Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/297

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very early gods, the Demeter with the horse's head, the Artemis with the flsh's tail, the cuckoo Hera, whose image was of pear-wood, the Zeus with three eyes, the Hermes, made after the fashion of the pictures on the walls of sacred caves among the Bushmen. But the oldest gods of all, says Pausanias repeatedly, were rude stones in the temple or the temple precinct. In Achæan Pharæ he found some thirty squared stones, named each after a god. "Among all the Greeks in the oldest times rude stones were worshipped in place of statues." The superstitious man in Theophrastus's Characters used to anoint the sacred stones with oil. The stone which Cronus swallowed in mistake for Zeus was honoured at Delphi, and kept warm with wool wrappings. There was another sacred stone among the Trœzenians, and the Megarians worshipped as Apollo a stone cut roughly into a pyramidal form. The Argives had a big stone called Zeus Kappotas. The Thespians worshipped a stone which they called Eros;[1] "their oldest idol is a rude stone." It is well known that the original fetish-stone has been found in situ below the feet of the statue of Apollo in Delos. On this showing, then, the religion of very early Greeks in Greece was not unlike that of modern Negroes. The evolution of the gods, a remarkably rapid one after a certain point, could be traced in every temple. It began with the rude stone, and rose to the wooden idol, in which, as we have seen, Pausanias and Por-

  1. Gill, Myths of the South Pacific, p. 60. Compare a god, which proved to be merely pumice-stone, and was regarded as the god of winds and waves, having been drifted to Puka-Puka. Offerings of food were made to it during hurricanes.