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MYTHS OF CRETE & PRE-HELLENIC EUROPE


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« Reply #90 on: May 26, 2009, 01:18:20 pm »

probably made to her in the archæological Hunting Period, as they were to the Irish Cromm Cruaich in the Agricultural Period in return for milk and corn. The oak in Leicestershire was reverenced as the habitation of the goddess. In Charnwood Forest the "copt oak" was a "trysting-place in olden time". It was long "a place of assembly. . . . Swain motes (courts for the common people) were held for regulation of rights and claims on the forest." In the Highlands Gaelic-speaking people who attend a court at the present day refer to it as a "mote". Trials were conducted at these assemblies, and it is not surprising to find that near the Leicestershire "swain's hill" is situated "Hangman's Stone". "Royal Oak Day" (May 29th) is the "May Day" for Leicestershire children.

In early times the maypole, usually made of oak, was the symbol of authority and justice, as well as of fertility. "The column of May", suggests one writer on the subject, "was the great standard of justice in the Ey Commons, or Fields of May. Here it was that the people, if they saw cause, deposed or punished their governors, their barons, or their kings." When the maypole was brought from the forest the youths and maidens joined in singing songs, of which the chorus was: "We have brought the Summer home". 1 Scrimmages took place between youths who were attired to represent winter and spring. A seventeenth-century writer says that "a company of yonkers, on May-day morning, before day, went into the country to fetch home a maypole with drumme and trumpet, whereat the neighbouring inhabitants were affrighted, supposing some enemies had landed to sack them. The pole being thus brought home and set up, they began to drink healths about it till they could not


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« Reply #91 on: May 26, 2009, 01:18:31 pm »

stand so steady as the pole did." 1 The maypole customs and the "motes" held under oak-trees are evidently relics of tree-worship. Probably the human representative of the Cretan goddess, seated below her tree, dispensed justice and ushered in the season of fertility and growth, like the May Queen.

In Scotland., where there are "motes" also, it is found that certain "church lands" were anciently associated with magical and religious ceremonies. 2 Twisting paths leading to wells and hillocks remain as "rights of way". It is of interest to find, too, that the habit of swearing by the earth was also prevalent. In a Gaelic story it is related that when the heroes formed a compact to avenge insults and injuries suffered by one of their number they "lifted a little piece of earth and shouted 'Vengeance'". They thus effected a ceremonial connection with the Earth Mother. In Greece "the most current formula of the public oath, when a treaty was to be ratified or an alliance cemented, was", writes Dr. Farnell, "the invocation of Zeus, Helios, and Ge (the Earth Mother). "And doubtless", he adds, "one of the earliest forms of oath taken was some kind of primitive communion, whereby both parties place themselves in sacred contact with some divine force." 3

Ge or Gaia was a vague and ancient deity who was sometimes identified with the "earth snake". She was the mother of Titans, Cyclopes, and Hecatoncheires. Similarly the Scoto-Irish hag known as "Cailleach" (old wife), "Grey Eyebrows", "Muilearteach", &c., was




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« Reply #92 on: May 26, 2009, 01:18:48 pm »

mother of the giants (Fomorians) who had monstrous forms, and against whom gods and mortals waged war. A black lamb was offered to Gaia. The Cailleach was apparently offered the "black boar", or the "green boar", slain by the heroes of folk-tales.

As the Earth Mother was sworn by, she must have been conceived of as an active force, capable of assuming concrete form. Rhea, Demeter, Artemis, and other deities were probably forms or manifestations of her at various seasons.

The Cailleach, with blue-black face and roaring mouth, appears to have been recognized in her Muilearteach form as the spirit of tempest on sea and land. As the mountain-spirit of the Hunting Period she moved restlessly among the hills, followed by herds of wild animals, including deer, goats, and swine. In her right hand she grasped a "hammer", or "magic wand", like the gigantic Cretan goddess on her lion-supported mountain-peak. When standing-stones were struck with the "magic wand", they were immediately transformed into giant warriors, fully armed and ready for battle. After throwing away this, her symbol of fertility and authority, the Cailleach herself was transformed into a standing-stone "looking over the sea". She was also associated with rivers and lakes and overflowing wells.

