Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/298

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phyry found such sanctity. Next it reached the hammered bronze image, passed through the archaic marbles, and culminated in the finer marbles and the chryselephantine statues of Zeus and Athena. But none of the ancient sacred objects lost their sacredness. The oldest were always the holiest idols; the oldest of all were stumps and stones, like savage fetish-stones.

Another argument in favour of the general thesis that savagery left deep marks on Greek life in general, and on religion in particular, may be derived from survivals of totemism in ritual and legend. The following instances need not necessarily be accepted, but it may be admitted that they are precisely the traces which totemism would leave had it once existed, and then waned away on the advance of civilisation.[1]

That Greeks in certain districts regarded with religious reverence certain plants and animals is beyond dispute. That some stocks even traced their lineage to beasts will be shown in the chapter on Greek Divine Myths, and the presumption is that these creatures, though explained as incarnations and disguises of various gods, were once totems sans phrase, as will be inferred from various examples. Clemens Alexandrinus, again, after describing the animal-worship of the Egyptians, mentions cases of zoolatry in Greece.[2] The Thessalians revered

  1. The argument to be derived from the character of the Greek γένος as a modified form of the totem-kindred is too long and complex to be put forward here. It is stated in Custom and Myth, "The History of the Family," in M'Lennan's Studies in Early History, and is assumed, if not proved, in Ancient Society by the late Mr. Lewis Morgan.
  2. Op. cit., i. 34.