions) are to be found scattered



about the Cape Province and Orange Free State. If they are
the Troglodytes alluded to by Herodotus, whose speech was
“ like the squeaking of bats,” they must either have at one time
overspread the greater part of the continent, or migrated
southward from the Sahara within historic times. The
wretched Troglodytes were hunted with chariots by the Gara-
mantes, and I remember being told of a Natal farmer (by one
of his own relatives) that he used to talk cheerfully of having
shot a Bushman or two before breakfast. Here is at least one
additional point of resemblance.

The treatment of the South African Bushmen by the colo-
nists is one of the most disgraceful pages in Colonial history.
Particulars may be found in G. W. Stow’s Native Races of
South Africa — it is no part of our plan to give them here;
but there is another point of which we must not lose sight.
To speak of “ extermination ” in connection with the Bushmen,
though only too true as regards a limited area of South Africa,
is somewhat misleading when we come to survey a larger ex-
tent of the continent. In the earlier stages of the Bantu migra-
tion into South Africa, the relations between the Bushmen and
the newcomers appear to have been friendly, and intermar-
riage frequently took place. There is reason to think that some
Bechwana tribes — e.g. the Leghoya, are largely of Bushman
descent; and the same probably applies to large sections of the
Anyanja, in the districts west of the Shire. The importance of
this point will appear when we have to come back to it in the
chapter on Creation-Legends.

Whether the Bushmen have anything beyond their small
stature and their mode of life, in common with the Pygmies
of the Congo basin and other small races known or reported
to exist in various parts of Africa, remains, at least, doubtful;
but anatomists, I believe, hold that their physical evolution has
proceeded on entirely different lines. Both, in any case, are
interesting, not only as living representatives of a prehistoric

Egyptian Mythology / Egyptian Mythology
« on: July 13, 2019, 04:36:43 PM »

Volume XII



Hnit-ma-dawgyi Nat

This Nat is the elder sister of Min Magaye, or
Mahagiri, and is usually worshipped together with
him. After Temple, Thirty-Seven Nats of Burma,
No. 3. See pp. 347-48-



GEORGE FOOT MOORE, A.M., D.D., LL.D., Consulting Editor








Copyright, 191 8
By Marshall Jones Company

Entered at Stationers' Hall, London

All rights reserved

Printed February, 191 8





Author's Preface 3

Introduction 7

Chapter I. The Local Gods 15

II. The Worship of the Sun 23

III. Other Gods Connected with Nature ... 33

IV. Some Cosmic and Cosmogonic Myths .... 68
V. The Osirian Circle 92

VI. Some Texts Referring to Osiris-Myths . . 122

VII. The Other Principal Gods 129

VIII. Foreign Gods 153

IX. Worship of Animals and Men 159

X. Life after Death 173

XI. Ethics and Cult 184

XII. Magic 198

XIII. Development and Propagation of Egyptian

Religion 212


Author's Preface 249

Transcription and Pronunciation 251

Chapter I. The Peoples and Religions of Indo-China 253

IL Indo-Chinese Myths and Legends 263

III. The Festivals of the Indo-Chinese .... 323

IV. The Thirty-Seven Nats 339

Notes, Egyptian 361

Notes, Indo-Chinese 429

Bibliography, Egyptian 433

Bibliography, Indo-Chinese 448




I Hnit-ma-dawgyi Nat — Coloured Frontispiece

II I. Greek Terra-Co tta of the Young Horus Floating in

his Boat ii6

2. Bes in the Armour of a Roman Soldier
- 3. Zeus-Serapis

III I. Amen-hotep 170

X2. I-m-hotep

3. The Zodiacal Signs

IV Shrine of the Tree-Spirit 254

V Tsen-Yii-ying 260

VI Shrine of the Stream-Spirit 268

VII I. Naga Min — Coloured 272

2. Galon

3. Bilu

VIII Shrine of the Tree-Spirit 280

IX Prayer-Spire 300

X The Guardian of the Lake 302

XI Sale of Flags and Candles 310

XII A. The White Elephant 316

B. The White Elephant 316

XIII Funeral Pyre of a Burmese Monk 326

XIV The Goddess of the Tilth 330

XV Red Karen Spirit-Posts . 336

' XVI Thagya Min Nat — Coloured 342

XVII Mahagiri Nat — Coloured 344

XVIII An Avatar Play 346

XIX Shwe Pyin Naungdaw Nat — Coloured 348

XX The Guardian of the Lake 352

XXI Min Kyawzwa Nat — Coloured 354




1 The Triad of Elephantine: Khnum, Sa|et, and 'Anuqet . 20

2 Some Gods of Prehistoric Egypt whose Worship Later was

Lost 22

3 The Sun-God Watching the Appearance of his Disk in the

Eastern Gate of Heaven 24

4 Pictures of Khepri in Human Form 24

5 Khepri as the Infant Sun 25

6 Khepri with the Sun in Double Appearance 25

7 The Sun-God Rows a Departed Soul over the Sky ... . 26

8 A Star as Rower of the Sun in the Day-Time 26

9 The Sun-Boat as a Double Serpent 26

10 The Sun-God at Night-Time 27

1 1 Atum behind the Western Gate of Heaven 28

12 Thout as a Baboon 32

13 Baboons Greet the Sun 32

14 Baboons Saluting the Morning Sun 32

15 Thout 33

16 Thout, the Scribe 33

17 Thout in Baboon Form as Moon-God and Scribe of the Gods 33

18 Khons as Moon-God 34

19 A Personified Pillar of the Sky 35

20 The Sun-God on his Stairs 35

21 The Dead Witnesses the Birth of the Sun from the Celestial

Tree 35

22 The Sun-Boat and the Two Celestial Trees 36

23 The Dead at the Tree and Spring of Life 36

24 Amon as the Supreme Divinity Registers a Royal Name on

the "Holy Persea in the Palace of the Sun" 37

25 Symbol of Hat-hor from the Beginning of the Historic Age 37

26 Hat-hor at Evening Entering the Western Mountain and the

Green Thicket 38

27 The Sun-God between the Horns of the Celestial Cow . 38

28 The Dead Meets Hat-hor behind the Celestial Tree ... 39

29 "Meht-ueret, the Mistress of the Sky and of Both Coun-

tries" (i. e. Egypt) 39

30 The Goddess of Diospolis Parva 40

31 Nut Receiving the Dead 41



32 Nut with Symbols of the Sky in Day-Time 41

33 Qeb as Bearer of Vegetation 42

34 Qeb with his Hieroglyphic Symbol 42

35 Qeb as a Serpent and Nut 42

36 Qeb Watching Aker and Extended over him 43

37 Disfigured Representation of Aker Assimilated to Shu and

Tefenet 43

38 Shu, Standing on the Ocean (?), Upholds Nut, the Sky . . 43

39 Shu-Heka and the Four Pillars Separating Heaven and

Earth 44

40 Tefenet 44

41 The Nile, his Wife Nekhbet, and the Ocean 45

42 Nuu with the Head of an Ox 47

43 "Nuu, the Father of the Mysterious Gods," Sends his

Springs to "the Two Mysterious Ones" 47

44 Two Members of the Primeval Ogdoad 48

45 Heh and Hehet Lift the Young Sun (as Khepri) over the

Eastern Horizon 48

46 Unusual Representation of the Husband of the Sky-Goddess 49

47 The Sky-Goddess in Double Form and her Consort ... 49

48 The Young Sun in his Lotus Flower 50

49 Khnum Forms Children, and Heqet Gives them Life ... 51

50 Meskhenet 52

51 Sekhait, Thout, and Atum Register a King's Name on the

Celestial Tree, Placing the King within it 53

52 The Planet Saturn in a Picture of the Roman Period . . 54

53 Sothis-Sirius 54

54 Sothis (called "Isis") 55

55 Sothis and Horus-Osiris Connected 55

56 Decanal Stars from Denderah 56

57 Early Picture of Orion 57

58 The Double Orion 58

59 The Ferryman of the Dead 58

60 Constellations Around the Ox-Leg 59

61 Three Later Types of Epet (the Last as Queen of Heaven) 60

62 An-Horus Fighting the Ox-Leg 61

63 Old Types of Bes from the Twelfth and Eighteenth Dynas-

ties 61

64 Bes with Flowers 62

65 Bes Drinking 62



66 The Female Bes 63

67 The Female Bes 63

68 A"Pataik" 64

69 Lost Stellar Divinity 64

70 The East and West Winds 65

71 The Air-God Shu-Heb with the South and North Winds 65

72 An Hour 66

73 Nepri, the Grain-God, Marked by Ears of Grain .... 66

74 The Field-Goddess 67

75 The Birth of the Sun-God 71

76 Further Symbols of the Birth of the Sun-God 71

'j'j The Heavenly Cow, the Sun-God, and the Gods Support-
ing her (Shu in the Centre) 78