This hag, who, according to one folk-tale, "existed from the long eternity of the world", was not only the mother of giants but also the ancestress of the various tribes of mankind. In Ireland she appears to have been the earlier Danu, the mother of the Danann gods and people, and Anu, the mountain-hag associated with "the Paps of Anu". As the "Old Woman of Beare" she had "seven periods of youth one after another", writes Professor Kuno Meyer, "so that every

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« Reply #93 on: May 26, 2009, 01:18:54 pm »

man who had lived with her came to die of old age, and her grandsons and great-grandsons were tribes and races". 1 In several stories she appears before a hero as a repulsive hag and suddenly transforms herself into a beautiful girl.

As the patroness of wild animals the Cailleach resembles Artemis, whom Browning, like certain of the Greek poets, idealized and consequently robbed of her primitive savage character.

I shed in Hell o'er my pale people peace,
On Earth, I, caring for the creatures, guard
Each pregnant yellow wolf and foxbitch sleek
And every feathered mother's callow brood,
And all that love green haunts and loneliness.

Artemis occasionally appeared in the form of a hare, a hind, or a bear. As a goddess of the chase she might be depicted seated on the back of a stag or standing with bow in hand beside a hill surmounted by a boar's head. Human sacrifices appear to have been offered to her, and myths were formed in the process of time to justify the substitution of wild animals for girls and lads. Spartan boys were flogged and sprinkled with blood at rites connected with Artemis worship. As a wind-goddess she demanded the sacrifice of Agamemnon's daughter when the fleet assembled at Aulis in Bœotia ready to sail against Troy. The Scoto-Irish Cailleach had similarly control over the winds, as had also the hags who "brewed breezes" on Jochgrimm mountain in Tyrol. Artemis haunted the mountains Erymanthus and Taygetus and the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia. It was in Crete that she was fabled to have slain the giant Orion because he loved her.

It will be seen that the idea of the mother-goddess


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« Reply #94 on: May 26, 2009, 01:19:04 pm »

prevailed in ancient times from India to Ireland and throughout Egypt. Although she was closely associated with the Mediterranean or Brown Race, which included the Neolithic Europeans, the proto-Egyptians, the Sumerians, Southern Persians, and Aryo-Indians, she was also a conspicuous figure in the Late Palæolithic Period. Long before the ideal types of her had evolved in Greece, she was a terror-inspiring conception among the common people. In isolated areas, which were untouched by Greek idealism, her memory was perpetuated as a repulsive and blood-thirsty hag who terrorized the people and demanded annual dues of human and animal victims. She was associated with the worship of stones, trees, wild animals, wells and rivers, mountains and mounds. As an earth-goddess she was a deity of death, destruction, fertility, and growth; hunters preyed on her flocks and had accordingly to propitiate her; pastoralists made offerings to her to secure the supply of grass, and the agricultural peoples recognized her as the mother of the corn-spirits, male and female. She reflected the culture of various stages of human development, and she assumed the character of the various communities who developed the ritual of her worship; she also mirrored the natural phenomena of the different countries in which she received recognition. Yet she was never wholly divested of her primitive traits. As in Aurignacian times, she remained as the Mother who was the ancestress of all and the source of good and evil, or luck and misfortune. In Crete she was well developed before the earliest island settlers began to carve her images on gems and seals or depict them in frescoes. She symbolized the island and its social life and organization. The Cretans, according to Plutarch, spoke of Crete as their motherland and not their fatherland.

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« Reply #95 on: May 26, 2009, 01:19:18 pm »

As the mother-goddess in her various forms reflected the habits of life and the degree of civilization attained by her worshippers, it is possible also that the prominence given to the female principle in religious life caused women to be held in higher esteem than among the peoples of the god cult. Mr. J. R. Hall, in his Ancient History in the Far East, referring to the social status of the women in Crete, says that "it is certain they must have lived on a footing of greater equality with men than in any other ancient civilization. . . . We see in the frescoes of Knossos conclusive indications of an open and free association of men and women, corresponding to our idea of 'Society', at the Minoan Court, unparalleled till our own day." Cæsar remarked on the matriarchal conditions which prevailed in certain parts of ancient Britain. Among the Scottish Picts descent was reckoned by the female line, as in the royal families of Egypt and southern European states. It is possible that in Aurignacian times the women of the tribes similarly exercised considerable influence. They appear to have been prominent in the performance of magical and religious rites. Indeed, it is the opinion of some anthropologists, like Bachofen, that women exercised a greater influence than men in developing primitive religious ideas. "Wherever", he comments "gynæocracy meets us, the mystery of religion is bound up with it, and lends to motherhood an incorporation of some divinity." 1 The evidence gleaned from certain folktales suggests that women trained young huntsmen and warriors to perform feats of strength and skill. When the Irish Cuchullin visited Alban, to complete his military education, he was tested by an Amazon. Brynhild, of Iceland fame, like Brunhild of the Nibelungenlied, overcame many warriors ere she was won.


