MYTHS OF CRETE & PRE-HELLENIC EUROPE

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dark and forbidding realm which he ruled had been feared and dreaded. In the beginning, too, he bad been local to the Delta, where he had his home in the city of Dedu, later called Busiris by the Greeks. His transformation into a friend of man and kindly ruler of the dead took place here in prehistoric ages." 1

Skinwalker:
Osiris in his later form was a deified ruler, who received knowledge of the art of agriculture from the earth-goddess, like the Greek Triptolemus. His violent death, with dismemberment, is suggestive of the sacrifice of the old king so that his spirit might pass to his successor. There can be little doubt that human sacrifices were at one time prevalent among the peoples of the Mediterranean race, although they were forbidden ultimately in Osirian texts. Isis and Demeter, as has been shown, burned children before they revealed to mankind the art of agriculture. Dr. Farnell favours the view that the ancient custom of human sacrifice has survived as a memory in the legend which relates that the daughters of Cecrops, having been driven mad by the goddess Athena, flung themselves down from the rock of the Acropolis of Athens. Of similar character is the tradition that the first lot of maidens who were sent from Locris to be priestesses and handmaidens in Athena's temple were slain and burnt, their ashes having been afterwards cast from a mountain into the sea. "It is clear", Dr. Farnell comments, "this is no mere story of murder, but a reminiscence of peculiar rites." 2

Skinwalker:
Europé, as bride of Zeus, was probably, like Pasiphaë, wife of Minos, a developed form of the Earth Mother. Minos and the Minotaur may similarly be regarded as forms of Osiris, the former an eponymous patriarch whose

 

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THE BULL-BAITERS

From the painting by John Duncan, A.R.S.A.

(See page 287)

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p. 187

spirit passed from king to son, and the latter as a link between the animal and anthropomorphic forms of the tribal deity, who was also the eponymous ancestor. According to Pausanias 1 the Arcadians believed that the first settler in their land was Pelasgus, the eponymous ancestor, apparently, of the Pelasgians. Asius, he says, referred to him as follows:--

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