Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/670

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

it sometimes happened that all the army cut off their hair," we are shown a step toward that propitiation by unrelated members of the community at large, which, when it becomes established, is a trait of religious worship. Hence certain Greek ceremonies. "The cutting off of the hair, which was always done when a boy became an ἕφηβος, was a solemn act, attended with religious ceremonies. A libation was first offered to Hercules, . . . and the hair after being cut off was dedicated to some deity, usually a river-god." So, too, at the first time of shaving among the Romans, "the hair cut off on such occasions was consecrated to some god."

Sacrifice of hair was an act of worship with the Hebrews also. We are told of "fourscore men, having their beards shaven, and their clothes rent, and having cut themselves, with offerings and incense in their hand, to bring them to the house of the Lord;" and Krehl gives sundry kindred facts concerning the Arabians.

Curious modifications of the practice occurred in Peru. Small sacrifices of hair were continual. "Another offering," writes D'Acosta, is "pulling out the eyelashes or eyebrows and presenting them to the sun, the hills, the combles, the winds, or whatever they are in fear of. . . . On entering the temples, or when they were already within them, they put their hands to their eyebrows as if they would pull out the hairs, and then made a motion as if they were blowing them toward the idol"—a good instance of the abridgment which ceremonies habitually undergo. Lastly, when, in presence of a national calamity, extreme propitiation of a deity is to be made, we sometimes find even the ruler sacrificing his hair. During an eruption of the great volcano in Hawaii, all other offerings having failed to appease the anger of the gods, "the king Kamehameha cut off part of his own hair, which was considered sacred, and threw it into the torrent [of lava], as the most valuable offering."

One further development remains: this kind of sacrifice becomes in some cases a social propitiation. Wreaths of their own hair plaited were bestowed upon others as marks of consideration by the Tahitians. In France, in the fifth and sixth centuries, it was usual to pluck out a few hairs from the beard on approaching a superior, and present them; and this usage was occasionally adopted as a mark of condescension by a ruler, as when Clovis, gratified by the visit of the Bishop of Toulouse, gave him a hair from his beard, and was imitated in so doing by his followers. Afterward the usage had its meaning obscured by abridgment: in the times of chivalry one mode of showing respect was to tug at the mustache.

 

Already, when treating of trophies, and when finding that those of the phallic class, major and minor, had the same meanings as the rest, the way was opened to explain the mutilations next to be dealt with. We have seen that, when the vanquished were not killed but