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« Reply #96 on: May 26, 2009, 01:19:42 pm »

The comparative evidence dealt with in this chapter emphasizes the fact that in dealing with the Cretan and pre-Hellenic deities account must be taken of the primitive modes of thought which are traceable n the accumulated myths and legends attached to them. In the process of myth-making many influences were at work. Historical happenings had to be dealt with as well as the experiences of everyday life in a new environment. The growth of civilization changed the character of religious beliefs also. When old savage practices were abandoned, myths were framed to justify innovations, as when, for instance, the innocent girl Iphigenia was to be sacrificed to Artemis but was substituted by a stag. It was related that the goddess carried her off in a cloud and decided that she should become a priestess. The practice of offering up strangers in sacrifice obtained probably when a community began to abhor the idea of offering up one of its own members.

In the next chapter it will be shown how the study of ancient myths has led to the discovery of those traces of ancient civilization in Crete and the Ægean which has made it possible to reconstruct two thousand years of pre-Hellenic civilization.


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Footnotes
52:1 Malta and the Mediterranean Race, R. N. Bradley, pp. 72 et seq.

53:1 History of Civilization in Palestine, pp. 9 et seq.

54:1 The Races of Europe, pp. 172 et seq.

54:2 Archiv für Anthropologie, Band 351 St. 239 et seq.

56:1 For earlier traces of Palæolithic man see The Stone Ages in North Britain and Ireland, by Rev. Frederick Smith (London & Glasgow, 1909). Dr. A. H. Keane calls the author the "Boucher de Perthes of Scotland".

56:2 Huxley & Laing's Prehistoric Remains in Caithness (London, 1886).

57:1 A cave-dweller in a Fingalian story is called Ciofach Mac a' Ghoill ("Ciofach, son of the stranger"). Another version refers to him as Ciuthach (pronounce "Kew'-ach"). Dealing with the legend of the Ciuthach, Professor W. J. Watson considers that he was a hero "of a different race from the Gael" (Celtic Review, January, 1914).

57:2 Prehistoric Britain, p. 234. (London, 1914 ).

58:1 The Ancient Egyptians, p. 58.

61:1 Celtic Myth and Legend, p. 39.

62:1 Celtic Myth and Legend, pp. 252 et seq.

62:2 "Kaer" and "Chester" signify cities. London was "Kaer-lud", called after the god Lud, whose name lingers also in "Ludgate".

62:3 It is suggested that "Dane" is a corruption of the Celtic "Danann".

63:1 County Folk-lore (Leicestershire and Rutland), by C. J. Billson, Vol. I., London, 1895 (Folk-lore Society's Publications).

63:2 Campbell's West Highland Tales, Vol. III, p. 138.

64:1 Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition, Vol. IV, pp. 142 et seq. (London, 1891).

64:2 Indian Myth and Legend, pp. xl. and 149-50.

65:1 Golden Bough ("Spirits of the Corn and the Wild"), Vol. I, pp. 35 et seq. (third edition).

65:2 Religion of the Ancient Egyptians, A. Wiedemann, p. 138 (London, 1897).

66:1 Quoted in County Folk-lore, Vol. I, pp. 29 et seq.

67:1 Brand's Antiquities, Vol. I, pp. 238 et seq.

67:2 According to Caesar, the Druids of Gaul held sessions at consecrated places of meeting which, from other sources, we learn were called nemeta. In old Irish the term appears as nemed, and in modern Scottish Gaelic it is neimhidh, which signifies "church land". The English rendering is Navity or Nevity.--Professor W. J. Watson in Celtic Review (1915), Vol. X, pp. 263 et seq.

67:3 Cults of the Greek States, Vol. III, p. 5.

