Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/669

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EVOLUTION OF CEREMONIAL GOVERNMENT.

the Tahitians and New-Zealanders, the like contrast occurs. Similarly with the Negrito races. "In New Caledonia the chiefs and influential men wear their hair long, and tie it up in a semi-conical form on the top of their head. The women all crop theirs close to the very ears." And cropped heads in like manner distinguish the women of Tanna, of Lifu, of Vate, and also the Tasmanian women. A kindred mode of signifying filial subordination may be added. Yielding up of hair once formed part of the ceremony of adoption in Europe. "Charles Martel sent Pepin, his son, to Luithprand, King of the Lombards, that he might cut his first locks, and by this ceremony hold for the future the place of his father;" and Clovis, to make peace with him, became the adopted son of Alaric, by offering his beard to be cut by him.

While coming thus to imply subjection to living persons, this mutilation simultaneously came to imply subjection to dead persons. How the yielding up of hair to the dead is originally akin to the yielding up of a trophy is well shown by the Dakotas: "The men shave the hair off their heads, except a small tuft on the top [the scalp-lock], which they suffer to grow and wear in plaits over the shoulders; the loss of it is the usual sacrifice at the death of near relations:" that is, they go as near as may be to surrendering their scalps to the dead. The meaning is again seen in the account given of the Caribs: "As their hair thus constituted their chief pride, it was an unequivocal proof of the sincerity of their sorrow, when, on the death of a relation or friend, they cut it short like their slaves and captives." Everywhere among the uncivilized, kindred forms occur. Nor was it otherwise with the ancient historic races. By the Hebrews making "baldness upon their heads" was practised as a funeral rite, as was also shaving off "the corner of their beard." Similarly by Greeks and Romans, "the hair was cut close in mourning." In Greece the meaning of this mutilation was recognized. Potter remarks: We find Electra in Euripides finding fault with Helena for sparing her locks, and thereby defrauding the dead; and he cites the statement that this sacrifice of hair (sometimes laid upon the grave) was "partly to render the ghost of the deceased person propitious." A significant addition must be made: "For a recent death, the mourner's head was shaved; for an offering to the long-dead, a single lock was cut off."

Naturally if, from propitiation of the dead, some of whom become deities, there grows up religious propitiation, the offering of hair may be expected to reappear as a religious ceremony; and we find that it does so. Already, in the just-named fact that, besides hair sacrificed at a Greek funeral, similar though smaller sacrifices were made afterward, we see the rise of that recurring propitiation characterizing worship of a deity. And when we further read that among the Greeks "on the death of any very popular personage, as a general,