78 Thout in Ibis-Form (Twice), with Shu and Tefenet as the

Two Lions 87

79 Thout Greets Tefenet Returning from Nubia 88

80 The Solar Eye In the Watery Depth 89

81 The Solar Eye Guarded In the Deep 89

82 Osiris as a Black God 92

83 Osiris Hidden in his Pillar 92

84 Osiris in the Celestial Tree 93

85 The Nile Revives the Soul of Osiris in Sprouting Plants . . 94

86 Osiris Rising to New Life In Sprouting Seeds 94

87 Birth and Death of the Sun, with Osiris as Master of the

Abysmal Depth 96

88 Osiris as Judge on his Stairs 97

89 Osiris with the Water and Plant of Life, on which Stand

his Four Sons 97

90 Isis 98

91 The Symbol of Isis 99

92 Isis-Hat-h6r 99

93 The West Receiving a Departed Soul 99

94 The Celestial Arms Receiving the Sun-God 100

95 "The Double Justice" 100

96 The Symbol of the Horus of Edfu loi

97 One of the Smiths of Horus loi

98 Oldest Pictures of Seth 102

99 Seth Teaches the Young King Archery, and Horus Instructs

him in Fighting with the Spear 103

100 Apop Bound In the Lower World 104



loi The Sons of Osiris Guard the Fourfold Serpent of the Abyss

before their Father 105

102 'Apop Chained by "the Children of Horus" 105

103 The Unborn Sun Held by the Water Dragon 105

104 The Cat-God Killing the Serpent at the Foot of the Heav-

enly Tree 106

105 "TheCat-LikeGod" 106

106 The Dead Aiding the Ass against the Dragon 107

107 The God with Ass's Ears in the Fight against Apop . . 108

108 The God with Ass's E^ars 109

109 Genii Fighting with Nets or Snares 109

no Horus-Orion, Assisted by Epet, Fights the Ox-Leg ... no

111 Nephthys no

112 Anubis as Embalmer in

113 Divine Symbol Later Attributed to Anubis in

114 The Sons of Horus in

'?' 115 The Four Sons of Osiris-Horus United with the Serpent

of the Deep Guarding Life 112

116 The Sons of Horus-Osiris in the Sky near their Father

Orion (called "Osiris") 112

/'I17 Osiris under the Vine 113

118 Isis (as Sothis or the Morning Star.'') and Selqet-Nephthys

Gathering Blood from the Mutilated Corpse of Osiris . 114

>'II9 Isis Nursing Horus in the Marshes 116

120 Osiris in the Basket and in the Boat, and Isis 117

121 Horus Executes Seth (in the Form of an Ass) before Osiris 119

122 Horus Kills Seth as a Crocodile . 119

123 Amon 129

124 Amonet 130

125 Antaeus 130

126 Buto 132

127 Ehi 133

128 Hat-mehit 133

129 Hesat .- 134

130 Kenemtefi 134

131 Old Symbol of Mafdet 135

132 Meret in Double Form 136

133 Mi-hos, Identified with Nefer-tem 137

134 Hieroglyphic Symbols of Min from Prehistoric Objects 137

135 Barbarians of the Desert Climbing Poles before Min . . 138



136 The Earliest Sanctuaries of Min, Decorated with a Pecu-

liar Standard 138

137 Min before his Grove 139

138 Mon^u 139

139 Oldest Type of Mon^u 140

140 Mut with a Head-Dress Assimilating her to Amon .... 140

141 Nefer-tem 140

142 Emblem of Nefer-tem 141

143 Nehem(t)-'auit 141

144 Neith 142

145 Nekhbet Protecting the King 142

146 Late Type of Onuris 143

147 Ophois 144

148 Opet 144

149 Ptalj 145

150 Sekhmet 147

151 Sokari Hidden in his Boat or Sledge 148

152 Sopd as an Asiatic Warrior 148

153 Archaic Type of Sopd 149

154 Tait Carrying Chests of Linen 150

155 Ubastet 150

156 Unut 151

157 Statuette of the Museum of Turin Showing Hat-hor of

Byblos 154

158 Reshpu 155

159 Resheph-Seth 155

160 "Astarte, Mistress of Horses and of the Chariot" ... 156

161 Astarte 156

162 Astarte as a Sphinx 156

163 Qedesh 157

164 Asit 157

165 Anat 157

166 Hieroglyphs of Dedun and Selqet 158

167 Statuette of the Apis Showing his Sacred Marks .... 162

168 Buchis 163

169 The Mendes Ram and his Plant Symbol 164

170 Amon as a Ram 164

171 Atum of Heliopolis 164

172 "Atum, the Spirit of Heliopolis" 165

173 Shedeti 165



174 KhatuH-Shedeti 165

175 The Phoenix 165

176 "The Soul of Osiris" in a Sacred Tree Overshadowing his

Sarcophagus-like Shrine 166

177 Statue of a Guardian Serpent in a Chapel 166

178 Egyptian Chimera ?. . 169

179 The Birth of a King Protected by Gods 170

180 The Ka of a King, Bearing his Name and a Staff-Symbol

Indicating Life 170

181 The Soul-Bird 174

182 The Soul Returning to the Body 174

183 The Soul Returns to the Grave 175

184 The Dead Visits his House 175

185 The Dead Wanders over a Mountain to the Seat of Osiris 176

186 The Dead before Osiris, the Balance of Justice, the Lake of

Fire, and "the Swallower" 179

187 The Condemned before the Dragon 179

188 Shades Swimming in the Abyss 180

189 A Female Guardian with Fiery Breath Watches Souls,

Symbolized by Shades and Heads, in the Ovens of Hell 180

190 Thout's Baboons Fishing Souls i8l

191 Dancers and a Buffoon at a Funeral 182

192 Large Sacrifice Brought before a Sepulchral Chapel in the

Pyramid Period 182

193 Temples of the Earliest Period 187

194 Guardian Statues and Guardian Serpents of a Temple . 187

195 Front of a Temple according to an Egyptian Picture . . 188

196 Royal Sacrifice before the Sacred Pillars of Bubastos . . 190

197 The King Offering Incense and Keeping a Meat-Offering

Warm 191

198 Temple Choir in Unusual Costume 191

199 Two Women Representing I sis and Nephthys as Mourners

at Processions I92

200 "The Worshipper of the God" 192

201 Priest with the Book of Ritual 193

202 Archaistic Priestly Adornment 193

203 A King Pulling the Ring at the Temple Door 193

204 A God Carried in Procession 194

205 A Small Portable Shrine . 194

206 Mythological Scenes from a Procession 194



207 An Acrobat Following a Sacrificial Animal 195

208 Small Holocaustic Sacrifice on an Oven 195

209 Human Sacrifice at a Royal Tomb of the First Dynasty 196

210 Nubian Slaves Strangled and Burned at a Funeral . . . 196

211 A Ritual Priest 198

212 A Section of the Metternich Stele 207

213 Fragment of a Magic Wand 208

214 Late Nameless God of the Universe 223

215 Amen-hotep IV and his Wife Sacrificing to the Solar Disk 225

216 Profile of Amen-hotep IV . 226

217 Prayer-Stele with Symbols of Hearing 232

218 Antaeus-Serapis 240

219 Guardian Deities on the Tomb of Kom-esh-Shugafa near

Alexandria 241

220 Guardian Symbol from the Same Tomb 241

221 Nut, Aker, and Khepri 368

222 Shu with Four Feathers 368

223 Ageb, the Watery Depth 371

224 " Sebeg in the Wells " 373

225 "Horus of the Two Horizons" 388

226 The Jackal (?) with a Feather 393

227 The Harpoon of Horus 397

228 "Horus on his Green" 401

229 Symbol of Selqet as the Conqueror 412

230 Souls In the Island of Flames among Flowers and Food . 417

231 The Earliest Construction Commemorating a " Festival of

the Tail" 419

232 A Priestess Painting the Eyes of a Sacred Cow 420






ALBERT TOBIAS CLAY, ph.d., ll.d.





THIS study can hope to give only a sketch of a vast theme
which, because of its endless and difficult material, has
thus far received but superficial investigation even from the
best of scholars; its complete elaboration would require several
volumes of space and a lifetime of preparation.

The principal difficulty is to make it clear to the modern
mind that a religion can exist without any definite system of
doctrine, being composed merely of countless speculations that
are widely divergent and often conflicting. This doctrinal
uncertainty is increased by the way in which the traditions
have been transmitted. Only rarely is a piece of mythology
complete. For the most part we have nothing but many scat-
tered allusions which must be united for a hazardous restora-
tion of one of these theories. In other respects, likewise, the
enormous epigraphic material presents such difficulties and is
so confusing in nature that everything hitherto done on the
religion of Egypt is, as we have just implied, merely pioneer
work. As yet an exhaustive description of this religion could
scarcely be written.

A minor problem is the question of transliterating Egyptian
words and names, most of which are written in so abbre-
viated a fashion that their pronunciation, especially in the case
of the vowels, always remains dubious unless we have a good
later tradition of their sound. It is quite as though the abbre-
viation "st." (= "street") were well known to persons having
no acquaintance with English to mean something like "road,"
but without any indication as to its pronunciation. Foreigners
would be compelled to guess whether the sound of the word


were set, sat, seta, sota, etc., or este, usot, etc., since there is abso-
lutely nothing to suggest the true pronunciation "street." A
great part of the Egyptian vocabulary is known only in this
way, and in many instances we must make the words pro-
nounceable by arbitrarily assigning vowel sounds, etc., to them.
Accordingly I have thought it better to follow popular mispro-
nunciations like Nut than to try Newet, Neyewet, and other
unsafe attempts, and even elsewhere I have sacrificed correct-
ness to simplicity where difficulty might be experienced by a
reader unfamiliar with some Oriental systems of writing. It
should be borne in mind that Sekhauit and Uzoit, for example,
might more correctly be written S(e)khjewyet, Wezoyet, and
that e is often used as a mere filler where the true vowel is quite

Sometimes we can prove that the later Egyptians themselves
misread the imperfect hieroglyphs, but for the most part we
must retain these mispronunciations, even though we are con-
scious of their slight value. All this will explain why any two
Egyptologists so rarely agree in their transcriptions. Returning
in despair to old-fashioned methods of conventionalizing tran-
scription, I have sought to escape these difficulties rather than
to solve them.

In the transliteration kh has the value of the Scottish or
German ch;h is a. voiceless laryngeal spirant — a rough, wheez-
ing, guttural sound; q is an emphatic k, formed deep in the
throat (Hebrew p) ; ' is a strange, voiced laryngeal explosive
(Hebrew ^); J Is an assibilated t (German z); z is used here
as a rather Inexact substitute for the peculiar Egyptian pro-
nunciation of the emphatic Semitic s (Hebrew V, in Egyptian
sounding like ts, for which no single type can be made).

For those who may be unfamiliar with the history of Egypt
It will here be sufficient to say that Its principal divisions (dis-
regarding the intermediate periods) are : the Old Empire (First
to Sixth Dynasties), about 3400 to 2500 b. c; the Middle
Empire (Eleventh to Thirteenth Dynasties), about 2200 to


1700 B. c; the New Empire (Eighteenth to Twenty-Sixth
Dynasties), about 1600 to 525 b. c.

Pictures which could not be photographed directly from
books have been drawn by my daughter; Figs. 13, 65 (b)
are taken from scarabs in my possession.

Since space does not permit full references to the monu-
ments, I have omitted these wherever I follow the present
general knowledge and where the student can verify these
views from the indexes of the more modern literature which I
quote. References have been limited, so far as possible, to
observations which are new or less well known. Although I
have sought to be brief and simple in my presentation of Egyp-
tian mythology, my study contains a large amount of original
research. I have sought to emphasize two principles more than
has been done hitherto: (a) the comparative view — Egyptian
religion had by no means so isolated a growth as has generally
been assumed; (b) as in many other religions, its doctrines
often found a greater degree of expression in religious art than
in religious literature, so that modern interpreters should make
more use of the Egyptian pictures. Thus I trust not only that
this book will fill an urgent demand for a reliable popular
treatise on this subject, but that for scholars also it will mark
a step in advance toward a better understanding of Egypt's
most interesting bequest to posterity.


University of Pennsylvania,
September, 19x7.

Indo Chinese Myhology / Indo Chinese Mythology
« on: July 13, 2019, 04:35:58 PM »




THE mythology of Burma, Siam, and Indo-China needs
no special discussion. It has been borrowed almost en-
tirely from India and is only slightly modified by aboriginal
characteristics. A great deal, however, has been grafted on
from the serpent-, tree-, and spirit-worship of the native tribes,
or (in the case of the Burmese) from the tribal beliefs held
before the Indo-Chinese peoples came to settle in their present
abodes. Research has thus far been insufficient to show whence
the Burmese came, whether they received their religion first
from the north or from the south, or whether they originally
had a script of their own. There Is hope that, with further
investigation, enough data may be found to determine the
Pyu character, but the few examples hitherto found have not
enabled Mr. Blagden to go very far.

For the coloured plates In this study I am Indebted to the
courtesy of Sir Richard Carnac Temple and to his publishers,
Messrs. W. Griggs and Sons, Ltd., London, who have placed
at my disposal the Illustrations of his Thirty-Seven Nats of


London, May 21, 1917.


THE system of transliteration and pronunciation here fol-
lowed is the one prescribed by the Government of India
for the Indian languages generally. The vowels, on the whole,
are pronounced as in Italian; e has the sound of e in French
mere or of e in terror^ and e oi e in French verite, while e has a
similar value, though less accentuated. The vowels of the
diphthongs generally coalesce. Thus ai is pronounced as in
aisle; ao and au are sounded as in Latin aurum or English
how, with greater stress in the case of ao than in that of au\
aw is pronounced as in saw, ei as in feign, eo as in Eothen, oi
as in soil; a and o are pronounced as in German, and the pe-
culiar Shan diphthongs au and 6u have the u sound added, the
former almost resembling the miauling of a cat.

In Burmese and Shan the aspirate is sounded before other
consonants, such as t, p, k, I, s, and w, and is therefore prefixed,
as in ht, hp, hk, hi, hs, and hw; it amounts to a rough breathing.
In such words as gyi and kya, gy and ky are nearly equivalent
toj, but have a lighter sound, almost like dyi or tya pronounced
as one syllable. The sound of kzv is approximately that of
qua in quantity; my, ny, and py with a following vowel are
always pronounced as one syllable, the y being little more than
a slight breathing; ng is decidedly nasal, the n predominating
and whittling the g to a mere shadow. The pronunciation of
hnget ("bird") is taken as the test of correct Burmese vocahz-
ing; it begins with a guttural h, blends into a nasal n, all but
ignores the g, and ends on a staccato e, with the t eliminated.




SOME ethnologists maintain that at one time a common
language was spoken all over Farther India from the Irra-
waddy River to the Gulf of Tongking. Whether this was
Mon, the language of the Talaings, who for a thousand years
held the south of Burma and warred with the Burmese, or
whether it was Hkmer (or Khmer), the language of the founders
of Champa and of the builders of the great Angkor Temple in
Cambodia, has not been determined and is not likely to be
ascertained. Down to the present day the Munda languages
are spoken in a belt which extends right across Continental
India from Murshidabad on the east to Nimar on the west,
Munda being the name given by F. Max Miiller to the whole
family of languages. The early philologists, Hodgson and
Logan, called this Munda group the Kol family, but Sir
George Campbell altered this to Kolarian, to the great indigna-
tion of those who thought it might lead the unlearned to imag-
ine a connexion with the Aryans, which would be quite wrong,
though he meant only to suggest Kolar in Southern India as
a sort of nucleus. There are resemblances between the Munda
languages and the Mon-Hkmer which have long been pointed
out, and the theory is that there may have been at one time a
common tongue which was spoken from the Indian Ocean to
the China Sea, across the Indian Continent, over the whole


of Indo-China, and even In the East Indian Archipelago and
Australia.^ There Is certainly a substratum In common, and
there are links In the Nancaorl dialects of the Nicobars and
In the vocabularies of the Malacca neighbourhood. But the
Dravldlans, who Inhabit the southern half of India, also fused
with the Negritos from Malaysia, and It Is quite certain that
the Dravldlans are fundamentally distinct from the Munda.

