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MYTHS OF CRETE & PRE-HELLENIC EUROPE

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Author Topic: MYTHS OF CRETE & PRE-HELLENIC EUROPE  (Read 5694 times)
Skinwalker
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« Reply #45 on: February 26, 2009, 12:08:58 am »

p. 26

CHAPTER II
Palæolithic Magic and Religion
Intellectual Life of Palæolithic Man--Evidence from Present-day Savages--Palæolithic Man progressive and big-brained--Bushmen and Cro-Magnon Culture--Chronology of Aurignacian Period--The Inspiration of Primitive Art--Steatopygous Figurines of Cave-dwellers, Babylonians, Maltese, and Egyptians--The Primitive Mother-goddess--Wasp-waisted Females in Fertility Dance--Hand Impressions in Caves--Finger-mutilation--The Indian Evil-eye Charm--Foot-print Lore--Animal Pictures as Totems--Evidence of Australia--Magdalenian Art--Charmed Weapons--Palæolithic Ceremonial Burials--Ornaments as Charms--Magic and Religion--Antiquity of Animal-headed Deities--Origin of the **** Goddess--The Aurignacian Claim.

IT will be recognized at the outset, in dealing with the intellectual life of the Palæolithic Europeans, that little or no evidence can be derived from chinless jaws or skulls with protruding brow ridges, and that the artifacts of the Chellean and Acheulian phases of culture assist us only in so far as they afford evidence regarding habits of life and growing skill in craftsmanship. Not until we reach the Mousterian stage, in the Third Glacial Epoch, and find that the cave-dwelling hunters of reindeer and mammoths practised the ceremonial burial of the dead, is there any sure indication that the Palæolithic mind was sufficiently concerned regarding the great problems of life and death as to formulate definite beliefs regarding the destiny of mankind. But it would be rash to draw far-reaching conclusions from negative evidence. The results that accrue from the comparative study of beliefs and customs

p. 27

renders highly improbable the hypothesis that Chellean and Acheulian men of the Second Inter-glacial Period took no thought of the morrow because they were on a plane of lower intellectual development than, for instance) the backward Australian savages who practise elaborate ceremonials and perpetuate myths which were anciently the products of speculative thought. Indeed, there is no savage tribe on the globe at present which can be said to be devoid of its intellectual life.

It is quite possible that the Chellean folks were even more advanced than some of the existing types of primitive peoples. This view is supported by the evidence obtained of their distinct progressive tendencies. Stages of development can be detected in Chellean culture which was raised to the Acheulian plane, and the increasing number and excellence of the artifacts show clearly that a further distinct advance was achieved when the Mousterian phase had fully developed. It is found, by the examination of surviving Mousterian skulls, that despite his rugged facial characteristics the Palæolithic European was a big-brained man. Of course, skull capacity, especially in individual cases, cannot be regarded as proof of intellectual power. Still, the fact remains that the really progressive races in the world at present are those endowed with the most liberal cranial capacity. The early inhabitants of Western Europe may, therefore, have surpassed as thinkers, as they certainly did as inventors, those surviving remnants of ancient races to whom they are usually compared. The Grimaldi skulls of the Aurignacian period may have Bushmen characteristics, but they give indication of greater intellectual development than can be credited to those ill-fated and interesting African nomads who, prior to coming into contact with the white races, at whose hands they have suffered so

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