god sacrificed by gods. In Sparta was an altar of Artemis Orthia, and a wooden image of great rudeness and antiquity—so rude indeed, that Pausanias, though accustomed to Greek fetish-stones, thought it must be of barbaric origin. The story was that certain people of different towns, when sacrificing at the altar, were seized with frenzy and slew each other. The oracle commanded that the altar should be sprinkled with human blood. Men were therefore chosen by lot to be sacrificed, till Lycurgus commuted the offering, and sprinkled the altar with the blood of boys who were flogged before the goddess. The priestess holds the statue of the goddess during the flogging, and if any of the boys are but lightly scourged, the image becomes too heavy for her to bear. These rites are on a par with the initiatory ceremonies of Hottentots, Mandans, and Australian natives. They lasted till the time of Pausanias.
The Ionians near Anthea had a temple of Artemis Triclaria, and to her it had been customary to sacrifice yearly a youth and maiden of transcendent beauty. In Pausanias's time the human sacrifice was commuted. He himself beheld the strange spectacle of living beasts and birds being driven into the fire to Artemis Laphria, a Calydonian goddess, and he had seen bears rush back among the ministrants; but there was no record that any one had ever been hurt by these wild beasts. The bear was a beast closely connected with Artemis, and there is some reason to suppose that the goddess had
- The Purusha Sukhta, in Rig-Veda, x. 90.
- Paus., vii. 18–19.