It might be thought that the mythology of the various races
should help In this puzzle, but It gives no assistance, and there
are as great differences in the myths as there are in the lan-
guages, which are as distinct from one another as French Is
from German. There are general resemblances just as there are
resemblances between the flint arrow-heads found in all con-
tinents and Islands. The celts found In the graves of Algon-
quian chiefs are not easily distinguished from those used
at the present day by the Papuans of the Snowy Range in
New Guinea, and those found near the tumulus on the Plain
of Marathon could be fitted to the reed shafts of the Sam-
oyeds without looking singular. It Is the same with the super-
stitions and the myths which are found among primitive tribes
all over the world. They are very vague In their religious con-
ceptions, but they all agree in believing that this world Is the
home of a shadowy host of powerful and malevolent beings
who usually have a local habitation In a hill, stream, or patch
of primeval forest, and interest themselves in the affairs of
men. As often as not they are dead ancestors, the originators
of the tribe or caste, with a vague following of distinguished
or insignificant descendants. Indeed, some scholars are con-
vinced that the worship of death is the basis and root of all
religions, and Grant Allen, In his History of Religion, main-
tained that all the sacred objects of the world are either dead
men themselves, as corpses, mummies, ghosts, or gods; or
else the tomb where such men are buried; or else the temple,
shrine, or hut which covers the tomb; or else the tombstone,
altar, Image, or statue standing over it and representing the


Shrine of the Tree-Spirit

This spirit-shrine is shaded by a pipal-tree {Ficus
religiosa), which is associated with spirits in India
as well. The sheds of the bazaar may be seen just
behind the shrine, which is about fifteen miles north
of Loilem, one of the district head-quarters of the
Southern Shan States. Cf. Plate VIII.


ghost; or else the statue, idol, or household god which is
fashioned as the deputy of the dead; or else the tree which
grows above the barrow; or else the well, or tank, or spring,
natural or artificial, by whose side the dead man has been laid
to rest. Families worshipped their first and subsequent an-
cestors; villagers worshipped the man who founded the village,
and from whom they all claimed descent. In similar fashion
Herbert Spencer was persuaded that "the rudimentary form
of all religion is the propitiation of dead ancestors." Myths
are woven round the history of their lives; illness and mis-
fortunes of all kinds are attributed to their influence; there is
a general belief in magic and witchcraft, and a ritual is devised
which elaborates the legend. Wizards are employed to deter-
mine the cause of trouble and to remove it, either by incanta-
tions and exorcism, or by placating the offended ghostly being
by a suitable sacrifice; their services are also requisitioned when
it is desired to secure good crops, to cause an injury to an enemy,
or to ascertain the omens relating to some proposed course of

However important the cult of the dead may be in primitive
religion, it is not the only factor. Natural forces long familiar-
ized to the popular mind are transformed into actual beings
with human passions and prejudices, and thus we get per-
sonifications of Thanatos (Death), the brother of Sleep; Bel-
Merodach, the light of the sun; Surya, Zeus, the Sun itself;
Indra, the god of the atmosphere; and Balder, the summer god.
The dwarfish races of America, Scotland, and the Deccan are
believed by many to have become hobgoblins ; and the personi-
fications of fire, wind, and war are obvious symbols. These are
all features of animism — the belief which attributes human
intelligence and action to every phenomenon and object of
nature, and which sees in them all a human anima, or prin-
ciple of life. The people of Burma, Siam, and Annam were all
animists in the earliest days, and there are strong traces of
the belief among the Buddhists they now claim to be. These


universal features are sometimes coupled with belief in a
supreme god, who usually interests himself very little in earthly
affairs, and with belief in metempsychosis, or transincorpora-
tion of souls; and the shadowy beings are sometimes Invested
with definite powers and functions, and provided with a
genealogy and bodily form. But all these primitive deities —
wherever they are found — bear a close resemblance to one
another. Spiritually they are as much alike as, physically, are
the arrow-heads that are discovered everywhere, or the early
pottery which is very much of the same style no matter where
it has been produced.

There might be some hope of consistence In the mythological
beliefs If we could be at all certain that a considerable pro-
portion of the original Inhabitants of Indo-China might still
be found In Burma, Slam, and Annam, There is not even an
agreement as to who the aborigines were, whether Negrito, or
Malaysian, or Mongolian, and it is practically certain that they
are as extinct as the Iroquois in Chicago or the Trinobantes
in Middlesex, except for a few baffling, isolated groups which
remain like boulders carved far back In the Glacial Age, or
peaks that rise out of the ocean as the last vestige of submerged
continents. Students of ethnology dispute relentlessly with
one another as to whether certain tribes are autochthonous,
like ridges worn by the Ice-streams of glaciers, or are erratic
boulders, ground moraine, or boulder clay, stranded in alien
countries, like round masses of Ailsa Craig granite carried down
to South Wales, the Midlands, and even the north of Ireland,
The ice-sheet always moving south changed the face of the
land, just as the waves of humanity which poured south from
Central Asia altered the populations. They followed one on
the other, set in motion by some natural or social upheaval,
and they drove their forerunners before them, or followed the
example of the Israelites, who "warred against the Midianltes,
. . . and they slew all the males . . , and they burnt all their
cities wherein they dwelt."


The history of these old days is a series of paroxysms. Its
keynote was bloodshed and famine and the merciless oblitera-
tion of countless innocents. The slaughter of Orientals by
Orientals has none of the characteristics of religious or political
hatred. It is simple blood-lust and it goes on still where it is
possible. When the Manchus marched south, early in the
seventeenth century, to destroy the fugitive Ming Court at Nan-
king, they massacred eight hundred thousand of the population
(estimated at a million) of Yang-chou-fu. In 191 1 the Chinese
Republicans sacked the Tatar city of Si-ngan-fu and butchered
every Manchu man, woman, and child. Pestilences spare a
few here and there; savage man does not. But there was one
saving point about the genuine savages of two thousand or
more years ago which distinguishes them from the civilized
savages. They seldom brought their women with them, or
only a few, and so they took to wife the daughters of the land.
As a consequence, the only races that are not composite are
those who are settled in inaccessible mountains which tempted
no one to conquer.

The result of this is that there is no general Indo-Chinese,
or even separate Burmese, Siamese, or Annamese mythology,
as there is an Eddie, a Semitic, Egyptian, Graeco-Roman, or
Indian mythology. The Mundas and Dravidians may have
brought some of their traditional beliefs or myths with them
when they were driven from India to Indo-China by the con-
quering Aryans, but when Kublai Khan broke up the Lao-tai
(Shan) Kingdom in Yiin-nan in the thirteenth century, a
flood of Tibeto-Burman and Siamese-Chinese legends must
have submerged or diluted the old traditions. The mythology
of all three countries, therefore, is a mixture of hero-worship
and distorted history — national and individual — each of them
mixed with the worship of intangible natural forces. Conse-
quently the mythological beliefs of the three countries are as
heterogeneous as their populations. The vast majority of the
inhabitants of Annam, not less than of Burma and Siam, are


nominally Buddhist; but there are deities of Brahmanic origin,
alongside of demons with human passions and prejudices, and
abundance of obvious nature-myths.

As a matter of fact, Indo-China seems to have been the com-
mon refuge for fugitive tribes from both India and China.
The expansion of the Chinese Empire (which for centuries did
not exist south of the Yang-tse-kiang), and the inroads of
Scythian tribes on the confines of the Indian empires of Chan-
dragupta and Asoka, whose reigns ended in 297 and 232 (or
231) B. c. respectively, combined to drive out the aborigines,
both to the north-east and to the north-west; and these met
and struggled with one another, not for supremacy, but for
mere existence, in the lands which we call Indo-China. It is
only some such theory which will account for the extraordi-
nary variety and marked dissimilarity of races to be found in the
sheltered valleys or in the high ranges of the Shan States, the
Lao country, and Tongking and Annam.

There is a general similarity of myths and traditions among
all the races and tribes of Eastern Asia. In some of them this
resemblance exists as it has been handed down for many
generations; in others it is to be inferred only from practices
and superstitions which remain In essence despite profound
outward changes. It is not possible to say which tribe or people
can claim to be the originator, and which merely the taught.
There Is a common deposit, and all the beliefs, rites, and cus-
toms may have found their way from north to south, or from
east to west; or they may have been universal and simulta-
neous; and the modifications may be due only to the individual
character and habits of each separate tribe. It is not possible
to say that there is any noticeable uniformity in customs even
among the same clan or settlement, to say nothing of the family
or sub-family. All of them believe in witchcraft, and there are
striking resem.blances and differences. The resemblances may
be due to a sort of logical process following on common Ideas,
or the similar practices may be due to the Kachins borrowing


from the Burmese, or perhaps from the Shans, or the Do
mimicking the practices of the Tongkingese, or vice versa. All
of them, English-speaking Burmans or French-speaking Anna-
mese, have, deep-seated in their being, a primitive belief in
spirits, demons, Nats, Hpis, Dewas, or whatever they may be
called. The great ethnic religions of Asia have never been able
to eradicate the firm belief among the mass of the people that
ghosts, spirits, demons, angels, or devils are able to interfere
in the affairs of man.

Perhaps ninety per cent of the population of the three Indo-
Chinese countries are, and believe themselves to be, Buddhist;
but their Buddhism is not the abstruse philosophy which
Gotama taught, any more than it is the practical popular
religion set forth in the edicts of Asoka in the third century
before Christ. The Buddha did not teach the existence of any
supreme being; he made no attempt to solve the mystery of
the beginning of human existence; and he had very little to
say of the end, or of Nirvana. King Asoka was not concerned
to do more than to give a simple version of a pure religion, urg-
ing mankind to the performance of good deeds and promising a
reward, which the least educated could understand, in the
happy, semi-human existence of the Lower Heavens round about
Mount Meru (supposed to form the centre of the inhabited
world), the mythical height which the Burmese call Myimmo
Taung, and the Siamese Phra Men. Superstition and love of
the marvellous are, however, inborn in mankind. Legends and
myths seem to be necessary to the masses, and the consequence
has been the practical deification of the Buddha Gotama and
of some imagined predecessors, the acknowledgement of a celes-
tial hierarchy, and the introduction of complicated ceremonies
and of a ritual of which the Teacher of the Law or his devout
interpreters never dreamed. Buddhism was in the beginning
a reformed Brahmanism, induced by the arrogance of the
priesthood and the system of caste. In India, the astute Brah-
mans enticed dissenters back by representing Gotama to be

Indian Mythology / Indian Mythology
« on: July 13, 2019, 03:47:15 PM »



The wife of Siva, in her dread aspect, slays the
Asura Mahisa. Standing in an attitude of triumph on
the demon, who, as his name implies, is in the shape
of a buffalo, she drags his soul (symbolized in human
form) from him. From a Javanese lava sculpture,
probably from Prambanan, in the Museum of Fine
Arts, Boston. See p. ii8.



GEORGE FOOT MOORE, A.M., D.D., LL.D., Consulting Editor




D.C.L., D.LiTT.



Ph.D., Litt.D.





Asros, LfiNoS: A>n)

Copyright, 1917
By Marshall Jones Company

Entered at Stationers' Hall, London

All rights reserved

Printed in January, 1917





Author's Preface 5

Transcription and Pronunciation 9

Introduction . 11

Chapter I. The Rgveda — Gods of Sky and Air .... 15
II. The Rgveda — Gods of Earth, Demons, and

Dead 41

III. The Mythology of the Brahmanas .... 73

IV. The Great Gods of the Epic 103

V. Minor Epic Deities and the Dead .... 131

VI. The Mythology of the Puranas 162

VII. Buddhist Mythology in India and Tibet ... 187

VIII. The Mythology of the Jains 220

IX, The Mythology of Modern Hinduism . . . 230


Author's Preface 253

Transcription and Pronunciation 257

Introduction •. 259

Chapter I. Wars of Gods and Demons 263

II. Myths of Creation 275

III. The Primeval Heroes 293

IV. Legends of Yima 304

V. Traditions OF THE Kings AND Zoroaster . . . 320
• VI. The Life to Come 344

VII. Conclusion 348

Notes, Indian ^SS

Notes, Iranian 360

Bibliography, Indian 371

Bibliography, Iranian 395





I Durga — Photogravure Frontispiece

II Idol Car 22

III Surya . 26

IV Indra — Coloured 34

V Apsarases — Coloured 60

VI Brahma — Coloured 78

VII Kala-Siva 82

VIII A. Tortures of Hell 100

B. Tortures of Hell 100

IX Trimurti 108

X Marriage of Siva and Parvati 118

XI Birth of Brahma — Coloured 120

XII Varahavatara 122

XIII Laksmi — Coloured 124

XIV Krsna 126

XV Hanuman 128

XVI Garuda 140

XVII Vasuki 154

XVIII Yaksi 156

XIX Kubera 158

XX Visnu Slays the Demons — Coloured 164

XXI Laksmi 170

XXII Ganesa 182

XXIII The Great Buddha — Coloured 188

XXIV The Buddha and Sujata — Coloured 190

XXV The Buddha on the Lotus 192

XXVI Temptation of the Buddha — Coloured 196



XXVII Avalokitesvara 202

XXVIII Tirthakara 220

XXIX DilwSra Temple •. 226

XXX Shrine of Bhiimiya 234

XXXI Bhairon 238

XXXII Iranian Deities on Indo-Scythian Coins 260

1. Mithra

2. Apam Napat

3. Mah

4. Vata or Vayu

5. Khvarenanh

6. Atar

7. Vanainti (Uparatat)

8. Verethraghna

XXXIII I. Typical Representation of Mithra 264

2. Scenes from the Life of Alithra

XXXIV Iranian Deities on Indo-Scythian and Sassanian

|, Coins 272

^ I. Tishtrya

2. Khshathra Vairya

"" ., 3. Ardokhsho

'^ 4. Asha Vahishta

5. Ahura Mazda

6. Fire Altar

7. Fire Altar

8. Fravashi

XXXV Ancient Fire Temple near Isfahan 284

XXXVI I. Mithra Born from the Rock 288

2. Alithra Born from the Rock

XXXVII The Simurgh — Coloured 290

XXXVIII Tahmurath Combats the Demons — Coloured . . 302

XXXIX I. Dahhak (Azhi Dahaka) — Coloured 310

2. Jamshid on His Throne — Coloured

XL Rustam and the White Demon — Coloured ... 328

XLI The Death of Suhrab — Coloured 332

XLII Kai Kaus Attempts to Fly to Heaven — Coloured 336



XLIII Gushtasp Kills a Dragon — Coloured . . .
XLIV Sculpture Supposed to Represent Zoroaster





1 Agni 42

2 The Churning of the Ocean 104

3 The Propitiation of Uma, or Devi 117

4 The Narasirhha ("Man-Lion") Avatar of Visnu .... 123

5 The Matsya ("Fish") Avatar of Visnu 167






Field Marshal The Right Honourable

K.G., K.P., O.M., G.C.B., G.C.S.I., G.C.M.G., G.C.I.E., LL.D.