69:1 Ancient Irish Poetry, p. 88.

71:1 Das Mutterrecht, p. xv.



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« Reply #97 on: May 26, 2009, 01:26:41 pm »

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CHAPTER IV
History in Myth and Legend--Schliemann's Discoveries
The Hellenes and Pelasgians--Evidence of Folk-legends--Thucydides on Cretan Origin of Ăgean Civilization--Solar-myth Theories--Achilles and Odysseus as Sun-gods--The "Aryans" and the Iliad--Trojan War and Vedic Myths--Schliemann's Faith in Tradition--Story of his Life--Resolution in Boyhood to excavate Troy--How he became a Merchant Prince--Troy located at Hissarlik--Early Discoveries--First Treasure Hoard--Trouble with Turkish Officials--Excavations in Greece--Work at Tiryns--The Cyclopean Walls--Legends of Giant and Fairy Artisans--Hittite Method of Building--Excavations at MycenŠ--The Lion Gate--Ramsay's Finds in Phrygia--The Rich MycenŠan Graves--"Agamemnon's Tomb"--A Famous Telegram--Later Excavations--Schliemann's Scheme to explore in Crete--Death of the Famous Excavator.

THE knowledge possessed by European scholars a generation ago regarding pre-Hellenic civilization was of slight and doubtful character. Histories of Greece devoted small space to the Heroic Age. These usually began by stating that Greece was so called by the Romans, that it had been anciently known as Hellas and embraced several States--Attica, Arcadia, AchŠa, Bťotia, &c.--and that the term Hellas had wider significance than was attached to it in modern times, having been used to denote the country of the Hellenes wherever they might happen to be settled, so that Cyrene in North Africa and Miletus in Asia Minor, for instance, were as essentially parts of Hellas as Arcadia or Bťotia. It was also recognized that the Hellenes were not the earliest inhabitants

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of Greece proper. Before these invaders entered into possession of the country it had been divided between various "barbarous tribes", including the Pelasgi and their congeners the Caucones and Leleges. Thirlwall, among others, expressed the view "that the name Pelasgians was a general one, like that of Saxons, Franks, or Alemanni, and that each of the Pelasgian tribes had also one peculiar to itself". The Hellenes did not exterminate the aborigines, but constituted a military aristocracy. Aristotle was quoted to show that their original seat was near Dodona, in Epirus, and that they first appeared in Thessaly about 1384 B.C. It was believed that the Hellenic conquerors laid the foundation of Greek civilization.

Grote, on the other hand, declined to accept the theory that the Pelasgians constituted the sole indigenous element in Greece. "In going through historical Greece", he said, "we are compelled to accept the Hellenic aggregate with its constituent elements as a primary fact to start from. . . . By what circumstances, or out of what pre-existing elements, the aggregate was brought together and modified, we find no evidence entitled to credit. There are, indeed, various names affirmed to designate the ante-Hellenic inhabitants of many parts of Greece--the Pelasgi, the Leleges, the Kuretes, the Kaukones, the Aones, the Temmikes, the Hyantes, the Telchines, the Bťotian Thracians, the TeleboŠ, the Ephyri, the PhlegyŠ, &c. These are names belonging to legendary, not to historical Greece-extracted out of a variety of conflicting legends by the logographers and subsequent historians, who strung together out of them a supposed history of the past, at a time when the conditions of historical evidence were very little understood. That these names designated real nations may be true but here our knowledge

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« Reply #98 on: May 26, 2009, 01:26:59 pm »

ends. We have no well-informed witness to tell us of their times, their limits of residence, their acts, or their character; nor do we know how far they are identical with or diverse from the historical Hellenes, whom we are warranted in calling, not the first inhabitants of the country, but the first known to us upon any tolerable evidence." The attitude assumed by this cautious historian regarding the Pelasgians is still defensible in these days when different archæologists apply the term in different ways, one holding, for instance, that the Pelasgians were the Ægeans of Mediterranean race, and another that they were a late "wave" of pre-Hellenic conquerors. Grote insisted that all Herodotus knew about the Pelasgians was that they occupied a few scattered and inconsiderable townships in historical Greece and spoke a barbarous language. 1 He pointed out, however, that our term "barbarian" does not express the same idea as the Hellenic word, "which involved associations of repugnance", although derived from it. "The Greeks", he explained, "spoke indiscriminately of the extra-Hellenic world with all its inhabitants whatever might be the gentleness of their character and whatever might be their degree of civilization". All non-Hellenes were, as the Chinese put it, "foreign devils".

