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Certain epochs may be recognized with sufficient clearness, especially in the cases in which the introduction of the new worship led to conficts of which the remembrance survived. For even in heathendom, by the side of the thoughtless reception of everything new, we find an earnest feeling, a fidelity towards the old gods and their purer, simpler worship, as Herodotus relates of the Caunian mountaineers that, in complete panoply, lance in hand, they drove the intrusive gods of the strangers out of their borders."

The comparison here made with geological strata is a very exact one, for not only have the successive religious periods left their traces in a distinguishable form, but the history of these changes, too, lies far back beyond what we call historical times, that is, beyond contemporary record or direct tradition. These events, neglected by most writers upon mythology, are a favorite topic with the historian just quoted. Dim and fragmentary as is all the knowledge that we can gain in regard to them, it is easy to distinguish two classes of religious epochs.

First and most familiar is the introduction of essentially foreign gods, and their naturalization in the Greek Pantheon. The Phænicians, the earliest seafarers, who had their factories all along the Grecian coast, were the chief source from which foreign gods were derived; and these settlements began so far back in time that their Aphrodite, Melikertes, and Adonis almost wholly laid aside their foreign character, and became to all intents and purposes Greek divinities. Curtius points out that there were two distinct periods of Phænician influence, corresponding to the historical periods in which the two chief cities of the Phænicians respectively enjoyed pre-eminence. The mariners of Sidon first carried the religion of Astarte into her colonies; and Cyprus, and Cythera in especial, became afterwards the seats of the Grecian representative of Astarte, Aphrodite (Venus), “the goddess of the creative powers of life, pervading all nature ; also a goddess of harbors.” With her was joined Adonis, whose death is the symbol of the sleep of nature as winter comes on, and whose festivals were widely celebrated, especially by the Orientals.*

Even more widely spread at first, if less so in the end, was

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See the translation of the hymn to Adonis in Matthew Arnold's essay on Pagan and Mediæval Religious Sentiment.

the worship of the special god of Tyre, Melkart. He, too, was a maritime god, and as such was received by the Greeks under the name Melikertes. But oftenest he was identified with the Greek Herakles, the pioneer god, who prepared the way for civilization, which is precisely what the votaries of Melkart did in the territory of Greece. It was the Phænicians who, under his name, prepared the land for habitations, dammed the rivers, drained the swamps, built roads, bridges, and harbors. Thus there was a Grecian and an Oriental Herakles, and the Tyrian Melkart was partly identified with the latter of these, partly known under his own name, Hellenized, — Melikertes. Hence conflicts and religious struggles. “If now,” says Curtius, “ Phænicians penetrated far into Bæotia, if they once ruled the whole coast of the Crissæan Sea, what is less improbable than that the sanctuary of Apollo [at Delphi) was invaded, and his authority resisted by the barbarians and their gods? Oriental and Hellenic divination enter here into the most violent antagonism. Herakles therefore overturns the mantic tripod of Apollo, and, as Apollodorus says, establishes his own oracle; he insults the god with impudent, blasphemous questions, and lays waste his sanctuary, so that its place on earth may be forgotten. It is easy to see that this is not an individual uprising against a recognized authority, but a great national conflict, which can be decided only by the total overthrow of one or the other." *

Whether Poseidon (Neptune) was also a Phænician god, as the author of an able article in the Quarterly Review for January, 1868, maintains, cannot perhaps be definitely decided. Gerhard, in his monograph upon Poseidon, declares for his foreign origin; and it is at all events a significant fact that Oceanus, the counterpart of Poseidon, appears personally in Homer, while Ouranos seems to have been of later origin.

Another Oriental people, who affected powerfully the religion of the Greeks, was the Egyptian, although this influence, like that of the Etruscans over the Roman religion and institutions, has been exaggerated. This Egyptian influence was, in truth, much later than the Phænician, and of a totally

* Herakles der Satyr und Dreifussräuber, a monograph read before the Archæo logical Society of Berlin, at the Winckelmann festival, 1852.

different character. It has been transmitted to Christianity, not by the Greeks, but by the Hebrews. The Phænicians carried their religion to Greece; the Greeks themselves brought whatever they borrowed from Egypt. There is no proof that the fundamental faith of the Greeks was materially modified by the Egyptians; but after the Greek system had been fully established, and analogies and supposed identities were discovered in the Egyptian theology, its practical workings received a profound impression from the latter, not, however, as a new religion, but in a way to be described presently.

