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IDEOGRAPH-IDOMENEUS

IDEOGRAPH (Gr. i6éa., idea, and 'ypdqbeu/, to write), a symbol or inscribed, representing ideas

of writing is found in Chinese

hieroglyphs (see WRITING).

or character painted, written

and not sounds; such a form

and in most of the Egyptian


IDIOBLAST (Gr. Zéws, peculiar, and Bhaavés, a shoot), a botanical term for an individual cell which is distinguished by its shape, size or contents, such as the stone-cells in the soft tissue of a pear.


IDIOM (Gr. léiwjro., something peculiar and personal; fétos, one's own, personal), a form of expression whether in words, grammatical construction, phraseology, &c., which is peculiar to a language; sometimes also a special variety of a particul ar language, a dialect.


IDIOSYNCRASY (Gr. i5|.oo'v'y/<po.a'ia, peculiar habit of body or temperament; '&$¢os, one's own, and aikyxpams, blending, tempering. from ov'yr<ep<iv1/va0a:., to put together, compound, mix), a physical or mental condition peculiar to an individual usually taking the form of a special susceptibility to particular stimuli; thus it is an idiosyncrasy of one individual that abnormal sensations of discomfort should be excited by certain odours or colours, by the presence in the room of a cat, &c.; similarly certain persons are found to be peculiarly responsive or irresponsive to the action of particular drugs. The word is also used, generally, of any eccentricity or peculiarity of character, appearance, &c.


IDOLATRY, the worship (Gr. Xa-rpeia) of idols (Gr. ei5w}o1/), i.e. images or other objects, believed to represent or be the abode of a superhuman personality. The term is often used generically to include such varied forms as litholatry, dendrolatry, pyrolatry, zoolatry and even necrolatry. In an age when the study of religion was practically confined to Judaism and Christianity, idolatry was regarded as a degeneration from an uncorrupt primeval faith, but the comparative and historical investigation of religion has shown it to be rather a stage of an upward movement, and that by no means the earliest. It is not found, for instance, among Bushmen, Fuegians, Eskimos, while it reached a high development among the great civilizations of the ancient world in both hen1ispheres.' Its earliest stages are to be sought in naturism and animism. To give concreteness to the vague ideas thus worshipped the idol, at first rough and crude, comes to the help of the savage, and in course of time through inability to distinguish subjective and objective. comes to be identified with the idea it originally symbolized. The degraded form of animism known as fetishism is usually the direct antecedent of idolatry. A fetich is adored, not for itself, but for the spirit who dwells in it and works through it. Fetiches of stone or wood were at a very early age shaped and polished or coloured and ornamented. A -new step was taken when the top of the log or stone was shaped like a human head; the rest of the body soon followed. The process can be followed with some distinctness in Greece. Sometimes, as in Babylonia and India, the representation combined human and animal forms, but the human figure is the predominant model; man makes God after his own image.

Idols may be private and personal like the teraphim of the Hebrews or the little figures found in early Egyptian tombs, or-a late development, public and tribal or national. Some, like the ancestral images among the Maoris, are the intermittent abodes of the spirits of the dead.

As the earlier stages in the development of the religious consciousness persist and are often manifest in idolatry, so in the higher stages, when men have attained loftier spiritual ideas, idolatry itself survives and is abundantly visible as a reactionary 1 According to Varro the Romans had no animal or human image of a god for 170 years after the founding of the city; Herodotus (i. 131) says the Persians had no temples or idols before Artaxerxesl.; Lucian (De sacrzf. II) bears similar testimony for Greece and as to idols (Dea Syr. 3) for Egypt. Eusebius (Pmep. Evang. i. 9) sums up the theory of antiquity in his statement “the oldest peoples had no idols." Images of the gods indeed presuppose a definiteness of conception and powers of discrimination that could only be the result of history and reflection. The iconic age everywhere succeeded to an era in which the objects of worship were aniconic, e.g. wooden posts, stonc steles, cones. tendency. The history of the Jewish people Whom the prophets sought, for long in vain, to wean from worshipping images is an illustration: so too the vulgarities of modern popular Hinduism contrasted with the lofty teaching of the Indian sacred books.

In the New Testament the word eZ6w)o)a-rpeia. (idololatria, afterwards shortened occasionally to eiéoharpeia, idolalria) occurs in all four times, viz. in 1 Cor. x. 14; Gal. v. 20; 1 Peter iv. 3; Col. iii. 5. In the last of these passages it is used to describe the sin of covetousness or “ mammon-worship.” In the other places it indicates with the utmost generality all the rites and practices of those special forms of paganism with which Christianity first came into collision. It can only be understood by reference to the LXX., where e'£5w}o1{ (like the word “idol ” in A.V.) occasionally translates indifferently no fewer than sixteen words by which in the Old Testament the objects of what the later Jews called “ strange worship ” (H1:f|3121x1,) are denoted (see Encyclopaedia Biblica). In the widest acceptation of the word, idolatry in any form is absolutely forbidden in the second commandment, which runs “ Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image; [and] to no visible shape in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth, shalt thou bow down or render service ” (see DECA-LOGUE). For some account of the questions connected with the breaches of this law which are recorded in the history of the Israelites see the article IEWS; those differences as to the interpretation of the prohibition which have so seriously divided Christendom are discussed under the head of ICONOCLASTS.

In the ancient church, idolatry was naturally reckoned among those magna crimina or great crimes against the first and second commandments which involved the highest ecclesiastical censures. Not only were those who had gone openly to heathen temples and partaken in the sacrifices (sacrzjicati) or burnt incense (thuréicati) held guilty of this crime; the same charge, in various degrees, was incurred by those whose renunciation of idolatry had been private merely, or who otherwise had used unworthy means to evade persecution, by those also who had feigned themselves mad to avoid sacrificing, by all promoters and encourage rs of idolatrous rites, and by idol makers, incense sellers and architects or builders of structures connected with idol worship. Idolatry was made a crime against the state by the laws of Constantius (Cod. Theod. xvi. ro. 4, 6), forbidding all sacrifices on pain of death, and still more by the statutes of Theodosius (Cod. Theod. xvi. ro. 12) enacted in 392, in which sacrifice and divination were declared treasonable and punishable with death; the use of lights, incense, garlands and libations was to involve the forfeiture of house and land where they were used; and all who entered heathen temples were to be fined. See Bingham, /lntiqq. bk. xvi. c. 4.

See also IMAGE-WORSHIP; and on the whole question, RELIGION.


IDOMENEUS, in Greek legend, son of Deucalion, grandson of Minos and Pasiphaé, and king of Crete. As a descendant of Zeus and famous for his beauty, he was one of the suitors of Helen; hence, after her abduction by Paris, he took part in the Trojan War, in which he distinguished himself by his bravery. He is mentioned as a special favourite of Agamemnon (Iliad, iv. 2 57). According to Homer (Odyssey, iii. 191), he returned home safely with all his countrymen who had survived the war, but later legend connects him with an incident similar to that of ]ephtha's daughter. Having been overtaken by a violent storm, to ensure his safety he vowed to sacrifice to Poseidon the first living thing that met him when he landed on his native shore. This proved to be his son, whom he slew in accordance with his vow; whereupon a plague broke out in the island, and Idomeneus was driven out. He fled to the district of Sallentum in Calabria, and subsequently to Colophon in Asia Minor, where he settled near the temple of the Clarian Apollo and was buried on Mount Cercaphus (Virgil, Aeneid, iii. 121, 400, 5 31, and Servius on those passages). But the Cretans showed his grave at Cnossus, where he was worshipped as a hero with

Mcriones (Diod. Sic. v. 79).