Historians who were more inclined than Grote to attach weight to folk-traditions were yet unable to gather much from those of the Hellenes regarding their origin, except that they professed to have come from "the East" and claimed to be descendants of an eponymous ancestor called Hellen. The story of this patriarch and his family is given in the Hesiodic version of the World's Ages myth. When Zeus resolved to destroy the wicked Bronze Race by sending a great flood, he spared Deucalion and his wife


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« Reply #99 on: May 26, 2009, 01:27:11 pm »

Pyrrha, who took refuge in an ark. According to one tradition, this couple, on praying to Zeus, were enabled to repeople the devastated world by throwing over their shoulders stones which were transformed into human beings. These were "the Stone Folk". Another tradition made Deucalion the ancestor of the whole Greek race, through his son Hellen, who had three children, named Dorus and Æolus, the ancestors of the Dorians and Æolians, and Xuthus, whose sons Achæus and Ion, were the progenitors of the Achæans and Ionians.

The period that elapsed between the early settlement of the Hellenes and the siege of Troy was called the Heroic Age, after the fourth Hesiodic Age of the World, or the Homeric Age, during which the civilization depicted in those great epics the Iliad and the Odyssey had full development.

Historians parted company when they came to deal with the prehistoric period. Thirlwall was inclined to sift historical matter from the legends. Grote, however, was frankly sceptical. "That which I note as Terra Incognita", he said, "is in his (Thirlwall's) view a land which may be known up to a certain point, but the map which he draws of it contains so few ascertained places as to differ very little from absolute vacuity." 1 Dealing with the Trojan war, he declared that, "though literally believed, reverentially cherished, and numbered among the gigantic phenomena of the past by the Grecian public, it is in the eyes of modern enquiry essentially a legend and nothing more". His answer to the question as to whether the war ever took place was: "As the possibility of it cannot be denied, so neither can the reality of it be affirmed". 2 We who are "wise after the event" may rail at Grote, but it must be remembered that he wrote at



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« Reply #100 on: May 26, 2009, 01:27:21 pm »

a time when little was known regarding ancient Egypt, Babylonia, and Assyria, except what could be derived from classical writers and Biblical references. He, however, recognized that the myths had a psychological if not a historical value when he wrote: "Two courses, and two only, are open: either to pass over the myths altogether, which is the way in which modern historians treat the old British fables, or else to give an account of them as myths; to recognize and respect their specific nature, and to abstain from confounding them with ordinary and certifiable history. There are good reasons for pursuing the second method in reference to the Grecian myths, and when so considered they constitute an important chapter in the history of the Grecian mind, and, indeed, in that of the human race generally." 1 He did not agree with those, however, who believed that the Homeric picture of life was wholly fictitious. Indeed, he drew, like others, upon the epics for evidence regarding customs and manners of life in early Greek times, although he held they contained "no historical facts".

It was generally recognized that the petty states of Greece were ruled over by hereditary chiefs, whose power was limited by a military aristocracy. "Piracy was an honourable occupation," as one writer put it, "and war the delight of noble souls." Some historians added, on the authority of Thucydides, 2 that the commencement of Grecian civilization might be dated from the reign of King Minos of Crete, who had cleared the Ægean Sea of pirates. Grote could not, on the other hand, believe that the Minos legends had any historical value. "Here we have", he wrote, "conjectures derived from the analogy of the Athenian maritime empire of historical times, substituted



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« Reply #101 on: May 26, 2009, 01:27:36 pm »

in place of the fabulous incidents and attached to the name of Minos." 1

It should not surprise us that the so-called "doubting Thomases" among the historians hesitated to make use of myths and legends. Grote held that if he were to proceed with a view to detect a historical base in the stories of Troy and Thebes, he would be compelled to deal similarly with the myths of "Zeus in Crete, of Apollo and Artemis in Delos, of Hermes and of Prometheus". If Achilles was to be taken seriously, although he was of supernatural origin, what of Bellerophon, Perseus, Theseus, and Hercules? These would also have to be "handled objectively".