THE mythology of India claims unique interest by virtue
of its unparalleled length of life. It is true that not even
the discoveries at Boghaz Kyoi render it prudent for us to
place the Rgveda at an earlier period than 1500 B.C., and in
part at least that collection may come from three centuries
later, so that as contrasted with the dates of Egyptian and
Babylonian records the earliest monument of Aryan mythology
is comparatively recent. In mass of content and in value for
mythology, however, these cannot compare with the Rgveda.
Of still more importance is the fact that from the period of the
J^gveda to the present day, a space of some thirty-five hundred
years, we have a mythology which is in constant but organic
development. The high mythic systems of Teuton, Celt, and
Slav, of Greek and Roman, have perished before the onslaught
of a loftier faith and survive in little else than folk-lore. In
India, on the contrary, though foreign invasion has often swept
over the north-west of the land, though Islam has annexed
souls as well as territories, though Christianity (especially in
the south) has contributed elements to the faith of the people,
still it remains true that the religion and the mythology of the
land are genuinely their own and for this reason have in them-
selves the constant potency of fresh growth. Moreover, amidst
the ceaseless change which is the heritage of human things,
there is relative stability in the simpler thoughts of the human
mind, and as in many parts of India the peasant still labours
with the implements and in the mode of his ancestors in periods
far remote, so his mind frames the same hypotheses to account
for those phenomena of nature which in India more than else-
where determine irrevocably his weal or his woe.


The rich variety of the mythology, despite its attraction for
the student of the history of myths, renders the task of concise
exposition one of pecuUar difficulty. For the mythology of the
present day available material is enormous: each part of the
vast area of India has its own abundant store of myth and
tradition, and to give detail for this period would be impossible.
The same consideration applies with but slightly lessened force
for the earlier epochs: the Veda, the epics, the Purdnas, the
literature of the Buddhists and of the Jains, each present data
in lavish abundance. It has been necessary, therefore, to cir-
cumscribe narrowly the scope of the subject by restricting the
treatment to that mythology which stands in close connexion
with religion and which conveys to us a conception of the
manner in which the Indian pictured to himself the origin of
the world and of life, the destiny of the universe and of the
souls of man, the gods and the evil spirits who supported or
menaced his existence. Gods and demons were very present
to the mind of the Indian then as they are today, and they are
inextricably involved in innumerable stories of folk-lore, of
fairy tale, and of speculation as to the origin of institutions and
customs. The task of selecting such myths as will best illustrate
the nature of the powers of good and evil is one in which we
cannot hope for complete success; and the problem is rendered
still more hard by the essential vagueness of many of the
figures of Indian mythology: the mysticism of Indian concep-
tion tends ever to a pantheism alien to the clear-cut creations
of the Hellenic imagination.

The difficult task of selecting suitable illustrations has been
shared with the editor of this series. Dr. Louis H, Gray, of
whose valuable assistance in this and other matters I desire
to express my most sincere appreciation; and my friend Pro-
fessor Charles R. Lanman, of Harvard University, has gener-
ously lent us valuable volumes from his private library. Dr.
Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, with his wonted generosity and
devotion to the cause of promoting the knowledge of Indian


art, not merely accorded permission for the reproduction of
illustrations from his Rajput Paintings (published by the Oxford
University Press), but placed at my disposal the resources of
his admirable Visvakarma^ a kindness for which I am deeply
grateful. To the India Society and the Oxford University
Press I am indebted for permission to reproduce illustrations
from Lady Herringham's splendid copies of the Ajanta frescoes,
published by the Press for the Society, Messrs. W. Griggs and
Sons, of Hanover Street, Peckham, London, S. E., have been
good enough to permit the reproduction of certain illustrations
from their Journal of Indian Art; and I owe to the generosity
of the India Office the photographs which Messrs. Griggs and
Sons have made for me from negatives In the collection of
that Department. Lieut.-Col. A. H. Milne, of Cults, Aber-
deenshire, Scotland, kindly permitted the photographing of
one of the pieces of his rich collection; the Museum of Fine
Arts in Boston and the Peabody Museum in Salem, Mass.,
have been no less generous than he; and Mrs. Louis H. Gray
placed her expert knowledge at our service In seeing the vol-
ume through the press.

To my wife I owe thanks for help and criticism.


University of Edinburgh,
22 September, 19 16.


THE system of transcription followed is that used by the
Royal Asiatic Society and accords closely with the one
adopted in the Grundriss der indo-arischen Philologie und
Altertumskuiide. The pronunciation is much as in English, but
c is pronounced as ch, and g is always hard; the characters repre-
sented by kh, gh, ch, jh, th, dh, th, dh, ph, bh have the h sounded
half-separately, somewhat as in pot-hook, madhouse, hap-
hazard, etc. Of the letters distinguished by diacritical marks
t, th, d, dh, and n are pronounced very much like the ordinary
dentals; s is sounded as sh, and i as sh or s; the s is always hard,
never soft like z. The letter r denotes the vowel sound of r and
is pronounced approximately like ri; and similarly / is almost
like li. The letters n and n denote a nasal assimilated to the
following sound, guttural and palatal respectively, and m
indicates a nasal sound which corresponds very roughly to ng.
The "visarga," h, was probably pronounced like the Scottish
or German ch. The vowels e (pronounced like a in fate) and o,
which represent an original ai and au, are always long. The
vowel a is pronounced somewhat in the manner of the u in
English hut; other vowels have the same value as in Italian.


THE earliest record of Indian mythology is contained in the
^gveda, or "Hymn Veda," a series of ten books of hymns
celebrating the chief Vedic gods. The exact motives of the
collection are uncertain, but it is clear that in large measure
the hymns represent those used in the Soma sacrifice, which
formed a most important part of the worship of the gods in
the ritual of the subsequent period. It is now recognized that
the religion and mythology contained in this collection are not
primitive in character and that they represent the result of a
long period of development of sacred poetry. Thus it is that
the gods who form the subject of this poetry often appear ob-
scure in character, though in the great majority of cases it is
clear that the myths related of them refer to physical happen-
ings. The date of the Rgveda is much disputed and admits of
no definite determination; it may be doubted whether the old-
est poetry contained in it is much earlier than 1200 B.C., but it
is not probable that it was composed later than 800 B.C., even
in its most recent portions.

Both in its mythology and in its composition the Rgveda
is clearly older than the other three Vedas, the Sdmaveda, the
Yajurveda, and the Atharvaveda — the "Chant Veda," the
"Formula Veda," and the "Veda of the Atharvan Priests" —
and, in point of date, these three stand much on a level with
the Brdhmanas, or explanatory prose texts which are attached
to or form part of them. In them are to be found many specu-
lations of a more advanced kind than those of the Rgveda^ yet
at the same time the Atharvaveda contains a mass of popular
religion which has been taken up and worked over by the same
priestly classes to whose activity the other texts are due. It


must, therefore, be recognized that the Rgveda gives only an
Imperfect Impression of Indian mythology and that. In a sense,
It is the work of an aristocracy; but at the same time it is im-
possible to regard the Atharvaveda as a direct complement of
the Rgveda and as giving the popular side of the Rgvedic reli-
gion. The Atharvaveda was probably not reduced to Its present
form much, If at all, earlier than 500 B.C., and the popular
worship included in it is one which Is at once separated by a
considerable period In time from that of the Rgveda and is pre-
sented to us, not In Its primitive form, but as It was taken up
by the priests. The other Vedas and the Brdhmanas may be
referred roughly to a period which runs from 800 to 600 B.C.
To the Brdhmanas are attached, more or less closely, treatises
called Aranyakas ("Silvan"), which were to be studied by
oral tradition in the solitude of the forests, and Upanisads,
treatises of definitely philosophical content, whose name is de-
rived from the "session" of the pupils around their teacher.
The oldest of these works probably date from before 500 B.C.
On the other hand, the Sutras, or rules regarding the sacrifice
both In Its more elaborate and In Its more domestic forms, and
regulations concerning custom and law give Incidental infor-
mation as to the more popular side of religion.

The Sutras, at any rate, and possibly even the Brdhmanas,
in their later portions, are contemporaneous with the begin-
nings of the two great epics of India, the Mahdbhdrata and the
Rdmdyana. The first composition of these works as real epics,
made up from ballads and other material, may be assigned to
the fourth century b.c, and It Is probable that the Rdmdyana
was practically complete before the Christian era. In the case
of the Mahdbhdrata, however, there is no doubt that the orig-
inal heroic epic has been overwhelmed by a vast mass of relig-
ious, philosophical, and didactic matter, and that it was not
practically complete before the sixth century a.d., though
most of it probably may be dated In the period from 200 B.C. to
200 A.D. These works reveal, to an extent which cannot be


paralleled in the texts of the preceding periods, the religion of
the warrior class and of the people generally. It cannot be as-
sumed that the religion thus described is a later development,
in point of time, than the Vedic religion, so far as the chief
features of this religion are concerned; but much of the myth-
ology is clearly a working over of the tales reported in the
period of the Brdhmanas, of which, in so far, the epic period is a
legitimate successor.

The epic period is followed by that of the Purdnas, which
show undoubted signs of the development of the religion and
mythology of the epics. No doubt the material in these texts
is often old, and here and there narratives are preserved in a
form anterior to that now seen in the Mahdbhdrata. Yet, on
the whole, it is probable that no Purdna antedates 600 a.d.,
and there is little doubt that portions of some of them are much
later, falling within the last few centuries. Nor, indeed, is there
any definite check to the continuance of this literature: at
least two of the Purdnas have no definite texts, and any author,
without fear of positive contradiction, is at liberty to compose
a poem in honour of a place of worship or of pilgrimage, and
to call it a portion of either of these Purdnas. This is the
literature which, to the present day, contains the authorita-
tive sacred texts of Hindu myth and worship. Yet it is essen-
tially priestly and learned, and the popular religion which it
embodies has been elaborated and confused, so that it is neces-
sary, for a clear view of modern Hindu mythology, to supple-
ment the account of the Purdnas with records taken from the
actual observation of the practices of modern India.

Besides the main stream of Hindu mythology there are im-
portant currents in the traditions of the Buddhists and the
Jains. Buddhism has left but faint traces of its former glories
in India itself; undoubtedly from about 500 B.C. to 700 a.d.
it must be ranked among the greatest of Indian religions,
and in the school of the Mahayana, or "Great Vehicle," it de-
veloped an elaborate mythology which displays marked orig-


inal features. In comparison with Buddhism Jainism has added
little to the mythology of India, but in its own way it has de-
veloped many themes of Indian mythology, with the main
doctrines of which it remains in much closer contact than does

The subject, therefore, divides itself, in accordance with the
literary sources upon which any treatment must be based, into
seven divisions:

I. The Period of the Ilgveda (Chapters I and II) ;
II. The Period of the Brdhmanas (Chapter III) ;

III. The Period of the Epics (Chapters IV and V);

IV. The Period of the Purdnas (Chapter VI) ;

V. The Mythology of Buddhism (Chapter VII) ;
VI. The Mythology of Jainism (Chapter VIII);
VII. The Mythology of Modern India (Chapter IX).

