Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/344

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mentions[1] the Athenian myth "that men grew like cabbages out of the earth." As to Greek myths of the descent of families from animals, these will be examined in the discussion of the legend of Zeus.



Phœnician Cosmogonic Myths.

The commercial relations between the Sidonians or Phœnicians and the Homeric and pre-Homeric Greeks make it very desirable to gain a clear view of Phœnician mythology. Though the extent of Greek borrowing from Phœnician sources has probably been exaggerated by some scholars—for example, by Duncker—the Greeks may have been considerably influenced by their Semitic neighbours. Not only the direct evidence of Homer, but the relics of Phoenician art found on Greek soil, the borrowing of letters from the Phœnician alphabet, and the famous legends of Cadmus and Europa, demonstrate the connection between the Semitic and Aryan peoples of the Levant. That their mythologies also resembled each other in some points is certain, but the inference that many Greek myths are "loan-myths," as certain Homeric words are "loan-words," from Phœnicia, must not be too hastily drawn. Resemblances between the myths of nations severed from each other by all the width of the world, races as remote as Alaska from Chaldea, have been shown to exist. Therefore contiguous races of different stocks need not have bartered myths with each other, even when their stories closely resemble each other. But the hypothesis of barter in myths, when there have undeniably been exchanges in commerce, art, and science, will always be plausible, and can never be hastily set aside.

Unhappily our information about Phœnician myths is late, scanty, suspicious, and corrupt. The chief sources are the fragments attributed to Sanchoniathon by Philo Byblius, a grammarian of the first and second Christian centuries. Now when a curious Phœnician inquirer, familiar with Greek opinion

  1. Philops., iii.