Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/673

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EVOLUTION OF CEREMONIAL GOVERNMENT.

gods, circumcision was forbidden, and those who, persevering in it, refused obedience to these foreign gods, were slain; while contrariwise Mattathias and his friends, loyal to the god of their fathers, and rebelling against foreign rule and worship, are said to have gone "round about, and pulled down the altars: and what children soever they found within the coast of Israel uncircumcised those they circumcised valiantly." Moreover Hyrcanus, having subdued the Idumeans, made them submit to circumcision as a condition of remaining in their country; and Aristobulus similarly imposed the mark on the conquered people of Iturea.

Quite congruous are certain converse facts. Mariner states that Tooitonga (the great divine chief of Tonga) is not circumcised, as all other men are: being unsubordinated, he does not bear the badge of subordination. And with this I may join a case in which whole tribes belonging to a race ordinarily practising circumcision are uncircumcised where they are unsubordinated. Naming certain Berbers in Morocco as thus distinguished, Rohlfs says: "These uncircumcised tribes inhabit the Rif Mountains. . . . All the Rif mountaineers eat wild-boar, in spite of the Koran law."

 

Besides mutilations entailing some loss of flesh, bone, skin, or hair, there are mutilations which do not imply a deduction—at least not a permanent one. Of these we may take, first, one which sacrifices a liquid part of the body, though not a solid part.

Bleeding as a mutilation has an origin akin to the origins of other mutilations. Did we not find that some uncivilized tribes, as the Samoyeds, drink the warm blood of animals—did we not find among existing cannibals, such as the Feejeeans, proofs that savages drink the blood of still-living human victims—it would seem incredible that from taking the blood of a vanquished enemy was derived the ceremony of offering blood to a ghost, and to a god. But when to accounts of horrors like these we join accounts of kindred ones which savages commit, such as that among the Amaponda Caffres "it is usual for the ruling chief, on his accession to the government, to be washed in the blood of a near relative, generally a brother, who is put to death on the occasion;" and when we infer that, before the rise of civilization, the sanguinary tastes and usages now exceptional were probably general, we may suspect that from the drinking of blood by conquering cannibals there arose some kinds of blood-offerings—at any rate, those of blood taken from immolated victims. Possibly some offerings of blood from the bodies of living persons are to be thus accounted for; but those which are not are explicable as sequences of the widely-prevalent practice of establishing a sacred bond of mutual obligation between living persons by partaking of each other's blood—the derived conception being that those who give some of their blood to the ghost of the man just dead and lingering near