In time the exponents of the new science of Comparative Mythology, which at its inception was based chiefly on philological evidence, attracted much attention and impressed not a few serious students of classical history with their theory that classical legends were renderings of immemorial religious myths, the gods and goddesses having been transformed into human heroes and heroines. "In Greek mythology", it was contended, "each different aspect of nature had many different names, because a few simple elements crystallized into many different forms. This is why there are so many gods and goddesses." As much may be granted, although, as is now believed, the view is somewhat narrow. But when the theory was given practical application it led to rather too sweeping conclusions of rather fanciful character. "Zeus", wrote one authority, "is married to many different wives. The bright sky must look down on many lands. His visits to different countries are thus explained. . . . Achilles is child of the sea-goddess; so the sun often appears to rise out of the water. His bride is torn from him, and he


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sulks in his tent; so the sun must leave the dawn and be hidden by dark clouds. He lends his armour to Patroclus except the spear; none other can wield the spear of Achilles: so no other can equal the power of the sun's rays." And so on until the absurdity concluded with: "Achilles tramples on the dead body of Hector, but Hector is of dark powers, though noble in himself; so a blazing sunset tramples down the darkness. Finally, Achilles is slain by an arrow from a Trojan. He is vulnerable only in the heel, but the arrow finds him there. So the sun is conquered by the darkness in his turn, and disappears, a short-lived brilliant thing."

The hero of the Odyssey met a similar fate. "Odysseus is the sun in another character, as a wanderer, and his adventures describe the general phenomena of daytime from the rising to the setting of the sun. . . . His journey is full of strange changes, of happiness and misery, successes and reverses, like the lights and shadows of a gloomy day."

The Iliad, as a narrative, was regarded with contempt. "There is nothing noble or elevated in the gods or heroes", remarked one solar-symbolist, who referred to himself as "one of the advanced thinkers". "Everyone knows", he went on, with unconscious humour, "that the Iliad is a poem which tells two stories: of a war between the Greeks and Trojans to recover a Grecian woman named Helen, who had run away from her lawful husband with a Trojan hero named Paris, and carried a great treasure with her; also of the anger of Achilles, a Grecian hero, and the dreadful consequences it brought upon the Grecian army encamped upon the plains around Troy." A physical explanation of this "petty legend" had to be sought for. Professor Max Müller declared: "The siege of Troy is a repetition of the daily siege of the East by the solar powers that are robbed of their

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« Reply #102 on: May 26, 2009, 01:27:46 pm »

brightest treasures in the West". One of his critics and followers, Mr. Cox, remarked with much justification that this was "not quite plain", but he only added to the confusion by urging a new hypothesis. "Few will venture to deny", he remarked, with the characteristic confidence of the theorist, "that the stealing of the bright clouds of sunset by the dark powers of night, the weary search for them through the long night, the battle with the robbers, as the darkness is driven away by the advancing chariot of the lord of light, are favourite subjects with the Vedic poets." So was Greece robbed of its heroes and Troy swept out of existence. "If such a war took place", Mr. Cox argued, "it must be carried back to a time preceding the dispersion of the Aryan tribes from their original home."

But while these and other examples of what Mr. Andrew Lang has characterized as "scholarly stupidity" impressed not a few prominent men, a small band of students strenuously declined to regard the Homeric legends as products of traditional myths "based on the various phenomena of the earth and heavens". One of these was the self-educated merchant, Henry Schliemann, whose faith in Homer led him to make discoveries which have thrown a flood of light on early Ægean civilization, and incidentally shattered forever the theories of the solar mythologists. "The Trojan War," he wrote in 1878, "has for a long time past been regarded by many eminent scholars as a myth, of which however they vainly endeavoured to find the origin in the Vedas. But in all antiquity the siege and conquest of Ilium by the Greek army under Agamemnon was considered as an undoubted historical fact, and as such it is accepted by the great authority of Thucydides. 1 The tradition has


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« Reply #103 on: May 26, 2009, 01:27:57 pm »

even retained the memory of many details of that war which have been omitted by Homer. For my part, I have always firmly believed in the Trojan War; my full faith in Homer and in the tradition has never been shaken by modern criticism, and to this faith of mine I am indebted for the discovery of Troy and its treasure." 1

