Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/167

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EVOLUTION OF CEREMONIAL GOVERNMENT.

on their foreheads several times." And, describing "the punctiliousness of manners shown by the Balonda," Livingstone says:

"The inferiors, on meeting their superiors in the street, at once drop on their knees and rub dust on their arms and chest. . . . During an oration to a person commanding respect, the speaker every two or three seconds 'picked up a little sand, and rubbed it on the upper part of his arms and chest. . . . When they wish to be excessively polite, they bring a quantity of ashes or pipe clay in a piece of skin, and, taking up handfuls, rub it on the chest and upper front part of each arm.' "

Moreover, we are shown how in this case, as in all other cases, the ceremony undergoes abridgment. Of these same Balonda Livingstone says, "The chiefs go through the manœuvre of rubbing the sand on the arms, but only make a feint of picking up some." And, on the Lower Niger, the people when making prostrations "cover them" (their heads) "repeatedly with sand; or at all events they go through the motions of doing so. Women, on perceiving their friends, kneel immediately, and pretend to pour sand alternately over each arm." That in Asia this ceremony was, and still is, performed with like meaning, is also clear. As expressing political humiliation it was adopted by the priests who, when going to implore Florus to spare the Jews, appeared "with dust sprinkled in great plenty upon their heads, with bosoms deprived of any covering but what was rent." And at the present time in Turkey abridgments of the obeisance may be witnessed. At a review, even officers on horseback, saluting their superiors, "go through the form of throwing dust over their heads;" and common people, on seeing a caravan of pilgrims start, "went through the pantomime of throwing dirt over their heads."

Hebrew records prove that this sign of submission made before visible persons was made before invisible persons also. Along with those bloodlettings and markings of the flesh and cuttings of the hair, which, at funerals, were used to propitiate the ghost, there went the putting of ashes on the head. The like was done to propitiate the deity; as when "Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads." Even still this usage occurs among Catholics on occasions of special humiliation.

 

Again we must return to that original obeisance which first actually is, and then which simulates, the attitude of the conquered before the conqueror, to find the clew to a further series of these bodily movements signifying submission. I refer to the joining of the hands. As described in a foregoing paragraph, the supplicating Khond "throws himself on his face with hands joined." Whence this attitude of the hands?

From the usages of a people among whom submission and all the