Islam / History of Islam
« on: July 10, 2019, 09:58:21 AM »


No Abraham excisted, so why then abrahamic religion?? And like prophet said muslims-christians-jews are people of the (same) BOOK not books.
Bible Unearthed Discoveries of Old versions of the bible)
no abraham, migration from mesopotamia

 and thats easy to prove: the saying : THY children of Israel is 738 times in Thorah/ 7 times in christian bible............................ and 25 times in Quran ROFL OL
the sacred city of mecca=petra (becca)

The Sacred City (Religious Documentary) | Timeline

Semitic Mythology / Semitic Mythology
« on: July 08, 2019, 11:51:56 PM »
1916 Semitic Mythology
pag.39: The Hebrew
tradition connected
their ancestral home
with SYRIA,  (so NOT PALESTINE !) also page 72 Habiru OR saishu Dilmun Saudi Arabia?
and especially with the “land
of the rivers,” the region of Harran and
Paddan on the river Balih.


Volume V









Copyright, 1931

By Marshall Jones Company, Incorporated

Copyrighted in Great Britain

All rights reserved including the right to re-
produce this hook or parts thereof in any form

Printed July, 1931








-f ^ OQO
-L O G O

Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2016



Introduction xv

Chapter I. Geographical and Linguistic Distribution

OF Semitic Races, and Deities i

II. The Sumero-Accadian Pantheon .... 88

III. The Legend of Etana and the Plant of

Birth i66

IV. The Myth of Adapa and Adam 175

V. The Sumerian Legends of Tagtug and

Paradise 190

VI. Legends of the Deluge 203

VII. The Epic of Gilgamish 234

VIII. Legends of the Destruction of Men, or

THE Poem of Ea and Atarhasis 270

IX. The Babylonian Epic of Creation and Simi-
lar Semitic Myths 277

X. The Descent of Ishtar to Arallu .... 326

XI. Tammuz and Ishtar 336

XII. The Devils, Demons, Good and Evil Spirits 352

Notes 375

Bibliography 419

Index 433



1 Sabaean Altar 3

A. Grohmann, Gottersymbole, Abb. 88.

2 Lapis-lazuli Seal 4

Delaporte , i, PI. 35, No. 7.

3 Copper Coin with Crescent and Disk 4

From cast supplied by the British Museum. See p. 377, n. 9.

4 Copper Coin Shewing Sacred Baetyl 16

G. F. Hill , PL iv. 2.

5 Basalt Statue of Busares 17

Syria, V. PI. xx. No. 2.

6 Tyche of Antioch 18

Journal of Hellenic studies, ix, after P. Gardner.

7 Tyche of Damascus 19

Journal Asiatique, 1904, PI. i, No. 2.

8 Head of Tyche 1 9

G. F. Hill ,Pl. vi. 10.

9 The Assyrian Tyche 23

Sidney Smith, History of Assyria, p. 233.

10 Venus as Goddess of War 24

Langdon [h], PI. i, No. 1.

11 Ishtar’s War Chariot 27

Langdon [d], PI. vii, No. 2.

12 Enkidu and the Bull of Heaven 29

A. Boissier, Note sur deux cylindres orientaux, p. 9.

13 Egyptian Bas-relief, Shewing ‘Anat facing 30

H. Gressmann, Texte und Bilder^ PI. cxiv, opp. p. 30.

14 Hesi-Nekht Astart of Beth-shan facing 32

From photograph supplied by the University Museum, Philadel-
phia, opp. p. 31.

15 Terra-cotta Shrine of Beth-shan 31

Museum Journal, Vol. xvii, p. 295.

16 Ishtar Parakyptousa 32

D. G. Hogarth, Efhesus, PI. 28, No. 5.

17 Terra-cotta Movable Altar 33

W. Andrae, Die Archaischen Ischtar-Temfel, Taf. 17.




1 8 Nude Ishtar 34

R. Koldewey, Das wiedererstehende Babylon, p. 271.

19 Azizos and Monimos 35

Revue Archeologique, 1903, Part ii, p. 130.

After R. Dusseaud.

20 ‘Ate of Hierapolis 36

E. Babelon, Les Rots Perses, p. lii, Fig. 15.

21 Atargatis 36

H. Strong and J. Garstang, The Syrian Goddess, p. 70.

22 Western Type of Adad-Rimmon 39

Revue d^Assyriologie, xiii, p. 16, PI. ii, No. 16, after V. Scheil.

23 Yaw, Coin of Gaza 43

G. F. Hill, Coins of Palestine, PI. xix, 29.

24 Astart-Yaw 44

E. Babelon, Les Rois Perses, PI. viii. No. 7.

25 Stele of Mikal of Beisan jacing 44

Museum Journal, xix, p. 150. See pp. 46-8.

26 Bas-relief from Moab 46

H. Gressmann, Texte und Bilder^ Abb. 617.

27 Phoenician Deity, from Amrith 47

Ibid. Abb. 307.

28 SealofAddumu 48

Catalogue De Clercq, Vol. i. No. 386.

29 Seal of Rameses II 49

Museum Journal, xx, p. 55.

30 Coin of Tyre, Melkart on Sea-horse 51

E. Babelon, Les Rois Perses, PI. xxxv. No. 13.

31 Colonial Coin of Tyre with Sun Pillars 51

Ibid, xxxvii. No. 16.

32 Coin of Tyre 53

Ibid, xxxv. No. 20.

33 Sun-symbol of Tyre in Chariot 54

Ibid, xxxii, No. 15.

34 Tessara from Palmyra 57

Comptes Rendus de PAcademie frangaise, 1903, p. 277.

35 Bas-relief; Semia, Solar Deity, Adad 59

Revue Archeologique, 1904, Part ii, p. 249.

36 Sumerian Roll Seal 60

Otto Weber, Siegelbilder, No. 375.

37 Palmyrene Altar 62

Memoir es de PInstitut frangais, xx, PI. i. No. i.

After Layard.




38 El with Wings. Astarte 68

E. Babelon, Les Rots Perses, PI. xxvii, No. 4.

39 Seal Shewing Two-headed Marduk 69

Babyloniaca, ix, p. 78, No. 128, after Contenau.

40 Stele of Yehaw-Melek 70

H. Gressmann, Texts uni Bilder^ Abb. 516.

41 Coin of Elagabalus. Eshmun the Healer 77

G. F. Hill, Coins of Phoenicia, PI. x, No. 14.

42 Statue of Dagan 8 1

Archiv fur Keilschriftforschung, iii, p. iii, after Nassoubi.

43 Coin Shewing Dagon 83

G. F. Hill, Coins of Phoenicia, PI. xlv. No. i.

44 Babylonian Bronze Plaque 85

Bronze Plaque in Collection de Clercq, after Catalogue De Clercq
ii, PI. xxxiv.

45 Assyrian Cone Seal with Fish-men 86

W. H. Ward, Seal Cylinders of Western Asia, No. 659.

46 Pictograph for Earth-goddess 90

Design by the author.

47 Grain-goddess 90

Catalogue De Clercq, No. 140.

48 God with Overflowing Waters 95

Revue d' Assyriologie, v, p. 131.

49 Winged Angel with Water of Life 96

Museum Journal, xviii, p. 75.

50 Gilgamish with Jar of Overflowing Water 98

Catalogue De Clercq, No. 46.

51 Boundary Stone of Melishipak facing 106

Delegation en Perse, i, PL xvi, opp. p. 105.

52 Top of a Water Jar IIO

Langdon, S. [d], PI. xiii. No. 2.

53 Mother and Child Ill

From photograph by the Oxford-Field Museum Expedition.

54 Ningirsu 116

Delaporte L. , p. 13, T. no.

55 Marduk in Chariot 118

W. H. Ward, Seal Cylinders of Western Asia, No. 127.

56 Musrussu 127

R. Koldewey, Das wiedererstehenie Babylon, Fig. 31.




57 Ninurta Pursuing Musrussu 131

W. H. Ward, Seal Cylinders of Western Asia, No. 579.

58 Seal from Kish 133

From photograph by the Oxford-Field Museum Expedition.

59 Terra-cotta Bas-relief from Kish 137

From photograph by the Oxford-Field Museum Expedition.

60 Sun-god and Hammurabi 149

Delegation en Perse, iv, PI. iii.

61 Four-pointed Star 150

Babyloniaca, ii, p. 144.

62 Model of Statue of Shamash 151

H. C. Rawlinson, Inscriptions of Western Asia, v, PI. 57.

63 Coin of Caracalla Shewing Moon-god 154

Hill, G. F. , PI. xii. No. 8.

64 Assyrian Seal. Marduk and Nabu 159

Delaporte, L. [c], PI. 88, A 686.

65 Combat of Eagle and Serpent 1 70

Museum Journal, xix, p. 392, No. 28.

66 Etana on Eagle 172

O. Weber, Siegelbilder, No. 404.

67 Ilabrat or Papsukkal 176

From photograph by the Oxford-Field Museum Expedition.

68 Serpent and Tree of Life (?) 177

Delegation en Perse, xii. Fig. 288, after Toscane. See p. 179.

69 Woman and Serpent 178

Ibid., Fig. 299, after Toscane, see p. 179.

70 The Temptation According to Sumerian Myth 179

W. H. Ward, Seal Cylinders of Western Asia, No. 388.

71 Deity Offering Poppy Branch to a Worshipper 186

L. W. King, History of Sumer and Accad, p. 246.

72 Goddess Offering Palm Branch to Three Gods .... 187

Delaporte, L. [a]. No. 81.

73 Mother-goddess, Worshipper, and Tammuz 188

Ibid., No. III.

74 Flood Stratum at Kish facing 216

From photograph by the Oxford-Field Museum Expedition, opp.
p. 204.

75 Babylonian Map of the World 217

From CT. xxii, PL 48, after R. C. Thompson. Restored conjec-
turally, with omission of cuneiform text.

76 Enkidu in Combat with Two Lions 237

Revue d'Assyriologie, vi, p. 156, PI. i. No. 4.



77 Gilgamish and Enkidu 238

From photograph by the Oxford-Field Museum Expedition.

78 Gilgamish, Enkidu, and Ishtar 245

Louis Speelers, Catalogue des Intailles et Emfreintes Orientates des
Musees Royaux du Cinquantenaire, p. 166.

79 Terra-cotta Mask of Humbaba 254

Revue d’Assyriologie, xxii, p. 23.

80 Terra-cotta Bas-relief of Humbaba 255

Ibid., p. 25.

81 Combat of Marduk and a Dragon 278

Otto Weber, Siegelbilder, No. 3 1 1 .

82 Combat of Marduk and Zu 279

W. H. Ward, Seal Cylinders of Western Asia, No. 580.

83 Combat of Marduk and Scorpion-man 280

Delaporte, L. [c], No. 652.

84 Combat of Marduk and the Eagle-headed Lion 281

W. H. Ward, Seal Cylinders of Western Asia, No. 585.

85 Marduk in Combat with Winged Lion 282

From photograph by the Oxford-Field Museum Expedition.

86 Combat of Marduk and a Dragon (Ostrich) 283

Delaporte, L. [a]. No. 330.

87 Man in Combat with Sphinx 284

Ibid., No. 325.

88 The Dragon Musrussu 285

Revue d’Assyriologie, vi, p. 96.

89 The Constellations Leo and Hydra as Musrussu .... 286

Archiv fiir Keilschriftforschung, iv, PI. v.

90 Marduk and Musrussu . 301

F. Weissbach, Babylonische Miscellen, p. 16.

91 Constellations Corvus, Hydra, and Virgo 305

Revue d’Assyriologie, xvi, p. 135.

92 The Pleiades. Moon in Taurus 305

Archiv fiir Keilschriftforschung, iv, PI. v.

93 The Tower of Babel 309

Journal of the Society of Oriental Research, xiv, p. 2.

94 Bas-relief of Ishtar 331

From photograph by the Oxford-Field Museum Expedition.

95 The Arabian Ghoul 353

C. M. Doughty, W anderings in Arabia, i, p. 54.

96 Assyrian Winged 359

L. W. King, Guide to the Babylonian and Assyrian Antiquities^
p. 10, PI. iv.




97 The Sumerian Lamassu 360

H. R. Hall, Assyrian Sculptures, PI. Ixviii, BM. 90954.

98 Lamashtu Sent on Her Journey jacing 368

Photograph from Beiblatt zuni Jahrbuch des Konigl-Preusz.
Kunstsatnlung. See p. 417, note 39, opposite p. 367.

99 Babylonian Amulet. Expulsion of Lamashtu 368

F. Weissbach, Babylonische Miscellen, p. 42.

100 Babylonian Amulet. Seven Devils and Lamashtu .... 370

Revue d'Assyriologie, xviii, PI. i, No. 2, after F. Thureau-Dangin.

