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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/387

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The Bindiyig of a God, 351

ground dungeon with a hole above for admitting air and allowing food to be let down to the prisoner would be a secondary meaning.

We now come to consider the meaning of this myth. To begin with Professor Max Miiller.^ In his recent book on Mythology he practically gives it up. " Neither his being chained during thirteen months by the Aloeidai nor his being chained by Hephaistos allows us to see any phy- sical background behind the veil of mythology." Preller- and some other authorities regard it as a story of some early pioneers of civilisation excited by their achievements in the introduction of peace, and thus incurring the wrath of the god of war, whom they finally capture and imprison. But the legend, as we find it in the Iliad, can, I imagine, hardly be detached from its context, in which the suffer- ings wrought by men upon the immortals are detailed. In any case, this kind of aetiological explanations of what is obviously a very ancient myth may reasonably be distrusted.

A more hopeful line of investigation might perhaps be found in the supposition that Ares was originally a chthonic or underground deity, a god of vegetation in fact, who dies annually wdth the winter and revives with the spring, like Adonis, Osiris, Vishnu, and their kindred. And though there are some indications in the Ares myths which may point in this direction, I am not aware that there is as yet complete evidence to support this view of his origin.

Further, we find many instances drawn from the ritual of savages in various parts of the world, which illustrate the fact that the jar or pitcher is very commonly used as a receptacle for the god or closely connected with his worship. We have, for instance, the Kalasa or sacred jar of the Hindus, which is, as I have shown elsewhere,^ very generally used

• Contributions to the Science of Mythology, vol. ii. p. 724. ^ Mythology, vol. i. p. 69.

  • Popular Religion and Folklore of Northern India, vol. i. pp. 97, 255 ;

vol. ii. p. 75 ; Atkinson, Himalayan Gazetteer, vol. ii. p. 885.