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of Beyrut, the ancient military road led from eastern Asia to the shores of the Mediterranean. Hard by was the river of Adonis, the Nabr Ibrahim of to-day, which rolled through a rocky gorge into the sea. Each year, when the rains and melting snows of spring stained its waters with the red marl of the mountains, the people of Gebal beheld in it the blood of the slaughtered Sun-god. It was then, in the month of January or June, that the funeral festival of the god was held. It lasted seven days.“ Gardens of Adonis," as they were called, were planted, pots filled with earth and cut herbs, which soon withered away in the fierce heat of the summer sun, fitting emblems of the god Adonis himself. Meanwhile the streets and gates of the temples were filled with throngs of wailing women. They tore their hair, they disfigured the face, they cut the breast with sharp knives, in token of the agony of their grief. Their cry of lamentation went up to heaven mingled with that of the Galli, the priests of Ashtoreth, who shared with them their festival of woe over her murdered bridegroom. Adonis, the young, the beautiful, the beloved of Ashtoreth, was dead; the bright sun of the springtide, like the verdure of nature which he had called into life, was slain and withered by the hot blasts of summer.'
I have quoted these statements on the best authority, that of my friend, Professor Sayce. That Ashtoreth is the same word as Istar, with the Semitic feminine suffix, can hardly be doubted. That Adonis, or Adonai,' my lord,' is another name for Tammuz, is at all events very likely. But what is of the greatest interest is that in Phenicia the annual tragedy of the death of the solar hero is placed not in the winter, but
in midsummer, the time when in that part of the world the fierce summer heat seemed to threaten and actually to destroy the vegetation of the earth (1. c., p. 231). Nor did the lamentations for his death take place in all parts of Syria at the same time. We learn from Ammianus that when Julian arrived at Antioch in the late autumn, he found the festival of Adonis being celebrated, 'according to ancient usage,' after the ingathering of the harvest and before the beginning of the new year, in Tisri or October; while Macrobius tells us that the Syrian worshippers of Adonis explained the boar's tusk which had slain the god, as the cold and darkness of winter, his return to the upper world being his victory over the first six zodiacal signs, along with the lengthening daylight' (1. c., p. 231). Climatic influences were sure to tell on these festivals in Syria and Babylonia, as elsewhere. In the highlands of Syria the summer was not the dangerous foe, it was in Babylonia ; it was, on the contrary, a kindly friend, whose heats quickened and fostered the golden rain. Winter, therefore, and not summer, was the enemy who had slain the god.
The celebration of the festival of Adonis at different times of the year, therefore, so far from being difficult to explain, seems rather to confirm the view taken of the original character of Tammuz or Adonis, as the solar god in his annual character. His birth, his happy youth, his death, and his resurrection might well represent the different seasons of the year, and in each of them the god of the year might either be praised or bewailed, according to the view taken of his fate. It becomes perfectly intelligible too why, according to some (1. c., p. 329), Adonis shared half the year with the goddess of death, and the other half only with the goddess of love, while according to others, who divided the year into three parts, Adonis was condemned to dwell four months in Hades, four months he was free to dwell where he might choose, and the remaining four were passed in the companionship of Ashtoreth, to whom he devoted also his four months of freedom.
Here then we see how a custom, though it begins with the simplest events which mark the ordinary course of the year, may be modified by local and other influences, and how after a time it may produce sacred ceremonies, a myth to explain them, and in the end a new religious faith.
This becomes particularly clear when we can watch a custom transferred from one country to another and the concomitant myth translated, as it were, from one language into another.
We are told (p. 229) that after the revolt of Egypt from the Assyrian king and the rise of the 26th Dynasty, Egyptian beliefs found their way into Phenicia, where the story of Osiris was mixed up with that of Adonis. Osiris too was a Sun-god, who had been slain and had risen again from the dead, so that the festival of Adonis at Gebal could easily be assimilated to that of Osiris in Egypt. It was owing to this amalgamation that the days of mourning for Adonis were succeeded by days of rejoicing at the revival of Osiris and his counterpart Adonis.
Still more curious is the way in which in Cyprus the legends of Istar and Tammuz, or Ashtoreth and Adonis, were grafted on the Greek legends of Aphrodite. The idea that the Greeks had no conception and name of the goddess Aphrodite, before they were indoctrinated by the Phenicians, can hardly be held any longer. What happened in Egypt, happened in Greece, but while in Egypt the chief points of similarity were seen between Osiris and Adonis, in Cyprus and afterwards in Greece it was Ashtoreth, the female element of the legend, that was attracted by Aphrodite. We shall leave it undecided whether the name of Theias or Thoas, the king of Lemnos, the husband of Myrina, and the father of Adonis, is or is not a corruption of Tammuz, as Professor Sayce suggests. Adonis is represented in some Greek legends as the son of the Assyrian king Theias and of Myrrha (or Smyrna), also of Kinyras 1, the founder of Paphos in Cyprus and of Kenchreis (or Metharme). This shows that the Greeks were never in doubt that Adonis came to them from Assyria and Cyprus, and that his festival, the åparcouós, the death, as well as the eõpeous, the finding of Adonis, was of Oriental origin. That they substituted Aphrodite for his beloved was as natural to them as that they made him stay four months in Hades with Persephone. But to suppose that the Greek Aphrodite, and all the legends told of her, owed their origin to the Phenicians, or Assyrians, or Babylonians, or Accadians, is flying in the face of all the facts, so far as known to us at present, and of all analogies.
Another instance of an Eastern custom modifying the character of an ancient Greek god we have in Zeus Xenios. Zeus had originally no connection whatever with the custom of hospitality, whether in the sense of protection granted to strangers, or of actual hospitality offered to them. That custom was not of Greek origin, but came to the Greeks, as Professor Ihering 1 has shown, from the Phenicians. Ideas of humanity, such as we find in the Old Testament, are foreign to the ancient Aryan nations. A sentiment such as · Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country ; for I am the Lord your God ?,' would have sounded strange to the poets of the Veda and even to Homer. The one idea among the Âryas, as among most ancient people, seems to have been that whoever was not a friend, whether through relationship or citizenship, was an enemy. If he was dangerous, he could be killed, and there was no law to punish the murderer. In Latin, the stranger and the enemy had the same name, hostis, that is to say, they were the same thing in the eyes of the Romans.
1 Kinyras is derived by Professor Sayce from Gingira, the Accadian equivalent of Istar. Adonis also is called Gingras. Kinyras was formed through a play on the Phenician word Kinnôr, the .zither.' His wife's name Kenchreis is likewise traced back by Professor Sayce (p. 264) to Gingiras, meaning goddess, the feminine of dingir, creator
It was by the Phenicians, the traders of the ancient world, that the necessity was felt for the first time of acquiring some kind of protection from strangers with whom they trafficked. Unless that protection was granted, they would not establish landing-places and depots for their merchandise. They could neither sell nor buy. But if they suffered, the people also suffered who wished to exchange their own produce for the merchandise brought by the Phenicians. Thus some kind of international comity sprang up between the
Die Gastfreundschaft im Alterthum, von Rudolf von Ihering, 1887. 2 Leviticus xxiv. 22.