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tinction is made between uødos in the sense of a story, a fable, and Loyos, an historical account, and this distinction has been preserved in modern times.
Myth, a word. If the original meaning of the Greek lóyos, as both word and thought, has revealed to us a forgotten truth which must become the foundation of all true philosophy, namely the identity of thought and language, the original meaning of uūdos, word, will teach us an equally useful lesson for the study of mythology, and indirectly, of religion.
Let us take myth in its original sense, and we shall see that here too the Greeks saw rightly. A myth was at first a word. The formation of such a word as Eos, dawn, seems at first sight not very different from the formation of any other word. But if you remember that all roots expressed originally an action, you will see that we require for every word an agent. Now so long as we deal with verbs, we always have our agent; namely, I, thou, or he—I strike, thou strikest, he strikes. But when we have to deal with a word like Eos-- who is the agent there?
Eos. We know that Eos is the Sanskrit Ushas, and we know that ushas is derived from a root VAS, which means to shine. So Eos meant originally'shining-it,' or shining-he,' or 'shining-she. But who was it, or he, or she? Here you have at once the inevitable birth of what we call a myth. What our senses perceive and what we are able to name is only an effect, it is the illumination of the sky, the brightness of the morning. or, as we now should say, the reflection of the rays of the sun on the clouds of the sky. But such were not the thoughts of the early framers of language. After they had framed a word which meant shining there, or light, namely Eos, they would go on to say, that Eos has returned, Eos has fled, Eos will return, Eos wakens the sleepers, Eos lengthens our life, Eos makes us grow old, Eos rises from the sea, Eos is the daughter of the sky, Eos is followed by the sun, Eos is loved by the sun, Eos is killed by the sun, and so on ad infinitum.
Now what is all this? You may say, it is language, it is mythos-yes, and it is what I called the inevitable myth, and a myth that will grow on for ever. For, if Eos is followed by the sun, or, as we should say, if she has the sun for her follower or lover, she would naturally be conceived as a woman, and as a bright and beautiful woman. If she appeared veiled in clouds, she would be conceived as a veiled bride ; if she was seen in her naked beauty, she would be celebrated for her brilliant charms. Now let us look at all the epithets which Greek poets have bestowed on Eos, and every one of them will become intelligible. If she is called the daughter of Hyperion, who can doubt that Hyperion, like Summanus, was the high heaven? If her mother is called Euryphaessa, the wide-shining, do we want an explanation to tell us that that is only another name for the dawn or for the East or for the morning? If she is called the sister of Helios and Selene, is that mythology, or is it plain truth ? As the gloaming seemed but a repetition of the dawn, nothing was more natural than to suppose, as the Greeks did, that Eos had followed Helios through the whole of his course, and that she followed him at last to his watery grave. If Helios or the sun was conceived as driving from East to West, nothing seemed more natural than to assign to Eos also two horses, and to call them Lampros and Phaeton. When chariots were drawn by four horses in Greece, Eos also received four instead of two steeds 1.
Her epithets require hardly any commentary. Aiyanevra is the brilliant; xaporn is the joyful-eyed, the Sanskrit haryaksha ; xpvo ód povos is the dawn sitting on a golden throne; npuyévela is the early-born; LEUKórwios is Eos drawn by white horses ; LEUKÓTTEPOS, Eos with white wings; paeolußpotos, Eos who brings light to mortals. The rest is added by poets who speak of her as ροδοδάκτυλος, rosy-fingered; κροκόπεπλος, clothed in yellow garments ; eúndókapos, with beautiful ringlets ; xlovoßrépapos, with eyelids white as snow. Latin poets add new epithets, such as lutea, rosy ; pallida, pale; purpurea, purple-coloured; roscida, dewy; vigil, wakeful.
You can see from these epithets, which gathered round the name of Eos in Greek, and Aurora in Latin, how inevitably what we call mythology springs up from the soil of language. As soon as a name, such as Eos, was thrown out, it grew and gathered new materials round itself, and without any special intention or effort became what we call a myth. Even such simple sentences as “Eos is born,' 'Eos brings light,' 'Eos dies or disappears,' are changed at once into myth, fable, and legend, and it seems impossible to draw a line between what is simple language and what is myth.
1 Virg. Aen. vi. 535; vii. 26 ; xii. 77.
Mythology universal. It was long supposed that much of what we call mythology was due to the peculiar poetical genius of the Greeks. Our first acquaintance with mythology came from Greece, and we were accustomed from our school-days to look upon the Greeks as a nation endowed with such wonderful gifts that we thought we might safely credit them with the invention of all the beauty and wisdom of their mythology. That there were dark sides to that bright picture also, could not be denied ; but it was thought possible by classical scholars, unacquainted with the mythology of other nations, that all that was hideous and foolish in classical mythology might be explained as a survival of barbarous ages, when the barbarous ancestors of Greeks and Romans were not above committing themselves those crimes and follies which they fondly ascribed to their gods.
It is here that Comparative Mythology has stepped in, and helped us to solve many difficulties which could not be removed by any other theory. What is Comparative Mythology ?
Comparative Mythology and its three divisions. Comparative is a name which has been assumed of late by nearly all historical and natural sciences, though, if we once understand the true method and purpose of any single science, it would seem to be almost superfluous to qualify it by that predicate. There is no science of single things, and all progress in human knowledge is achieved through comparison, leading on to the discovery of what different objects share in common, till we reach the widest generalisa
tions and the highest ideas that are within the ken of human knowledge.
Comparative Philology. Thus with regard to languages, the very first steps in our knowledge of words are made by comparison. What does grammar consist in but a collection of words which, though they differ from each other, share certain formal elements in common? These formal elements are called grammatical elements, or suffixes, affixes, prefixes, etc., and we are said to know the grammar of a language when we have learnt under what conditions different words undergo the same formal modifications.
Thus comparison leads in the first instance to a grammatical knowledge of a single language.
When, however, we proceed from a study of one to a study of many languages, a new process of comparison begins. We observe that words in different languages undergo the same or nearly the same modifications, and by placing the paradigms of their declension and conjugation side by side, we try to find out on what points they agree and on what points they differ, and we hope thus to discover in the end the reasons why they should agree on certain points, and why they should differ on others.
Comparative Philology deals partly with facts, that is, the differences and coincidences that can be observed in the material and formal elements of language; partly with laws,—using that word in the humble sense of something which is true of many objects,' not, as some scholars imagine, in that of vóuou υψίποδες ουρανίαν δι' αιθέρα τεκνωθέντες, ών "Όλυμπος