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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/380

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344 ^^^^ Binding of a God.

the altar by a continuous cord, which unfortunately oroko, and they were all massacred.^ The Samian despot, Poly- krates, when he consecrated to the Delian Apollo the neig^h- bouring island of Rheneia, connected it with the island of Deles by means of a chain."

When we come to the cases of gods who are actually imprisoned or confined, the ritual seems generally based on the idea that the image is tabu, dangerous if exhibited to its votaries, though in some instances the principle of physically detaining the god may be at the root of the matter. The risk of touching or even seeing a sacred object of this kind hardly needs illustration. We have the case of the Hebrew Ark, which it was death for an unini- tiated person to touch. ^ Aglauros and Herse, when they saw the chest in which Erectheus was confined, and found the child in the form of a serpent, were seized with mad- ness and threw themselves from the Akropolis. " Gods," says Homer, " are not seen by mortals with impunity," as in the case of Teiresias, who was deprived of sight because he saw Athene in her bath ; and when an image of Iphige- neia was found in a bush at Sparta, the sight of it threw the beholders into a state of madness.^ It is needless to

' Plutarch, Solon, 12.

^ Thucydides, iii. 104; Dyer, Gods in Greece, p. 361.

' 2 Samuel, vi. 6. Cf. i. Samuel, vi. 19.

  • Pausanias, iii. 16, 6 ; i. 15, 2 ; Apollodorus, iii. 14, 6 ; Homer, Iliad, xx.

131 ; Exodics, xxxiii. 20 ; Featherman, Nigritians, p. 697 So boys being initiated must not be looked on (see for example, Frazer, Golden Bough, vol. ii. p. 348). In Tahiti, anyone who entered a certain temple was slain. Featherman, Oceano-Melanesians, p. 50 ; Wilkinson, Anciejit Egyptians, vol. iii. p. 335. Into the temple of Serapis, at Memphis, no strangers were admitted, not even the priests except during the ritual in connection with Apis. Pausanias, i. 18, i. In Greece it was the custom to hang oriental carpets in front of the figure of the temple deity to conceal it from profane eyes. Thus in the temple of Kora, at Mantineia, the priestess taiceTraaey ra lepa i^va~i]pia, hanging in front of them an oriental carpet . Journ. Hellenic Society, vol. v. p. 244. And in Egypt the imago of the god was guarded from profane eyes. Erman, Life in Ancient Egypt, 15. 275.