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THE ANALOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SCHOOLS.
II. THE ANALOGICAL SCHOOL. TF Comparative Mythology had been strictly conI fined to the minute analysis of mythological names, it would perhaps not have become so popular a science, but it would have done more real and lasting good. It would have remained a subject for specialists ; and as little as people ignorant of Greek attempt to write Greek verse, would scholars ignorant of Sanskrit have meddled with Comparative Mythology.
But the subject proved too attractive. When scholars and philosophers had once perceived clearly that Zeus and Jupiter lived in the Veda as Dyaus, no wonder that they wished to look for themselves in order to find out whether other Greek and Roman deities might not be discovered in the same hidingplace. Thus there arose very soon a new school of Comparative Mythologists, which in order to distinguish it from the Etymological, may be called the Analogical school. The name is perhaps not quite adequate, but I cannot think of a better one. Its best known representatives in Germany were Welcker, Preller, von Hahn, in France Bréal and Decharme, in England first and foremost, Sir G. W. Cox, and more recently Professor John Rhys in his Hibbert Lectures. They generally accepted the results of the etymological school, though not without occasional protests, and they did excellent work by showing how everything that seemed irrational and disjointed in classical mythology fell into its right place and assumed a new meaning as soon as the whole iners moles had been reanimated once more by the spirit so long buried and forgotten in the names of gods and heroes. And this revival affected not classical mythology only, but the mythology of other Aryan nations also, as shown in the German mythology of Grimm, and in numerous more recent publications on Celtic, Slavonic, and particularly on Indian mythology.
Characters common to Gods and Heroes of different Names.
The analogical school accepts the common origin of the mythologies of the various Aryan nations as an established fact, and its best representatives have concentrated their work chiefly on collecting mythological stories which show the same general characteristics, however different the names of the gods and heroes may be of whom such myths and stories are related. The names are of secondary consequence to them. What interests them chiefly are such broad mythological outlines as that the great heroes were often illegitimate children, the father a god or a stranger, the mother a native princess ; that many of these heroes were believed to bring destruction to their father-in-law, were exposed, nursed by animals or by childless shepherds, distinguished themselves in their youth among their play-fellows, had to do menial service, but generally returned victorious from their fights and labours, killed their enemies, liberated
their mothers, succeeded to the throne, built a new city, and generally died an extraordinary death. This, as can easily be shown, is the common frame that would fit the mythic legends of such heroes as Perseus, Herakles, (Edipus, Amphion and Zethos, Pelias and Neleus, Leukastos and Parrhesios, Theseus in Greece, Romulus and Remus in Italy, Siegfried, Wittich, and Wolfdidrich in Germany, Kyros in Persia, Karna and Krishna in India 1.
Though I have always recognised the perfectly legitimate character of this line of mythological research, I must confess that I have also on several occasions expressed my misgivings. If mythological names may be perfectly identical in two or more Aryan languages, and yet, when more closely examined, turn out to spring from quite distinct sources, the same characters may surely occur in different Aryan mythologies, the same legends may be told of them, and yet they may have started from very different beginnings. I still remember the time which has been so well described by Scherer in his book on Jacob Grimm, when every huntsman who in defence thrusts his fist into the jaws of a lion was said to remind us of Tyr, the Teutonic god of war, who as a pledge puts his hand into the mouth of the Fenris wolf?. Whenever closely-guarded women were carried off, there could be no doubt that the god Freyr was hidden behind the thief, and the beautiful giantess Gerda behind the stolen maiden. As soon as a giant was killed, people sniffed the god of thunder. Whatever carried a red rag was strongly
1 Hahn, Sagwissenschaftliche Studien, p. 340. ? Jacob Grimm, von Wilhelm Scherer, 2 Aufl. ; 1885, p. 287.
racter halth, till
suspected of a mysterious connection with the redbearded thunderer. The ass which vomited gold in two ways could be descended from Wodan only, the divine giver of wealth, till he turned out to be a harmless character borrowed from an Italian novel.' Like Grimm, therefore, I have always said, Let us distinguish as well as compare.
If we allow ourselves to be guided by analogy only, there are few stories, nay few historical events which could not be fitted into one or other of Hahn's frames. Mr. Tylor has shown how easily the nursery
Song of Sixpence' could be interpreted as a solar myth, and nearly all the more or less ponderous squibs that have been written of late years against Comparative Mythology, are intended to show the dangers of the Analogical School. Napoleon, Mr. Bright, and even I myself have been dissolved into solar legends, and it was soon perceived that so little ingenuity was required for this kind of witticism that many a heavy-laden soul has tried his hand at it. Here nothing can safeguard the mythologist but proper names and other more or less essential surroundings. If we read that · Helios goes to rest or to sleep,' we shall hardly, in spite of Mr. H. Spencer's pleading, think of a gentleman of the name of Helios; while if we read 'the sun of Rome is set,' it is equally clear that we have simply to deal with an historical fact, expressed metaphorically. Still we must be on our guard, and more particularly against one danger of which our would-be satirists seem hardly to be aware, namely, our mistaking historical characters, who are spoken of in mythological language, or who are actually introduced into the cycle of ancient mythology, for mythological beings—I mean, mythological in origin and name. Not only of ancient heroes such as Theodoric, Karl der Grosse, Friedrich Barbarossa, but even of Friedrich der Grosse, legends are told which belonged originally to purely solar heroes. If then their real names should by chance lend themselves to solar interpretations, and if the circumstances of their birth and death, the names of parents, brothers and sisters, should favour the same theory, there might be real danger of mistaking reality for myth. But such accidents must be rare, and I know as yet of none that has really happened, while we know that there is hardly a country which has not taken its most ancient history from the treasures of mythology.
Rudra, Apollon, Wuotan. The analogical school differs, however, from the purely psychological, of which we shall have to treat afterwards. It always presupposes a common historical origin of the mythologies, as of the languages, of the Aryan nations ; and on that ground claims the right to look upon similar legends as mere varieties of one original type. It does not look upon mythological coincidences as simply the inevitable outcome of our common human nature, but traces all coincidences back to a common historical source. Thus when Professor Leo, in his History of the German People (1854, p. 27), tried to show that Wuotan or Odin closely resembles the Vedic Rudra and the Apollon of epic poetry, he meant that all three sprang from one and the same original concept.