1 01 Pazuzu, Demon of the Winds 371

Museum Journal, viii (1917), p. 43.

102 Head of Pazuzu

Revue d’Assyriologie, xi, p. 57.



T he subject of this book offered such great difficulties in
the vastness of its material, in its contents, time, and geo-
graphical extent, in its significance as the presentation of the
mythology and religion of those cognate races, on whose soil
arose three great religions of the world, Judaism, Christianity,
and Mohammedanism, that the author has been embarrassed
by the difficulty of selecting what is strictly essential. Since the
notable effort of W. Robertson Smith to compass in a single
volume the religion of the Semitic races in his Religion of the
Semites (1889, 1894, 1901), in which the most important of
all Semitic races, the Accadian, was almost entirely neglected,
and the equally valuable survey by M. P. Lagrange, l^tudes sur
les religions semitiques (1903, 1905), the material, especially
in Cuneiform, South Arabian, and Phoenician, has increased to
such extent that the whole subject appears in a new light. This
book has been written almost entirely from the sources in the
original languages, Sumerian, Accadian, Hebrew, Phoenician,
Aramaic, Himyaritic (South Arabic), and Arabic. In the case
of the sources in the last two mentioned languages I have had
from time to time the invaluable assistance of my colleague.
Dr. D. S. Margoliouth, Laudian Professor of Arabic. On all
important points the specialists are requested to refer to the
notes j more especially have I felt bound to state in these the
philological reasons for arguments and translations based upon
Sumerian and Accadian texts. Here the new material is so im-
portant, and in some cases utilized for the first time, that the
notes are necessarily numerous.

In the translation of Sumerian and Accadian texts a few pe-
culiarities must be made clear to the general reader. Words in



italics indicate that the meaning of the corresponding words of
the texts has not been fully established. It may appear incon-
sistent to find both “ land” and “ Land” in the translations;
“ Land ” is employed only when the Sumerian kalam-ma, Ac-
cadian matu, refer to the “ home-land,” that is, Sumer, Accad,
Babylonia, Assyria. In this book “ Accadian ” means the
Semitic languages of Babylonia and Assyria, which are funda-
mentally identical. Sumerian is not a Semitic language, but no
discussion of Semitic religion is possible without the Sumerian
sources. This language belongs to the agglutinating group, and
was spoken by the earliest inhabitants of Mesopotamia. They
founded the great cities of that land, Opis, Sippar, Kish, Nip-
pur, Erech, Ellasar, Shuruppak, Ur, Eridu, Lagash, etc., long
before 4000 b.c., and formulated the religious system which
the Accadians adopted. The date of the entry of the Semites
into Mesopotamia is uncertain, and it is even debatable whether
they are not as ancient in that land as the Sumerians themselves.
The entire evidence of the very early inscriptions proves that
the Sumerians not only invented the pictographic script, which
they developed into the more easily written cuneiform script,
but that they already had a very considerable literature, and a
great pantheon, when the Semites learned to write, and adopted
their religion and culture. The new material, now rapidly in-
creasing for the study of the most remote period of writing, tends
to confirm this view of the origin of Babylonian and Assyrian
mythology and religion. In taking a general survey of the
whole field of Semitic religion, over the wide territory of
Western Asia, and through the four thousand years and more
in which it ran its course, it is clear that it can be classified into
two large groups. The religion and mythology of all those
Semitic peoples, which, by accident of geographical contiguity
and cultural influence, came into contact with the advanced and
affluent civilization of Sumer and Accad, Babylonia and As-
syria, became heavy borrowers from that source. Sumero-
Babylonian cults established themselves in the very midst of



the old Canaanitish, Aramaean, Phoenician, Moabite, and
Nabataean cults. The mythological conceptions of their own
deities were assimilated to or transformed by the doctrines
taught in the great temples of Sumer and Accad. Their
legends and myths are almost entirely of Sumero-Babylonian
origin. The cult of Tammuz, the lord of weeping and the
resurrection, appears firmily established at Gebal on the shores
of the Mediterranean at an early period. On the other hand
there is only the religion of Arabia, which remained entirely
outside the mission of the higher culture and theology of Sumer
and Accad.

There are, then, only two great currents of mythology and
religion in the Semitic lands — the Sumero-Babylonian of the
east and north, and the Arabian of the south. In the great cur-
rent of the northern stream are mingled many pure Semitic
sources in the west. Some of their cults, notably that of Adad,
actually influenced the mythology of Sumer and Accad. Of
these two systems of mythology, the Sumero-Babylonian is
Infinitely more profound and elaborate. Here alone great
mythological poems and epics were written, which attempted
to grapple with the problems of life, the origin of the universe,
the relation of the gods to men, the salvation of their souls.

In exposing the fundamental facts of the mythologies of the
western group, the history of Hebrew religion is a unique ele-
ment in the vast Semitic field. Although from the beginning
and during its entire evolution the religion of this small
Canaanitish people was constantly influenced by Babylonian
mythology, they alone of all the western peoples seem to have
understood the Import of the profound problems conveyed in
the guise of the legendary poems and epic verse of Babylonia
and Assyria. Converted into their own magnificent Hebrew
prose and poetry and in terms of their conception of deity,
Sumero-Babylonian theology and mythology found there their
greatest interpreter and means of transmission to the religions
which became the heirs of the ancient Semitic world. And it



must be obvious to all unprejudiced minds, who have a clear
view of the whole sphere of Semitic religions, that Hebrew reli-
gion stands entirely apart and reached a higher plane at the
hands of “ Jehovah’s ” prophets. The author was bound to con-
fine himself strictly to mythology in this volume. In the pro-
phetic works of the Hebrew sources much mythology survives,
and use of it may lead to the inference that their place in the
history of religions does not differ essentially from the great
poets and teachers of Babylonia. This is clearly untrue. The
evolution of Hebrew religion is unique in the history of the

Some of the views and arguments in this book undoubtedly
invite criticism. The quo warranto for all statements has been
defined in the notes and elucidated in the text. After long
study of the Semitic and Sumerian sources I have become con-
vinced that totemism and demonology have nothing to do with
the origins of Sumerian or Semitic religions. The former can-
not be proved at all} the latter is a secondary aspect of them.
I may fail to carry conviction in concluding that, both in Su-
merian and Semitic religions, monotheism preceded polytheism
and belief in good and evil spirits. The evidence and reasons
for this conclusion, so contrary to accepted and current views,
have been set down with care and with the perception of ad-
verse criticism. It is, I trust, the conclusion of knowledge and
not of audacious preconception.

To the editor of this series. Canon John A. MacCulloch, I am
indebted for his valuable proof-reading and assistance in edi-
torial details. I feel that I have put upon him an unusual
amount of labour in editing my manuscript, and I am grateful
to him for his assistance. My friends, Pere Schell, Professor of
Assyriology at the Sorbonne, Dr. F. Thureau-Dangin, Profes-
sor Zimmern of Leipzig, and many others have constantly kept
me supplied with their books and articles before they were ac-
cessible in ordinary commerce. The works of these three bril-
liant scholars have been of special value in the elucidation of

Irianian Mythology / Irianian Mythology
« on: July 08, 2019, 07:30:10 PM »







THE purpose of this essay on Iranian mythology is exactly
set forth by its title: it is a reasonably complete account
of what is mythological in Iranian traditions, but it is nothing
more; since it is exclusively concerned with myths, all that is
properly religious, historical, or archaeological has intention-
ally been omitted. This is, indeed, the first attempt of its kind,
for although there are several excellent delineations of Iranian
customs and of Zoroastrian beliefs, they mention the myths
only secondarily and because they have a bearing on those
customs and beliefs. The consequent inconveniences for the
student of mythology, in the strict sense of the term, are
obvious, and his difficulties are increased by the fact that, with
few exceptions, these studies are either concerned with the
religious history of Iran and for the most part refer solely to the
older period, or are devoted to Persian literature and give only
brief allusions to Mazdean times. Though we must congratu-
late the Warners for their Illuminating prefaces to the various
chapters of their translation of the Shdhndmah, it is evident
that too little has thus far been done to connect the Persian
epic with Avestic myths.

None the less, the value and the interest presented by a
study of Iranian mythology is of high degree, not merely from
a specialist's point of view for knowledge of Persian civilization
and mentality, but also for the material which it provides for
mythologlsts in general. Nowhere else can we so clearly follow
the myths In their gradual evolution toward legend and tra-
ditional history. We may often trace the same stories from the
period of living and creative mythology in the Vedas through
the Avestic times of crystallized and systematized myths to


the theological and mystic accounts of the Pahlavi books, and
finally to the epico-historic legends of FIrdausi.

There is no doubt that such was the general movement in
the development of the historic stories of Iran. Has the
evolution sometimes operated in the reverse direction? Dr.
L. H. Gray, who knows much about Iranian mythology, seems
to think so in connexion with the myth of Yima, for in his
article on "Blest, Abode of the (Persian)," in the Encyclo-
pcedia of Religion and Ethics, ii. 702-04 (Edinburgh, 1909), he
presents an interesting hypothesis by which Yima's successive
openings of the world to cultivation would appear to allude to
Aryan migrations. It has seemed to me that this story has,
rather, a mythical character, in conformity with my inter-
pretation of Yima's personality; but in any event a single case
would not alter our general conclusions regarding the course
of the evolution of mythology in Persia.

Another point of interest presented by Iranian mythology
is that it collects and unites into a coherent system legends
from two sources which are intimately connected with the two
great racial eleiyients of our civilization. The Aryan myths of
the Vedas appear in Iran, but are greatly modified by the
influence of the neighbouring populations of the valleys of the
Tigris and the Euphrates — Sumerians, Assyrians, etc. Occa-
sional comparisons of Persian stories with Vedic myths or
Babylonian legends have accordingly been introduced into
the account of Iranian mythology to draw the reader's atten-
tion to curious coincidences which, in our present state of
knowledge, have not yet received any satisfactory explanation.
In a paper read this year before the American Oriental Society
I have sought to carry out this method of comparison in more
systematic fashion, but studies of such a type find no place in
the present treatise, which is strictly documentary and presen-
tational in character. The use of hypotheses has, therefore,
been carefully restricted to what was absolutely required to
present a consistent and rational account of the myths and to


permit them to be classified according to their probable nature.
Due emphasis has also been laid upon the great number of
replicas of the same fundamental story. Throughout my work
my personal views are naturally implied, but I have sought to
avoid bold and hazardous hypotheses.

It has been my endeavour not merely to assemble the myths
of Iran Into a consistent account, but also to give a readable
form to my expose, although I fear that Iranian mythology is
often so dry that many a passage will seem rather Insipid. If
this impression is perhaps relieved in many places, that happy
result is largely due to the poetic colouring of Darmesteter's
translation of the Avesta and of the Warners' version of the
Shdhndmah. The editor of the series has also employed his
talent in versifying such of my quotations from the Avesta as
are in poetry in the original. In so doing he has, of course,
adhered to the metre in which these portions of the Avesta
are written, and which is familiar to English readers as being
that of Longfellow's Hiawatha, as it is also that of the Finnish
Kalevala. Where prose Is mixed with verse in these passages
Dr. Gray has reproduced the original commingling. While,
however, I am thus indebted to him as well as to Darmesteter,
Mills, Bartholomae, West, and the Warners for their meritori-
ous translations, these versions have been compared in all
necessary cases with the original texts.

My hearty gratitude Is due to Professor A. V. Williams
Jackson, who placed the library of the Indo-Iranian Seminar at
Columbia University at my disposal and gave me negatives of
photographs taken by him in Persia and used in his Persia Past
and Present. It is this hospitality and that of the University
of Pennsylvania which have made it possible for me to pursue
my researches after the destruction of my library in Louvain.
Dr. Charles J. Ogden of New York City also helped me in
many ways. For the colour-plates I am indebted to the cour-
tesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, where the
Persian manuscripts of the Shdhndmah were generously placed


at my service; and the Open Court Publishing Company of

Chicago has permitted the reproduction of four illustrations

from their issue of The Mysteries of Mithra.


University of Pennsylvania,
I November, 1916.


THE transcription of Avesta, Pahlavi, and Persian adopted
in this study is of a semi-popular character, for it has been
felt that the use of the strictly technical transliterations — x for
kh, 7 for gh, 6 for th, etc., and the employment of "superior "
letters to indicate spurious diphthongs, as vdrya for vairya —
would confuse readers who are not professed Iranists. This
technical transcription is of value for philologists, not for

The vowels have in general the Italian value and are short
or long, the latter being indicated by the macron. The vowel ^,
which, except in a few technical passages in the Notes, is here
written <?, is pronounced with the dull sound of the "neutral
vowel," much as e in English the man, when uttered rapidly;
^ is a nasalized vowel, roughly like the French nasalized am or
an] do has the sound of a in English all (in strict transcription
do should be written dp) ; di and du are pronounced as in English
aisle and Latin aurum; in ae, ao, eu, eu (properly pu, pu), and
di both components are sounded; ere (properly ptp) represents
the vocalic r, as in English better (bettr). Sometimes the metre
shows that a diphthong is to be monophthongized or that a
single long vowel is to be resolved into two short ones (cf.
Ch. V, Note 54, Ch. V, Note 13); this depends chiefly on
etymology, and no rule can be given to govern all cases of
such occurrences.