When, just now, we made a distinction between the introduction of foreign gods and the springing up of popular revivals in native worship, we ought perhaps to have made the contrast less marked; for these revivals were always in the shape of the extension of a special worship, and often passed as an importation from abroad. The distinction, however, lies in this, , that these new gods, if foreign to continental Greece, belonged at any rate to the Greek race, and accompanied the migrations or conquests of Grecian tribes. Such revivals are quite analogous to the religious awakening which has at different times followed the preaching of such men as George Fox and John Wesley, and the new religions which they established were not unlike the new sects of Fox and Wesley. But while Methodism, for instance, was a pure outgrowth of Christianity, the Greek theology seems to have lacked the power of developing by itself such interior and vital movements. It looked outside for its stimulus, especially to Asia Minor, where the Greek race came directly in contact with the passion and fanaticism of the Orientals. Asia Minor, therefore, was the source of nearly all such movements. And it is surprising how many of the Grecian divinities have this external origin ascribed to them.

“ With the exception of Zeus, the dweller in the heavens,” says Curtius, “there was scarcely a single Grecian

" deity who was not regarded as having migrated thither (to Greece), and whose service was not connected with old myths and rites which had their root beyond the sea.” Many such intimations are slight and half forgotten; it will be sufficient here to allude to two of the most interesting. While the group of the Olympic gods received the wisest and deepest reverence of the Hellenic people, and the worship of them constituted the established religion, there were two sects, as we may call them, which exercised a peculiarly strong practical influence; or rather the earnest religious sentiment of the Greeks expressed itself in two other forms, – in the worship of Apollo, and in that of the Chthonian group of deities (the deities of the earth), Demeter and Dionysus especially.

“ In the worship of Apollo," says Curtius, “ the Hellenic polytheism reached its culmination, and found the brightest development of which it was capable.” Wherever it went it carried with it a calmness, elegance, and sober strength, which make this god peculiarly the representative of whatever is highest and purest in Grecian thought. As the god of light, he dispelled the darkness of the mind; he knew the future, and therefore was the refuge of perplexed and earnest spirits ; his companions were the Muses and Graces, and with this group were associated the loftiest achievements of the human intellect in art and poetry.

Far different was the group of Chthonian deities, with whom were identified the creative powers of nature, with all their mysteries and suggestive lessons. They were worshipped with wild enthusiastic rites, or in solemn mysteries ; and as the religion of Apollo embodied the loftiest and calmest spirit of culture, so that of Dionysus (Bacchus) gave scope to whatever fanaticism and zealous self-devotion actuated the Grecian populace, while the mysteries of Demeter (Ceres) satisfied the longings for the occult and preternatural.

The earliest religious conceptions of the Aryan race appear to have been connected with the operations of the sky and atmosphere, — the alternation of day and night, the sun, the moon, the stars, the clouds and winds, dawn and twilight; and these conceptions, as embodied in Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Athena, and Hermes, formed the basis of the religious faith of the Greeks, that which they inherited from the race to which they belonged. But in their own land, they were led by their natural surroundings and their daily employments to look to the earth, rather than the sky, for the objects of their worship. The goddess of the earth, Demeter, and the god of the quickening powers of nature, Dionysus, were the centre of this

new faith. It is true, Dionysus was .at first only the god of wine and of drunkenness; but the strange demon of intoxication was conceived to possess a peculiar sanctity, not unlike that of the inspired Delphic hierophants, and the intoxicating drink was endowed with a magical power which seemed the very incarnation of the spirit of life. So the drunken god was clothed with loftier attributes, and regarded as the giver of many good things. A higher and more inspiring set of associations grouped themselves about his worship, until in time the rude dithyramb was developed into the sublime tragedy, and the Dionysiac festivals, rather than those even of Zeus and Athene, attracted to Athens from all parts of the world spectators of taste and culture.

But it was not so much this regular and popular worship of the god that distinguishes him among the Grecian deities, as the Bacchic orgies of foreign origin, which .spread through Greece like a contagion, and which were celebrated with strange rites and the wildest excitement among the mountains and in the forest, in imitation, as was believed, of the progress of the god himself, when he “ left the golden fields of Lydia and Phrygia, and the sun-beat plains of Persia, and the Bactrian cities, and the rugged land of the Medes, and smiling Arabia," and swept over Greece with his train of satyrs, nymphs, and mænads. It was not as a benefactor merely that he came now; he was no longer simply the giver of the vine and the instructor in the arts of life. It was a new god that came in triumphal march, like a conqueror, claiming reverence and homage rather than bestowing blessings. The blessings he now bestowed were spiritual ones, kindling the flame of emotion, and exciting the religious sentiment, and the rapture and ecstasy of devotion were themselves a sufficient reward to the pious heart. This orgiastic worship of Dionysus, which met the craving of the human soul for the emotional in religion, did not, nevertheless, make its way without resistance, - resistance fiercely overcome, and symbolized in the bloody fate of Lycurgus and Pentheus.

One shape which this new religion of Dionysus took was that which commemorated the sufferings and death of the god and his revival, - the type of the suspension of the life of nature in the winter and its renewal in the spring. In these services his

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