The story of Heinrich Schliemann's life is a fitting prelude to an account of his epoch-making discoveries in Asia Minor and Greece which "led up", as Mr. Hawes says, "to the revelations in Crete from 1900 onwards". He was born on 6th January, 1822, in the little German town of Neu Buckow, in the duchy of Mecklenberg-Schwerin, and was scarcely twelve months old when his father, a Protestant clergyman, removed to Ankershagen, near Waren. At this village the future archæologist, who was a precocious child, received impressions before he was ten years old which influenced his whole life and prompted him to achieve renown as a pioneer in the domain of pre-Hellenic research. Ankershagen was enveloped in an old-world atmosphere; it was indeed an ideal "homeland", with its antiquities, legends, and superstitions, for one of Heinrich Schliemann's temperament and mental leanings. The summer-house in the manse garden was reputed to be haunted by the ghost of his father's predecessor, Pastor von Russdorf, and near at hand was a small pond out of which each night at the stroke of twelve a spirit maid was believed to rise up, grasping a silver cup in her hand. In the village a ditch-surrounded mound--one of the kind called a Hunengrab, or "Hun's grave"--had attached to it a story about a great robber who buried in it his favourite child in a golden cradle. Legends of similar character are told regarding "giants' graves" in these islands. Treasure was also said to lie concealed


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« Reply #104 on: May 26, 2009, 01:28:09 pm »

under a round tower in the local land-proprietor's garden. "My faith in these treasures was so great", Schliemann wrote in after years, "that whenever I heard my father complain of his poverty, I expressed my astonishment that he did not dig up the silver bowl or the golden cradle and so become rich." 1

An ancient castle also made a strong appeal to the boy's imagination. It was supposed to have the usual long underground passage leading to somewhere, and to be visited nightly by awesome spectres. At one time, the legend ran, it was the abode of a notorious robber knight, Henning Bradenkirl, who buried his treasure and committed suicide when, revelation having been made of his designs on the life of the Duke of Mecklenberg, his stronghold was besieged by that great nobleman. Henning found no rest in his grave, and it was whispered among the young folks that time and again he had thrust out one of his legs with purpose apparently to visit the spot where his hoard was concealed. "I often begged my father", Schliemann has told, "to excavate the tomb, in order to see why the foot no longer grew out." This belief that there was a kernel of truth in ancient legends caused him ultimately to search for traces of ancient Troy, and open the graves of heroes who, according to classic narratives, had been buried with their armour and rich ornaments. "My firm faith in the traditions", he wrote in 1877, "made me undertake my late excavations in the Acropolis (of Mycenæ) and led to the discovery of the five tombs, with their immense treasures." 2 So the boy was "father of the man".

The impecunious clergyman of Ankershagen cast over the mind of his son, Heinrich, the romantic glamour of classic myth and legend. The nursery stories he related



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were not of elves and giants, but of the last days of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which were then being excavated and greatly talked about, and of the great deeds of Homer's heroes on the windy plain of Troy.

It was a memorable day in Heinrich's life when he received as a Christmas present, in his eighth year, an illustrated child's history of the world-one of those popular works which stimulate young minds with the desire to acquire knowledge. An engraving depicted the last scene in the siege of Troy. The "**** towers of Ilium" were wrapped in flames, and amidst the smoke and confusion the wounded warrior Æneas was seen taking flight, carrying his father Anchises on his broad back, and leading by the hand his son Ascanius. From that hour the spectacle of mighty Troy haunted the mind of the little German boy, and the Trojan War became as familiar to him as if it had been waged on the village green and Ankershagen, instead of Troy, had been sacked.

Heinrich failed in his attempts to impress his boy friends with glowing versions of Homer's narrative, but he infected with his enthusiasm the minds of two girl companions. One of these, Minna Meincke, a farmer's daughter, promised to marry him when she grew up, and assist him to discover the Hun robber's golden cradle, the silver cup of the pond nymph, the treasure concealed by Henning, and to accompany him to the land of dreams to explore the ruins of ancient Troy. Strange to relate, half a century afterwards, not Minna, but another who became Mrs. Henry Schliemann, actually did help her husband in his famous excavations, and one of the results of their joint labours was the finding of the most valuable treasure any archæologists have ever had the luck to uncover.

Heinrich's father intended to give him a classical

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