The consonants are pronounced in general as in English.
The deviations are: c is pronounced like English ch in church
or Italian c in cicerone; g is always hard; t stands midway be-
tween t and d; zh is like z in English azure or like French ; in
jour; khv represents the Scottish or German ch -\r v; kh, gh, th,


dh, /, and w are pronounced as in Scottish loch or German achy
German Tag, English thin, this, far, and win respectively.

In the quotations from the Shdhndmah the Arabic letters
d, h, and q occur; d and h are pronounced very emphatically,
and q is a. k produced deep in the throat. The transcription
employed in the Warner translation of FirdausI differs some-
what, but not sufficiently to cause confusion, as when, for
instance, following the Persian rather than the Arabic pro-
nunciation, they write Zahhak instead of Dahhak, etc. They
also use the acute accent instead of the macron to denote long
vowels, as i instead of i, etc.


ETHNOLOGIC ALLY the Persians are closely akin to the
Aryan races of India, and their religion, which shows many
points of contact with that of the Vedic Indians, was dominant
in Persia until the Muhammadan conquest of Iran in the seventh
century of our era. One of the most exalted and the most inter-
esting religions of the ancient world, it has been for thirteen
hundred years practically an exile from the land of its birth,
but it has found a home in India, where it is professed by the
relatively small but highly influential community of Parsis,
who, as their name ("Persians") implies, are descendants of
immigrants from Persia. The Iranian faith is known to us both
from the inscriptions of the Achaemenian kings (558-330 B.C.)
and from the Avesta, the latter being an extensive collection of
hymns, discourses, precepts for the religious life, and the like,
the oldest portions dating back to a very early period, prior to
the dominion of the great kings. The other parts are consider-
ably later and are even held by several scholars to have been
written after the beginning of the Christian era. In the period
of the Sassanlans, who reigned from about 226 to 641 a.d,,
many translations of the Avesta and commentaries on it were
made, the language employed in them being not Avesta (which
Is closely related to the VedIc Sanskrit tongue of India), but
Pahlavi, a more recent dialect of Iranian and the older form of
Modern Persian. A large number of traditions concerning the
Iranian gods and heroes have been preserved only in Pahlavi, es-
pecially in the Bundahish, or "Book of Creation." Moreover
the huge epic in Modern Persian, written by the great poet
Firdausi, who died about 1025 a.d., and known under the name


of Shdhndmah, or "Book of the Kings," has likewise rescued a
great body of traditions and legends which would otherwise
have passed into oblivion; and though in the epic these affect
a more historical guise, in reality they are generally nothing but
humanized myths.

This is not the place to give an account of the ancient Per-
sian religion, since here we have to deal with mythology only.
It will suffice, therefore, to recall that for the great kings as
well as for the priests, who were followers of Zor^agter (A vesta
Zarathushtra), the great prophet of Iran, no god can be com-
pared with Ahura Mazda, the wise creator of all good beings.
Under him are the Amesha Spentas, or "Immortal Holy
Ones," and the Yazatas, or "Venerable Ones," who are secon-
dary deities. The Amesha Spentas have two aspects. In the
moral sphere they embody the essential attainments of re-
ligious life: "Righteousness" (Asha or Arta), "Good Mind"
(Vohu Manah), "Desirable Kingdom" (Khshathra Vairya),
"Wise Conduct" and "Devotion" (Spenta Armaiti), "Perfect
Happiness" (Haurvatat), and "Immortality" (Ameretat).
In their material nature they preside over the whole world as
guardians: Asha is the spirit of fire, Vohu Manah is the pro-
tector of domestic animals, Khshathra Vairya is the patron of
metals, Spenta Armaiti presides over earth, Haurvatat over
water, and Ameretat over plants.

The Amesha Spentas constitute Ahura Mazda's court, and
l^ it is through them that he governs the world and brings men to
sanctity. Below Ahura Mazda and the Amesha Spentas come
the Yazatas, who are for the most part ancient Aryan divini-
ties reduced in the Zoroastrian system to the rank of auxiliary
angels. Of these we may mention Atar, the personification of
that fire which plays so important a part in the Mazdean cult
that its members have now become commonly, though quite
erroneously, known as "Fire- Worshippers"; and by the side
of the genius of fire is found one of water, Anahita.

Mithra is by all odds the most important Yazata. Although

Iranian Deities on Indo-Scythian Coins


The Iranian god of light with the solar disk about his head.
From a coin of the Indo-Scythian king Huviska. After Stein,
Tioroastrian Deities on Indo-Scythian Coins^ No. I. See pp. 287-88.

2. Apam Napat
The "Child of Waters." The deity is represented with a
horse, thus recalling his Avestic epithet, aurvat-aspa ("with swift
steeds"). From a coin of the Indo-Scythian king Kaniska.
After Stein, Zoroastrian Deities on Indo-Scythian Coins^ No. III.
See pp. 267, 340. ^ y^^^

The moon-god is represented with the characteristic lunar
disk. From a coin of the Indo-Scythian king Huviska. After
Stein, Xoroastrian Deities on Indo-Scythian Coins^No. IV. See p. 278.

4. Vata or Vayu
The wind-god is running forward with hair floating and mantle
flying in the breeze. From a coin of the Indo-Scythian king
Kaniska. After Stein, Zoroastrian Deities on Indo-Scythian Coins^
No. V. See pp. 299, 302.

5. Khvarenanh
The Glory, here called by his Persian name, Farro, holds out the
royal symbol. From a coin of the Indo-Scythian king Huviska.
After Stein, Zoroastrian Deities on Indo-Scythian Coins ^ No. VI.
See pp. 285, 304-05, 311, 324, 332-33, 343.

6. Atar
The god of fire is here characterized by the flames which
rise from his shoulders. From a coin of the Indo-Scythian king
Kaniska. After Stein, Zoroastrian Deities on Indo-Scythian Coins^
No. VII. See pp. ibb-b-j.

7. Vanainti (Uparatat)

This goddess, "Conquering Superiority," is modelled on the
Greek Nike ("Victory"), and seems to carry in one hand the
sceptre of royalty, while with the other she proffers the crown
worn by the Iranian kings. From a coin of the Indo-Scythian
king Huviska. After Stein, Zoroastrian Deities on Indo-Scythian
Coins, No. VlII.

8. Verethraghna

On the helmet of the war-god perches a bird which is doubt-
less the Vareghna. The deity appropriately carries spear and sword.
From a coin of the Indo-Scythian king Kaniska. After Stein,
Zoroastrian Deities on Indo-Scythian Coins, l^o. IX. See pp. 271-73.







pushed by Zoroaster into the background, he always enjoyed
a very popular cult among the people in Persia as the god of the
plighted word, the protector of justice, and the deity who gives
victory in battle against the foes of the Iranians and defends
the worshippers of Truth and Righteousness (Asha), His
cult spread, as is well known, at a later period into the
Roman Empire, and he has as his satellites, to help him in his
function of guardian of Law, Rashnu ("Justice") and Sraosha

Under the gods are the spirits called Fravashis, who origi-
nally were the manes of ancestors, but in the Zoroastrian
creed are genii, attached as guardians to all beings human and

It is generally known that the typical feature of Mazdeism
is dualism, or the doctrine of two creators and two creations.
Ahura Mazda (Ormazd), with his host of Amesha Spentas and
Yazatas, presides over the good creation and wages an inces-
sant war against his counterpart Angra Mainyu (Ahriman) and
the latter's army of noxious spirits. The Principle of Evil has
created darkness, suffering, and sins of all kinds; he is anxious
to hurt the creatures of the good creation; he longs to enslave
the faithful of Ahura Mazda by bringing them into falsehood
or into some impure contact with an evil being; he is often
called Druj ("Deception"). Under him are marshalled the
daevas ("demons"), from six of whom a group has been formed
explicitly antithetic to the Amesha Spentas. Among the demons
are Aeshma ("Wrath, Violence"), Aka Manah ("Evil Mind"),
Biishyasta ("Sloth"), Apaosha ("Drought"), and Nasu
("Corpse"), who takes hold of corpses and makes them im-
pure, to say nothing of the Yatus ("sorcerers") and the Pai-
rikas (Modern Persian pari^ "fairy"), who are spirits of seduc-
tion. The struggle between the good and the evil beings, in
which man takes part by siding, according to his conduct, with
Ahura Mazda or with his foe, is to end with the victory of the
former at the great renovation of the world, when a flood of


molten metal will, as an ordeal, purify all men and bring about
the complete exclusion of evil.

Dualism, having impregnated all Iranian beliefs, profoundly
influenced the mythology of Iran as well or, more exactly, it
was in their mythology that the people of ancient Persia found
the germ that developed into religious dualism.



THE mythology of the Indians and the Iranians has given
a wide extension to the conception of a struggle between
light and darkness, this being the development of myths dating
back to Indo-European times and found among all Indo-
European peoples. Besides the cosmogonic stories in which
monstrous giants are killed by the gods of sky or storm we have
the myths of the storm and of the fire. In the former a heavenly
being slays the dragon concealed in the cloud, whose waters
now flow over the earth; or the god delivers from a monster
the cows of the clouds that are imprisoned in some mountain
or cavern, as, for example, in the legends concerning Herakles
and Geryoneus or Cacus.^ In the second class of myths the
fire of heaven, produced in the cloud or in an aerial sea, is
brought to earth by a bird or by a daring human being like

All these myths tell of a struggle against powers of darkness
for light or for blessings under the form of rain. They were
eminently susceptible of being systematized in a dualistic
form, and the strong tendency toward symbolism, observable
both in old Indian (Vedic) and old Iranian conceptions, re-
sulted in the association of moral ideas with the cosmic
struggle, thus easily leading to dualism.

The recent discoveries in Boghaz Kyoi and elsewhere in the
Near East have shown that the Indo-Iranians were in con-
tact with Assyro-Babylonian culture at an early date, and there

Armenian Mythology / Armenian Mythology
« on: July 07, 2019, 09:02:37 PM »






Volume VII



Illumination from an Armenian Gospel manu-
script in the Library of the Kennedy School of
Missions, Hartford, Connecticut.




GEORGE FOOT MOORE, A.M., D.D., LL.D., Consulting Editor








Copyright, 1925
By Marshall Jones Company

Copyrighted in Great Britain
All rights reserved

Printed June, 1925







B.D., S.T.M.


THE ancient religion of Armenia was derived from three

main sources: National, Iranian, and Asianic. The Asi-
anic element, including the Semitic, does not seem to have ex-
tended beyond the objectionable but widely spread rites of a
mother goddess.

The National element came from Eastern
Europe and must have had a common origin with the Iranian.
But it, no doubt, represents an earlier stage of development
than the Vedas and the Avesta. It is for the well-informed
scholar of Indo-European religion to pronounce a judge-
ment as to the value of the material brought together in this
study. The lexical, folk-loristic, and literary heritage of the
Armenians has much yet to disclose. No one can be more pain-
fully conscious than the author of the defects of this work.
He had to combine research with popular and connected ex-
position, a task far above his ability. The ancient material
was not so scanty as broken. So analogy, wherever it could be
found within the family, was called upon to restore the nat-
ural connections.

Among the numerous writers on Armenian mythology,
three names stand high: Mgrdich Emin of Moscow, Prof.
Heinrich Gelzer of Jena, and Father Leo Alishan of Venice.
Emin laid the foundation of the scientific treatment of Arme-
nian mythology in the middle of the nineteenth century, and
his excellent contribution has become indispensable in this field.
To Heinrich Gelzer, primarily a scholar of Byzantine history,
we owe the latest modern study of the Armenian Pantheon.
As for Alishan, he was a poet and an erudite, but had hardly
any scientific training. So his Ancient Faith of Armenia is a



naive production abounding in more or less inaccessible ma-
terial of high value and in sometimes suggestive but more often
strange speculations. Manug Abeghian will rightly claim the
merit of having given to Armenian folk-lore a systematic form,
while A. Aharonian’s thesis on the same subject is not devoid
of interest. Unfortunately Stackelberg’s article, written in
Russian, was accessible to the author only in an Armenian
resume. Sandalgian’s Histone Documentaire de VArmeme ,
which appeared in 1917 but came to the author’s notice only
recently, contains important chapters on ancient Armenian
religion and mythology. The part that interprets Urartian
inscriptions through ancient Greek and Armenian has not met
with general recognition among scholars. But his treatment of
the classic and mediaeval material is in substantial accord with
this book. The main divergences have been noted.

