Open main menu

Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/179

This page needs to be proofread.


Reviews. 155

Lastly, how does he deal with the savage element in Greek ritual ? The stock case is that of the Brauronia, in which the girls dressed as bears. This is how he explains it : " Almost every fresh race tried to trace its origin back to Zeus. If, then, the Arkas, the ancestor of the Arcadians, had been recognised as one of the many sons of Zeus, who could well be his mother, if not the favourite goddess of the country, that is Artemis, under one of her many names ? One of her names was Kalliste, the most beautiful. But how could the virgin goddess herself be the mother of Arkas ! This being impossible, her worshippers had no great trouble in finding a way out of their difficulty by slightly changing the name of Kalliste into Kallisto, and repre- senting her, not as the goddess herself, but as one of her attendant companions. However, even then Kallisto had incurred not only the jealousy of Here, but likewise the anger of Artemis, and as the name of Arkas reminded the Arcadians of arktos or arkos, bear, and as there was a famous arktos, the Ursa Major, as a con- stellation in the sky, what was more natural, I ask again, than that Kallisto should be changed into an arktos, a she-bear, slain by Artemis, and then placed by Zeus, her lover, in the sky as the bright star shining in the winter nights ? The change into a she- bear was suggested probably by the custom called upKreveiv, which meant the dedicating of the young Arkadian girls to the service of Artemis and their performing the service of the goddess in their well-known ursine disguise" (vol. ii., p. 737, s^;.). How far is this helpful to a student of primitive cults ?

The discussion of the etymology of the names of Vedic and Greek deities, to which a large part of the book is devoted, serves only to emphasise the uncertainty of the philological method of solving the secret of the myths. It is quite possible that Professor Max Miiller may be correct in his conclusions; but eminent autho- rities, the foes of his own household, contest them. Dionysos, we are told may = Dios-snutya, which possibly means " nursling of Zeus," or " the flow of the sky or Hght" (vol. i., p. 372, s^.). The connection of Ahana and Athene is fiercely disputed (vol. i., p. 405, s^.). The equation Briseis-Brisaya is practically abandoned (vol. i., p. 413). For Apollo we have a choice of the Vedic Sarparyenya, "worshipful," or Apa-var-yan, "opener of the heavenly gates." Aphrodite is not from the Sanskrit Abhradita, " come forth from the cloud;" but, according to Bechtel, connected whh/ordus, in