and lost plays. Finally, from the travellers and historians we occasionally glean examples of the tales ("holy chapters," as Mr. Grote calls them) which were narrated by priests and temple officials to the pilgrims who visited the sacred shrines.
These "chapters" are almost invariably puerile, savage, and obscene. They bear the stamp of extreme antiquity, because they never, as a rule, passed through the purifying medium of literature. There were many myths too crude and archaic for the purposes of poetry and of the drama. These were handed down from local priest to local priest, with the inviolability of sacred and immutable tradition. We have already given a reason for assigning a high antiquity to the local temple myths. Just as Greeks lived in villages before they gathered into towns, so their gods were village gods before they were gods of towns, and gods of towns before they were national deities. The local myths are those of the archaic village state of "culture," more ancient, more savage, than literary narrative. Very frequently the local legends were subjected to the process of allegorical interpretation, as men became alive to the monstrosity of their unsophisticated meaning. Often they proved too savage for our authorities, who merely remark, "Concerning this a certain holy chapter is told," but decline to record the legend. In the same way missionaries, with mistaken delicacy, often refuse to repeat some savage legend with which they are acquainted.
The latest sort of testimony as to Greek myths must be sought in the writings of the heathen apolo-