Grateful thanks are due to the editors as well as the publish-
ers for their forbearance with the author’s idiosyncrasies and
limitations. Also a hearty acknowledgement must be made here
to my revered teacher and colleague, Prof. Duncan B. Mac-
donald of the Hartford Theological Seminary, to Prof. Lewis
Hodous of the Kennedy School of Missions, and to Dr. John
W. Chapman of the Case Memorial Library for many fertile
suggestions. Prof. Macdonald, himself an ardent and able
folk-lorist, and Prof. Hodous, a student of Chinese religions,
carefully read this work and made many helpful suggestions.

Hartford, Connecticut,
April 23, 1922.


Publisher’s Note

The death of Professor Ananikian occurred while this vol-
ume was in preparation. He did not see the final proofs.



L ONG before the Armenians came to occupy the lofty pla-
teau, south of the Caucasus, now known by their name,
it had been the home of peoples about whom we possess only
scanty information. It matters little for our present purpose,
whether the older inhabitants consisted of different ethnic
types, having many national names and languages, or whether
they were a homogeneous race, speaking dialects of the same
mother tongue and having some common name. For the
sake of convenience we shall call them Urartians, as the As-
syrians did. The Urartians formed a group of civilized states
mostly centreing around the present city of Van. Although
they left wonderful constructions and many cuneiform inscrip-
tions, we depend largely on the Assyrian records for our in-
formation concerning their political history.

It would seem that the Urartians belonged to the same non-
Aryan and non-Semitic stock of peoples as the so-called Hit-
tites who held sway in the Western Asiatic peninsula long
before Indo-European tribes such as Phrygians, Mysians,
Lydians, and Bithynians came from Thrace, and Scythians and
Cimmerians from the north of the Black Sea to claim the pen-
insula as their future home.

The Urartians were quite warlike and bravely held their
own against the Assyrian ambitions until the seventh century
b.c., when their country, weakened and disorganized through
continual strife, fell an easy prey to the Armenian conquerors



The coming of the Armenians into Asia Minor, according
to the classical authorities, forms a part of the great exodus
from Thrace. By more than one ancient and intelligent
writer, they are declared to have been closely related to
the Phrygians whom they resembled both in language and
costume, and with whom they stood in Xerxes’ army, ac-
cording to Herodotus. 1 Slowly moving along the southern
shores of the Black Sea, they seem to have stopped for a while
in what was known in antiquity as Armenia Minor, which,
roughly speaking, lies southeast of Pontus and just north-
east of Cappadocia. Thence they must have once more set
out to conquer the promised land, the land of the Urartians,
where they established themselves as a military aristocracy in
the mountain fastnesses and the fortified cities, driving most
of the older inhabitants northward, reducing the remainder to
serfdom, taxing them heavily, employing them in their in-
ternal and external wars, and gradually but quite effectively
imposing upon them their own name, language, religion, and
cruder civilization. It is very natural that such a relation
should culminate in a certain amount of fusion between the
two races. This is what took place, but the slow process be-
came complete only in the middle ages when the Turkish
(Seljuk) conquest of the country created a terrible chaos in the
social order.

Very soon after the Armenian conquest of Urartu, even be-
fore the new lords could organize and consolidate the land into
anything like a monarchy, Armenia was conquered by Cyrus
(558-529 b.c.), then by Darius (524-485 b.c.). After the
meteoric sweep of Alexander the Great through the eastern
sky, it passed into Macedonian hands. But in 190 b.c., under
Antiochus the Great, two native satraps shook off the Seleucid
yoke. One of them was Artaxias, who with the help of the
fugitive Hannibal, planned and built Artaxata, on the Araxes,
as his capital. Under the dynasty of this king, who became a



legendary hero, the country prospered for a while and attained
with Tigranes the Great (94-54 b.c.) an ephemeral greatness
without precedent until then and without any parallel ever
since. In 66 a.d. a branch of the Parthian (Arsacid) Dynasty
was established in Armenia under the suzerainty and protec-
tion of Rome. The first king of this house was Tiridates I,
formerly the head of the Magi of his country, who may have
done much in Armenia for the establishment of Zoroastrianism.
It was under Tiridates II, a scion of this royal house, that,
in the beginning of the fourth century of our era, Christianity,
long present in the country, and often persecuted, achieved its
fuller conquest.



HE URARTIANS believed in a supreme being, the god

of heaven, whose name was Khaldi. If not the whole,
at least a large part of the population called itself Khaldian,
a name which survived the final downfall of the Urartian state
in a province situated northwest of Armenia where evidently
the old inhabitants were driven by the Armenian conquerors.
In their ancient non-Aryan pantheon, alongside of Khaldi stood
Theispas, a weather-god or thunderer of a very wide repute
in Western Asia, and Artinis, the sun-god. These three male
deities came to form a triad, under Babylonian influence. From
the fact that in one Babylonian triad composed of Sin (the
moon), Shamas (the sun) and Ramman (a weather-god),
Sin is the lord of the heavens, scholars have concluded that
Khaldi may have been also (or become) a moon-god.
Whether this be the case or not, the Urartian pantheon contains
a secondary moon-god called Shelartish. Besides these no less
than forty-six secondary, mostly local, deities are named
in an official (sacrificial?) list. The original Khaldian pan-
theon knew no female deity. Thus it stands in glaring contrast
with Asianic (Anatolian) religions in which the mother goddess
occupies a supreme position. But in the course of time, Ishtar
of Babylon, with her singularly pervasive and migratory char-
acter, found her way into Urartu, under the name of Sharis . 1

One may safely assume that at least in the later stage of its
political existence, long before the arrival of the Armenians



on the scene, Urartu had made some acquaintance with the
Indo-Iranians and their Aryan manners and beliefs. For
the Medes had begun their national career long before 935
b.c., and a little later the Scythians had established themselves
in Manna, an Eastern dependency of Urartu. 2

As an undeniable evidence of such influences we may point
to the fact that in Manna, Khaldi had become identified with
Bag-Mashtu (Bag-Mazda) a sky-god and probably an older
form of the Iranian Ahura Mazda.

It is in the midst of such a religion and civilization that the
Armenians came to live. Their respect for it is attested by the
fact that the ancient Urartian capital, Thuspa (the present
Van), was spared, and that another (later) capital, Armavira
in the North, became a sacred city for them, where according
to the national legend even royal princes engaged in the art of
divination through the rustling leaves of the sacred poplar
(Armen. Saus ). On the other hand the vestiges of Armenian
paganism conclusively show that the newcomers lent to the
Urartians infinitely more than they borrowed from them.

The Thracians and Phrygians, with whom the Armenians
were related, had in later times a crude but mystic faith and
a simple pantheon.

Ramsay, in his article on the Phrygians 3 assumes that the
chief deity whom the Thracian influx brought into Asia-
Minor was male, and as the native religion was gradually
adopted by the conquerors, this god associated himself with,
and usurped certain functions of, the Asianic goddess. At all
events the Phrygians, who had a sky-god called Bagos Papaios,
must have had also an earth-goddess Semele (Persian Zamin)
who no doubt became identified with some phase of the native
goddess (Kybele, Ma, etc.). The confusion of the earth-
goddess with the moon seems to have been a common phenome-
non in the nearer East. Dionysos or Sabazios represented the
principle of fertility of nature, without any marked reference



to the human race. He was a god of moisture and vegetation.
The com that sustains life, and the wine and beer that gladden
the heart, were his gifts. These things sprang from the
bosom of mother earth, through his mysterious influence, for
the earth and he were lovers.

Further the Thracians and Phrygians at the winter solstice,
held wild orgies (Bacchanalia), when naked women, wrought
into frenzy by music and dance, and driven by priests, wan-
dered in bands through fields and forests, shouting the name
of the deity or a part of it (like Saboi), and by every bar-
barous means endeavouring to awaken the dead god into repro-
ductive activity . 4 He was imagined as passing rapidly through
the stages of childhood, adolescence and youth. And as he was
held to be incarnate in a bull, a buck, a man, or even in an in-
fant, the festival reached its climax in the devouring of warm
and bloody flesh just torn from a live bull, goat, or a priest.
Sabazios under the name of Zagreus was thus being cut to
pieces and consumed by his devotees. In this sacramental
meal, the god no doubt became incarnate in his votaries and
blessed the land with fertility . 5

We have no clear traces of such repulsive rites in what
has been handed down to us from the old religion of the Ar-
menians in spite of their proverbial piety. Whatever they
have preserved seems to belong to another stratum of the
Phrygo-Thracian faith . 6

A careful examination of this ancient material shows among
the earliest Armenians a religious and mythological develop-
ment parallel to that observed among other Indo-European
peoples, especially the Satem branch of the race.

Their language contains an important fund of Indo-
European religious words such as Tiu (Dyaus = Zeus =
Tiwaz), “ day-light,” and Di-kh (pi. of Di , i.e. Deiva = Deus,
etc.), “ the gods.” When the ancient Armenians shouted, “ Ti
(or Tir), forward,” they must have meant this ancient Dyaus



Pitar who was also a war-god, and not Tiur y their much later
very learned but peaceful scribe of the gods. Even the name
of V aruna appears among them in the form of Vran (a cog-
nate of ovpavos) and in the sense of “ tent,” “ covering.”
It is not impossible that astwads , their other word for “ God,”
which in Christian times supplanted the heathen Di-kh ,
“ Gods,” was originally an epithet of the father of the gods
and men, just like the Istwo of Teutonic mythology, of which
it may well be a cognate . 7

The Perkunas of the Lithuanians and the Teutonic Fjor-
gynn, one as a god of heaven and of weather, and the other
as a goddess of the earth, are still preserved in the Armenian
words erkin, “heaven,” and erkir ( erkinr ?) “earth .” 8
The word and goddess, idrd y erd , “ earth,” seems to survive in
the Armenian ard , “ land,” “ field.”

Another ancient Armenian word for Mother-earth is
probably to be found in armat y which now means “ root.”
But in its adjectival form armti-kh y “cereals,” it betrays a
more original meaning which may shed some light upon the
much disputed Vedic aramati and Avestic armaiti. The
word ho\m y “ wind,” may have originally meant “ sky,” as
cognate of Himmel. The Vedic and Avestic vata (Teut.
V otan?) is represented in Armenian by aud y “ air,” “ weather,”
“ wind,” while Vayu himself seems to be represented by more
than one mythological name. Even the Vedic Aryaman and
the Teutonic Irmin may probably be recognized in the name of
Armenak, the better-known eponymous hero of the Armenians,
who thus becomes identical with the ancient Dyaus-Tiwaz. To
these may be added others whom we shall meet later. And in
the Vahagn myths we see how, as in India and Teutonic lands,
a violent storm-god has supplanted the grander figure of the

The oak (which in Europe was sacred to the sky-god) and
water played an important part in the Armenian rites of the



sacred fire. The sacred fire was, as in Europe, often extin-
guished in water. This religion was quite agricultural. In
view of the general agreement of the Slavic and old Armenian
data on this point, one may well ask whether the Thraco-
Phrygian mysteries just described were not a localized
development of the lightning worship so characteristic of the
Slavic family to which the Thraco-Phrygians and the Arme-
nians probably belonged . 9 In fact, according to Tomaschek 10
the lightning-god had a very prominent place in the Thracian

Lightning worship, more or less confused with the worship
of a storm-god, was widely spread through Indo-European
cults, and it is attested in the Thracian family not only by
the name of Hyagnis, a Phrygian satyr (see chapter on
Vahagn) and Sbel Thiourdos, but also by the title of “ Bull ”
that belonged to Dionysos and by such Greek myths as make
him wield the lightning for a short time in the place of Zeus . 11

Soon after their coming into Urartu the Armenians fell
under very strong Iranian influences, both in their social and
their religious life. Now began that incessant flow of Iranian
words into their language, a fact which tempted the philol-
ogists of a former generation to consider Armenian a branch
of Iranian. When Xenophon met the Armenians on his fa-
mous retreat, Persian was understood by them, and they were
sacrificing horses to the sun (or, perhaps to Mithra). But
we find in the remnants of Armenian paganism no religious
literature and no systematic theology, or cult of a purely Zoro-
astrian type. It would seem that the reformed faith of Iran
penetrated Armenia very slowly and as a formless mass of
popular beliefs which sometimes entered into mesalliances in
their new home . 12 In fact the names of the Zoroastrian gods
and spirits found in Armenia bear a post-classic and pre-
Sassanian stamp.

Finally the contact with Syria and with Hellenistic culture

1 6

Amazon links will be limited.

We had hoped use of amazon links in our board/message index for every subject would in itself sponsor us..sadly NO

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 »